California principals advocate for students on Capitol Hill
April 8, 2024
ACSA in partnership with The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) are engaged in federal and state legislative advocacy in this critical time of educational funding decisions.
A group of California principals and leaders recently participated in the National School Leadership Advocacy Conference, March 10-14 in Washington, D.C. The advocacy work demonstrates a strong commitment to influencing education policy on behalf of California students, staff and schools.
The ACSA delegation consisted of:
  • Scott Borba (Region 9), superintendent/principal, Le Grand Elementary School District, and NAESP board member.
  • Terri Daniels (Region 3), principal, Folsom Middle School, Folsom-Cordova USD, and NASSP’s California state coordinator.
  • Kerry Dees (Region 5), principal, Green Hills Elementary School, Millbrae Elementary SD, ACSA Region Elementary Council, and NAESP liaison.
  • Derrick Lawson (Region 19), principal, Indio High School, Desert Sands USD, and NASSP board member.
  • Christine Moore (Region 16), principal, Luther Burbank Middle School, LAUSD, and ACSA Middle Grades Education Council president.
  • John Schilling (Region 10), superintendent/principal, Southside Elementary School District, and ACSA Elementary Education Council president.
  • Morgan Smith (Region 17), principal, Marina High School, Huntington Beach USD, California NASSP Principal of the Year.
  • Diana Vu, ACSA legislative advocate.
“It was both an honor and privilege to participate once again to advocate for students, schools and education policy at the NSLAC2024 conference and Hill Day with an ACSA team of amazing site leaders and our own ACSA Governmental Relations team member,” said Lawson. “I am so proud that they answered the call and provided such a great service on behalf of all of our members demonstrating service above self as we shared stories of the site impact of each of these critical policy and budget areas. Our association and affiliates are lucky to have such advocates in California.”
Meeting with state legislators on Capitol Hill is a critical step in ensuring that the voices of ACSA leaders are heard, influencing the funding decisions that meet the unique needs of California’s education system.
The ACSA Elementary, Middle Grades and Secondary education councils are California’s state affiliates to NAESP and NASSP. The issues highlighted during the visits with California legislators were the educator shortages and principal pipeline, improving school mental health, wellness and safety resources and federal K-12 education budget priorities.
“This year was particularly critical as we collectively urged lawmakers to fulfill their nearly 50-year-old promise to fund IDEA, ensuring every student has access to the resources they need to thrive,” said Borba “It’s important to remember that our fight doesn’t end here; the need to consistently follow up with our lawmakers and make sure they hear even more voices from their constituents is imperative to getting our leaders to understand that the IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 4519/S. 2217) could be the single most important piece of legislation for schools this year. If you haven’t already done so, contact your federal representative now and ask them to sign on.”
“Don’t take a back seat and let those with no experience in education determine your future as an educator and leader. This is your chance to help steer the ship in the right direction.”
Morgan Smith, Marina High School principal (Huntington Beach USD)
Continued engagement in legislative advocacy is key in supporting positive change and securing necessary resources for educational systems in our state. The collaboration with ACSA and its national affiliates demonstrates the collective commitment to the challenges and opportunities within our educational system.
“Overall, the National School Leaders Advocacy Conference was an amazing experience. We had the opportunity to speak with other school leaders from every state and collectively understand the impact of our educational concerns that we face,” said Smith. “Working together, we were able to unify our voices and represent every state with consensus. My advice to all educators is to share your voice. Your experience and expertise allows you to give our legislators the confidence to vote the right way and ensure that schools are given the priority they deserve. Don’t take a back seat and let those with no experience in education determine your future as an educator and leader. This is your chance to help steer the ship in the right direction.”