MAPLEWOOD, NJ — South Orange-Maplewood Principal on Special Assignment Elizabeth Aaron visited Washington, D.C., in March to encourage New Jersey’s members of Congress to pass laws that enhance the nation’s public schools and support equity for all students. The visit was part of the annual Advocacy Conference, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Aaron was selected by the NASSP to serve as an advocate member of the delegation of educators from the state, coordinated by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association. The team visited met with the staffs of U.S. Reps. Donald Payne, Bonnie Watson-Coleman, Tom Malinowski, Donald Norcross and Chris Smith, as well as presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker.
“As a principal, my job includes advocating for our district to access every resource and opportunity possible to help all students reach their full potential,” Aaron said. “That job extends to advocacy at the highest levels of government. The team from New Jersey had great conversations with members of Congress and their staff to give them a clearer impression of the impact their decisions have on our children and those from all across the state.
“For example, I shared information about what services and instructional work can be done with Title I funds to serve students with targeted reading intervention during the school year and in summer programs, and what support high schools get through the Perkins CTE grant funds,” she continued. “We also discussed the need for continued funding for use of Title II monies to support professional development for administrators, and Title IV to fund programs in technology, social studies and the arts. The impact that the reduction of such funds could have on our children is not something we can support as educators. When speaking with the staff of the newer members of Congress, we felt it particularly important to share specific examples of the work we do every day in our schools and districts so that they know first-hand what impact those programs have.”
Aaron was one of 180 school leaders from across the country who converged on Washington, D.C., from March 18 to 20 for the annual NASSP Advocacy Conference. The event included a series of presentations and panel discussions on the most pressing federal policies affecting education and culminated with a day of visits to elected officials at their offices on Capitol Hill.