Last month, at the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ (NASSP) annual conference, secondary school principals and assistant principals from across the country gathered in San Diego, Calif. to sign a pledge to support the intent of the No Child Left Behind Actin return for a federal commitment to provide the necessary funding for secondary school improvement.
In a recent op-ed in Education Week, NASSP Executive Director Gerry Tirozzi explains that while NCLB provides a great deal of support to principals at the elementary school level, it “provides little support to secondary schools to improve teacher instruction and student achievement, or to bring those students [who] have fallen behind up to grade level.” He calls for a major new federal funding initiative that will provide the resources that middle and high school students need to succeed, and he borrows from the Alliance report, Every Child a Graduate, to make his case.
The Principal’s Pledge asks for specific legislation dedicated to the needs of secondary school students. It also outlines programs that would help middle and high school teachers and principals educate and graduate their students. The pledge calls for an adolescent literacy initiative that would provide every middle and high school with a literacy coach and appropriate professional development for all staff to improve the reading and writing skills of every student. It also asks for funding to provide every principal and teacher intensive, high-quality, and ongoing professional development to meet the requirements of NCLB, and programs and federal incentives to attract and retain high-quality principals and teachers.
According to Tirozzi, “Middle level and high school leaders are ready to do their part. Their willingness to sign the Secondary School Principal’s Pledge at our annual convention [confirms] it. Their message in signing the pledge will be clear: ‘Hold us accountable, but provide us with the resources to get the job done!’ We cannot continue toward an educational commitment that expects so much, but provides so little.”
The complete Principal’s Pledge can be found on the NASSP Web site at: http://www.nassp.org/news/reciprocal_agreement.htm
Gerry Tirozzi’s op-ed can be found at: http://www.edweek.com/ew/advertorials/Ish23_NASSP.pdf