Last week, the Trump Administration released its proposed spending plan and priorities for the federal government in FY 2020. New Leaders is disappointed that the proposal, once again, fails to recognize the critical role school leaders play in creating schools where teachers and students thrive.
The budget proposal would eliminate programs that have helped improve working conditions, professional development, and support for teachers as well as the learning environment and educational outcomes for students—all of which are highly influenced by school leader quality.
We are especially disappointed that the budget includes no funding for the School Leader Recruitment and Support Program, the only federal program specifically focused on investing in evidence-based, locally-driven strategies to strengthen school leadership in high-need schools.
It would also eliminate the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program (Title II, Part A), the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program, and Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, each of which provide crucial support to schools, programs, and partnerships that prepare and offer professional development to teachers, principals, and other school leaders through research-backed training and support.
The proposal does include funding for other programs that could support certain aspects of educator effectiveness, including the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program and the Teacher and School Leader (TSL) Incentive Grants program. However, we are concerned that some of the priorities highlighted in these programs could fail to direct funds toward evidence-based measures, including school leadership. In particular, we hope the teacher professional development stipends in EIR will be constructed to reflect the research, and our nearly two decades of experience, showing that the most effective adult learning is job-embedded, collaborative, and sustained—not conducted one-off by individuals in isolation.
At a time when states and districts have proposed promising strategies to use leadership—in part, buoyed by federal investments—to meet their goals for school and student success, the Administration’s budget is particularly disappointing.
As discussions continue regarding funding levels for federal education programs, we encourage the Administration and Congress to work together to prioritize investments that support state and local efforts to leverage evidence-based strategies to ensure every school, especially those serving vulnerable students and low-income communities, is led by well-prepared, well-supported leaders.