Press | New Leaders Releases Policy Brief on State ESSA Plans

New York, NY – Today, New Leaders released a new policy brief – Prioritizing Leadership: An Analysis of State ESSA Plans – that summarizes its analyses of the school leadership content in states’ Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans.

Overall, the plans demonstrate that many states recognize the critical role principals and other school leaders play in creating schools where teachers and students thrive, together. In fact, every single state has committed to directing some portion of its federal funding into investments in leadership – from teacher leaders to principals and superintendents.

Other highlights include:

  • 24 states plan to use the new 3 percent set-aside for school leadership
  • 41 states acknowledge leadership in their plans to improve high-need schools
  • 36 states intend to invest in teacher leadership
  • 21 states are expanding high-quality principal preparation programs
  • 10 states are rethinking and investing in principal supervisors


At the same time, there is substantial variation in the level of detail included in each plan. Further, few states intend to make comprehensive investments along a principal’s career trajectory. And there could be stronger alignment across strategies targeting leaders at the classroom, school, and system levels.

The publication is designed for states and advocates considering their next steps for executing and continuously improving their leadership plans. The brief also provides select resources – including research, examples, and tools – they can use to assess, strengthen, and expand their leadership strategies.

Click here to access New Leaders’ full suite of ESSA-related resources.