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NASSP to Feds: Abandon Punitive Policies Under ESEA

The National Association of Secondary School Principals is calling on policymakers at all levels to ease the transition to college and career standards. Among the group's proposals is a lifting of punitive measures currently in effect under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act and providing "significant financial resources for states to implement college and career ready standards and the related assessments with fidelity."

NASSP, which represents principals, assistant principals and other leaders in middle and high schools in the United States, released its recommendations yesterday (in the form of a policy brief) in response to principals' "concerns about the implementation of the new standards in their states and the inadequate training they have received to help them ensure that their teachers are able to change instructional practices," according to NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti.

Among the other proposals the group is making to federal policymakers is a call for a two-year hiatus on "penalties and sanctions related to test scores on schools, principals, and teachers" in order to allow for a smoother transition period. They're also asking for:

  • Elimination of "dual testing" practices in which teachers are held accountable for outcomes on tests that aren't aligned with college- and career-ready standards;
  • Dissemination of "results, data, and best practices of states that have been successful in implementing college and career ready standards";
  • Funding for improving math instruction and for providing "targeted assistance ... to students who are struggling in math"; and
  • Providing assistance to districts to ensure they can meet the needs of ELL students, students with disabilities, low-income students and others who might otherwise face difficulties with the new standards.

For state policymakers, the group is urging the development of longer-term plans — five to 10 years — for implementing the standards and sustaining changes. States are also being urged to drop "outdated state assessments that are not aligned with college and career ready standards" and to design "appropriately aligned curricula to meet college and career ready standards and provide funding for updated instructional material[s]" in collaboration with local agencies.

For policymakers at the district level, NASSP advised giving principals and educators ongoing professional development, with principal professional development focused on instructional leadership rather than school management; evaluate technology to ensure schools can support computer-based assessments; and communicate with parents and the community about the importance of college- and career-ready standards and the best ways to implement those standards.

The complete NASSP brief, which includes additional recommendations and resources, can be found at nassp.org.


About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .