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Educational Leadership Policy Standards


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Those of us in the business of preparing school leaders through universities and those of us who work in institutions accredited by NCATE are held accountable to a set of standards developed collaboratively by a bunch of different organizations. Those standards, formerly known as the ISLLC standards, have been revised and re-named the Educational Leadership Policy Standards. They were approved in December and released within the last 6 weeks. You can see the new standards here (go to the links at the bottom of the page), along with the “research base” behind the standards. These are very important standards since, much like in the K-12 realm, the curricula of school leadership preparation programs will (for better or worse) be guided by them. That being said, before soliciting your opinions, here are a few of my own thoughts:

Of course, the first thing I did was a search for any form of the term “technology.” And, surprisingly, there are two such references (Standards 2H and 3B). That’s progress, but there’s still a significant part of me that feels like the NETS-A (National Education Technology Standards for Administrators) were not considered enough (if they were considered at all).

On one hand, I’ve come to believe that leadership for 21st Century schooling is not about the technology per se as much as it is about having a forward-thinking vision, the capacity to take risks, and the willingness to think about learning in accordance with 21st Century skills and dispositions. And, so on the first and last points, Standard 1 allows for facilitating the development of such a leader. That is, the standards don’t commit to any particular vision or conception or definition of teaching or learning.

On the other hand, that Part I of the NETS-A did not explicitly make its way into Standard 1 of the ELPS is disconcerting. Imagine if this statement, directly from the NETS-A had made its way into the ELPS: “Educational leaders inspire a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology and foster an environment and culture conducive to the realization of that vision.” Can you imagine what the inclusion of such a statement in Standard 1 would have meant to/for leadership preparation programs around the country? Furthermore, synthesizing Standards 2H and 3B, if educational leaders obtain technological resources and promote their use to support teaching and learning, shouldn’t there be a vision/plan for that?

Maybe I shouldn’t complain because I did have opportunities to comment on earlier drafts of the ELPS, but I know that other colleagues did make the case for greater integration of the NETS-A. And, while I’m not a huge fan of the whole standards and accountability movement, as long as we’re playing that game, I’d like for the rules to be appropriate.

What do you think of the new standards?  Do they resonate with your understandings/beliefs about effective school leadership?

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