April 17, 2015
By Diann Woodard President, American Federation of School Administrators
Washington, DC – After years of intensive advocacy by groups representing the nation’s principals, Congress is recognizing the need to dedicate funding specifically to support principal preparation and ongoing professional development.
This acknowledgement of the vitally important work of principals in our nation’s schools comes in the bipartisan Senate proposal to reauthorize ESEA, released last week, which includes language from the School Principal Recruitment and Training Act to improve the recruitment, preparation, and retention of principals and other school leaders in high-need schools. The bill also allows states to reserve up to 3 percent of Title II funds for principals and includes important clarification to the definition of a "school leader."
This provision builds on language that the national principals’ organizations secured in last fall’s final budget report. The language encouraged states to ensure that sufficient professional development opportunities are afforded to principals.
While we continue to make progress, our work is far from done. The Senate bill will go through a “mark-up” process beginning today, and as amendments to the bill are proposed and debated, the provisions to support principals could disappear just as quickly as they appeared.
To help ensure our continued success, please reach out to elected officials to remind them of just how important the principal is to schoolwide success.