December 2023: School Administrator
The Power of Neutrality in Legislative Advocacy
In 2019, the Texas legislature passed landmark school finance legislation that represented one of the most significant investments in public education in the state’s history.
Parents’ Rights and the Politics of Inclusion
With far-right parent groups promoting a harmful agenda, what are some reasonable actions administrators might take?
Superintendents as De Facto Politicians
Newcomers to district leadership discover the need for partnership skills to work through the distractions of political conflict.
The Trial and Error of Grant Writing
Advice to follow and pitfalls to avoid from an author of grant applications for school districts.
Political Groups’ Influence
Where the greatest concerns lie over the impact on school board elections and bond referenda.
A Board Candidate Delivering Stealth With Therapy
Our panel analyzes whether an administrator should change healthcare providers owing to his political views as a school board aspirant.
When Outside Counsel Is Warranted
Scenarios in which using a third-party investigator in the district could be important.
Public Access to Your Superintendent Search
Candidate finalists can expect a public vetting and ought to be prepared to share full disclosure of any baggage.
What Rescue Dogs Have Taught Me About Wagging Tails
Three lessons that stand out for a superintendent in his 13th year of adopting pups.
It’s About Time to Make Time
A former district leader’s experience as an English language learner informs his view of the job’s responsibilities.
Our District’s Primacy of Developing Principal Candidates
Key components of ensuring top-shelf site leadership.
My Seven-Part Recipe for Advocacy
Amid increased scrutiny and challenge, how to be the best advocate for your district.
Consider Advocacy a Basic Part of Your Role
Steps to create a strong foundation for promoting public schools’ well-being through legislation.
AASA’s New Focus on Student and Child Privacy
A new AASA public policy center monitors federal legislation on privacy issues.
Mastering Fundamentals in Two Arenas
The superintendent in Elma, Wash., operates well in competitive arenas.
When it comes to influencing federal legislation and funding to support K-12 education, AASA’s Washington-based staff connects with legislators on both sides of the aisle, providing expertise informed by members about a bill’s likely impact. The association depends on the volunteer advocacy of superintendents and other educators to supplement what the public policy staff can do.
That’s why we’ve devoted much of this issue to sharing practical insights on how superintendents can be effective advocates on both the state and federal levels. Noelle Ellerson Ng, who oversees AASA’s legislative advocacy, addresses the role you can play to influence congressional officials, while Brenda Dietrich, a superintendent-turned-state legislator, lends insights into how this work plays out in state capitals. Various other contributors from the district and state ranks chime in with their own helpful perspectives about advocacy work.
I’ll also call your attention to an excellent article by a University of Pennsylvania professor, Sigal Ben-Porath, on the ramifications of politicized parental advocacy in the local school ranks. Many readers will identify with the narrative playing out in a suburban Philadelphia system that she’s been studying.
Legislative advocacy is an important reason for why someone working in school system administration might want to become a dues-paying member of AASA. Our advocacy team welcomes your questions about federal policy and your involvement in bolstering their work.