Incoming President Reveals, Touts AASA’s New Face

 A. Sichel
 Amy Sichel is president-elect of AASA.
Amy Sichel, president-elect of AASA, used the stage at the 3rd General Session of AASA’s national conference on Saturday morning to deliver her remarks.

Excerpts of her 10-minute presentation follow.

“I am truly excited about the new face of AASA! [She opened her jacket at this point to reveal an AASA shirt with the new logo and tagline.] … To me, our new logo and tagline portray uniting our thoughts and actions and moving forward together to promote excellence in public school education with student achievement as the result!”

* * *

“I am excited about our roles as superintendents and administrators in promoting public education by publicizing its successes.

Dan Domenech, our executive director, certainly set the stage with his 95/5 Dilemma presentations.

He begins his presentation with, and I quote:

“The 5 percent of schools that are said to be failing in America are defining the remaining 95 percent … but America’s public schools have never been better!” Yes, there is a crisis in education. Too many students fail to graduate from high school with their peers … and we need to continue to address this.

But, we also need to address — and convey this data loud and clear:

- The public school dropout rate has been steadily declining since 1972.

- High school completion rates have been trending upward.

- In fact, our graduation rate for public high schools has reached its highest level in nearly four decades!

- NAEP scores in 4th- and 8th-grade math have never been higher than they are today!

- NAEP scores in 4th- and 8th-grade reading have never been higher than they are today!

The fact is that our public schools are better than ever and that the vast majority of American public schools – 95 percent – are succeeding.

We need to emphasize what’s right about public schools and how to make them even better.”

* * *

“I am excited about seeing more administrators jump on the public-education-success bandwagon. Too often we have not communicated effectively about the growing successes of public education. I am excited that we are making strides in communicating our message that our public schools are succeeding.

Using Malcolm Gladwell’s trilogy, we all need to be strong connectors, mavens, and salespeople for public education. To that I would also add that we need to be cheerleaders for public education — cheering about our schools’ successes and accomplishments and cheering for and encouraging our students to strive for even higher levels of achievement.

I am excited about using technology-based techniques to convey AASA’s messages. I am also confident that these technology-based techniques will help us to build an even stronger AASA membership.”

* * *

“I am excited that our voices continue to be solicited, heard, and respected.

Last year, on behalf of AASA, I was one of four superintendents invited to provide written testimony to and testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce on Reauthorization of ESEA and No Child Left Behind. As part of my testimony, I implored Congress to invest in and support a standards-based academic model driven by assessment and leading to accountability in all school districts. In addition, I asked that Congress place the locus of control for accountability at the state level with local districts developing assessment models based upon individual student growth.

I encourage you to seek out and participate in opportunities to testify and provide expert opinion about public education and its many issues and successes in your own communities and states.

I am excited to be your president-elect now and your president next year.”