Oct 24

NASSP Reports From Capitol Hill

Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Status of ESEA Reauthorization

Congress left for August recess with no movement on ESEA reauthorization, and are now on recess until November 13, or after the elections. As a result, there’s no chance ESEA will be completed during the lame duck period (before the 113th Congress assumes their posts in January 2013). While waivers and Race to the Top seem like the law of the land for principals and assistant principals in some states, the presidential and congressional elections will have a HUGE impact on whether they remain in place beyond 2014. For example, Governor Romney’s education advisors have already noted that if Romney wins the election, his administration would review the waivers to determine their
efficacy, and would consider revising or eliminating the required criteria President Obama put in place and that states must sign on to (such as modified teacher and principal evaluations, among others) in order to receive waivers. NASSP will continue to push for a comprehensive ESEA reauthorization that includes a focus on our key issue areas: school leadership, literacy, middle level and high schools, and education technology.

School Principal Recruitment and Training Act

NASSP continues to advocate for the School Principal Recruitment and Training Act, although the bill was not reintroduced during the 112th Congress. The bill would authorize a grant program to recruit, select, train, and support aspiring or current principals with track records of transforming student learning and outcomes and prepare these principals to lead high-need schools. Selected aspiring principals would be provided with a pre-service residency that lasts for at least one year as well as ongoing support and professional development for at least two years after they commence work as school leaders. Grant funds would also be used to provide mentoring and professional development to
strengthen current principals’ capacity in the areas of instruction, supervision, evaluation, and development of teachers and highly effective school organizations. NASSP is currently working with staff of Sen. Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) to prepare a bill for introduction in the 113th Congress.


Success in the Middle Act

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) reintroduced the Success in the Middle Act (H.R. 1547/S. 833) in 2011. Under the bill, states are required to implement a middle school improvement plan that describes what students are required to know and do to successfully complete the middle grades and make the transition to succeed in an academically rigorous high school. School districts would receive grants to help them invest in proven intervention strategies, including professional development and coaching for school leaders, and other school personnel; and student supports such as personal academic plans, intensive reading and math interventions, and extended learning time.

The Success in the Middle Act currently has 18 House cosponsors and 7 Senate cosponsors.

Graduation Promise Act

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) reintroduced the Graduation Promise Act (H.R. 778/S. 1177). The bill would support the development of statewide systems of differentiated high school improvement that focuses research and evidence-based intervention on the lowest performing high schools, and improves the capacity of the high schools to decrease dropout rates and increase student achievement. The bill would also provide competitive grants to states to identify statewide obstacles hindering students from graduating, and provide incentives for states to increase graduation rates.

The Graduation Promise Act currently has 34 House cosponsors and 1 Senate