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Principals Clamor for Inclusion in States’ ESSA Planning
This article discusses the role that principals, parents and other outside experts can play in the development of new guidelines for each state for the new federal law that provides for improvement in education plans. This law entitled, ESSA,” Every Student Succeeds Act” gives states the rights to gather a committee of parents, principals, civil rights leaders and other interested parties in public education to improve and modify their educational plans. The principals association has a concern that each state views this law differently and are not making a consolidated effort to include mainly the principals in these planning sessions. Most principals that were interviewed felt strongly about being included in this process because they believe they can add a perspective to the discussion that state boards cannot. They are with the teachers and students in the trenches. They can offer ideas about what works in the classroom not just what looks good on paper. They say that if they had been included in the discussions with the, “No Child Left Behind Act”, many of the unintended consequences that happened could have been eliminated. They also believe that including principals will bring the element of diversity to the discussion. Some principals of small rural schools will not experience things that larger city schools will. The requirements of some of these laws are just not practical for everyone. This law strongly supports this process but gives the accountability over to the states. Herein lies the problem. States that have education boards that put effort into reaching out into the community will have a greater chance at successfully revising their education plans. These plans include topics such as assessments,learning and teaching, effective educators, and students with disabilities to name a few. Principals say that the intent of the law was for “meaningful consultation” to occur. However, not all states see the inclusion of principalsas necessary or meaningful. The inclusion issue has become a state issue handed down from the federal government.
This was an interesting article and it brought to my attention the ongoing differences between having a large federal government ruling matters that relate to individuals or smaller states making decisions over public issues. I believe that states do a better job and have more of a heartbeat for the average citizens’ working issues than a huge federal government. I like the fact that the federal government has given the priority back over to the states to decide what is best for their educational systems. However, now we have the same dilemma facing our children because it can still become about politics and power. Sometimes depending on the state and who is in charge of the Board of Education is does not become about what is best for the children but what lines up with their political views. This is one reason why I like the idea of including as many principals or at least a wide representation of them to be involved in this discussion. I think it would be even better to start this idea at the bottom and work up the chain of command. I would like to see the discussion begin at the PTO (parent-teacher) organization. This is a good place to get input. Children are given to parents and they should have some great ideas of things that ought to be important when it comes to their children. Also teachers are on the front lines in the classroom. They know what works in the classroom. They also see firsthand the deficits and strengths of children and would be able to give valuable input especially in the areas of assessment and learning. These ideas can be written down and given to principals who can then take them to the next level and add their input from their perspective. Each level has to look at the bigger picture but you have been inclusive from the ground up. Including principals from all areas of each state is valuable too since they will each have different concerns depending on their demographics. I see the concerns of the principals association as valid and something that needs to be addressed. I believe the article will be eye-opening to many who read it and cause people to think about their right and responsibility as a concerned parent and citizen. Christians have been silent far too long in regards to our educational direction and the well-being of our children.