Nation’s Principals Release Evidence-based Policy Solutions to Federal Lawmakers

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NAESP leads K-8 school leaders in call for stronger federal education policies to support effective principal preparation, evaluation, and retention systems.

It is time for federal education policy to better acknowledge the evidence on the important role of principals and support effective instructional leadership.

Representatives of the country’s 95,000 public school principals are gathering on Capitol Hill on February 25-27 to deliver a strong message to federal lawmakers as they consider the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, and other pieces of federal education legislation. Current accountability systems place too much emphasis on student test scores to gauge school, teacher, and student performance rather than focusing on building the capacity of educators to improve schools.

Instead, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) recommends in its newly released 2013 policy platform ways that legislators can improve current laws to:

  •     Acknowledge the core competencies of effective principals;
  •     Develop comprehensive, fair, and objective principal evaluation systems;
  •     Develop accountability systems that include growth models and multiple measures;
  •     Hold principal preparation programs to common high standards;
  •     Insist on standards-based certification, induction, and mentoring;
  •     Invest in identifying and retaining effective principals;
  •     Dedicate ongoing professional development that strengthens core competencies; and
  •     Strengthen elementary principals’ knowledge of early childhood education.

“The evidence about successful schools is clear: A great teacher makes a great classroom, but only a principal can lead and sustain long-term improvements. As lawmakers regroup for the 113th Congress and consider where to take federal education reform and legislation, the principal’s voice must be heard,” said NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. “It is time for federal education policy to better acknowledge the evidence on the important role of principals and support effective instructional leadership. We know that building the capacity of principals will lead to sustained school improvement so that every school can benefit from a strong leader who can create the optimum conditions for teaching and learning.”

180 principals will be meeting with their representatives in Congress next week to share these recommendations during the Association’s National Leaders Conference (NLC). Over the course of the next year, NAESP and its members will also respond to President Obama’s call for universal preschool by working to promote federal policy and investments that support professional development and mentoring programs to strengthen principals’ knowledge of early childhood education and create connections between early childhood and K-12 systems.

As part of the NLC, NAESP will offer an exciting program in advocacy for members who will hear expert perspectives and gain in-depth analysis from a lively dialogue between top thought leaders on national education reform efforts. Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute; Andy Rotherham of Bellwether Partners; and Virginia “Ginny” Edwards, Editor-in-Chief of Education Week, will discuss the politics and policy dominating current Washington conversations on improving education.

The complete 2013 NAESP Advocacy Agenda and legislation the Association will promote are available on the NAESP website.

Note: Principals may be interviewed on February 26 after their congressional appointments at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on February 27. To interview principals about their congressional meetings, or to locate principals from particular states or districts, please contact Kaylen Tucker.

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) serves elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children.

For more information about NAESP, please visit

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