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Comment Letter: Flexibility of States to Use ESSA Funds to Strengthen School Leaders

Joint letter by Wallace and 10 other organizations to U.S. Secretary of Education John King recommending greater clarity in proposed Every Student Succeeds Act regulations about funding to strengthen principals and other school leaders
July 29, 2016


This joint letter—from Wallace and 10 other organizations concerned about effective school leadership—comments on the U.S. Department of Education's May 2016 proposed regulations for the then-recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). It recommends that the department make clear how states and school districts can use funding provided under law, including its Title I and Title II, to strengthen principals and other school leaders.  

Research has established the importance of principals and other school leaders to student learning, the letter says. However, states and districts have been confused about whether and how they can tap ESSA funds to improve training and support of school leaders. The uncertainty has stemmed in part from the language of ESSA's predecessor laws, which refer broadly to "educators." The letter urges the department to specify, where applicable, that the law applies not just to teachers but to principals and other school leaders, too. The letter also urges the department to clearly ask that states, in their consolidated ESSA plans, describe strategies for supporting excellent school leaders. 

The other signers of the letter are: the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; AASA, the School Superintendents Association; the George W. Bush Institute; the National Association of Elementary School Principals; the National Association of Secondary School Principals; the New York City Leadership Academy; New Leaders; the National Institute for School Leadership; the National Urban League; and the University Council for Educational Administration.


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