Jsl Vol 12-N5

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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Guest Editors’ Introduction: Can Leadership Be Legislated?

ePub

SPECIAL ISSUE INTRODUCTION

Guest Editors

Gail Furman

Fenwick English

When we formulated the call for papers for this special issue on national standards and administrator preparation, we were vaguely hopeful that our colleagues would identify not only provocative themes, but also underlying issues and even contradictions in what we perceived to be a very mixed blessing ourselves. We had explored a few of these issues serving on joint symposia at Division A of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) over the past several years. Our exchanges at those gatherings were the basis for proposing to JSL editor Rick Reitzug the nature of this special issue. We thank him for his foresight and support in publishing it.

We are pleased to report that our colleagues were not only provocative, but explored so many dimensions of this topic that we regretted that space limitations finally imposed their own logic on expanding the range of the contributions. It was difficult drawing a boundary around the final set of articles. All of the reviewers’ comments were carefully considered. Rather than make a decision on complementary themes or various matters of balance from this or that perspective, in the end we simply took what we considered to be the five best papers. After that selection we were more than delighted to find that they indeed had many complementarities as well as unexplored avenues.

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School Leadership Reforms: Filtering Social Justice Through Dominant Discourses

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CATHERINE MARSHALL
MARTHA MCCARTHY

ABSTRACT: Do administrative licensure policy reforms address social justice concerns? By analyzing the policy discourse (in interviews and documents) in Indiana and North Carolina, this article shows that policy actors believe the focus on heightened standards will raise the quality of leadership candidates. In turn, they believe that this focus on quality will address diversity, achievement gaps, and other equity issues. However, they are concerned about whether higher education can and will adequately implement the needed curricular practices. The complexities of administrator shortages, budget shortfalls, and high-stakes testing complicate implementation of reforms in leadership preparation. By focusing on social justice, this analysis reveals ways in which the two states’ policy actions have treated equity and social justice as components of quality.

Reforms designed to enhance the quality of public school leaders have received increasing attention across states. We investigated how state policymakers view their reasons for reforming and creating new standards for the preparation and licensure of educational administrators. We were interested in the values guiding the process and particularly in policymakers’ talk about how social justice issues fit into their views and their policies for improving administrator preparation and school leadership. To understand how equity concerns were managed in policymaking for administrator licensure and related reforms, we developed a critical policy analysis stance.

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“Enmeshed in the Work”: The Educative Power of Developing Standards

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IRA E. BOGOTCH

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to illustrate empirically the educative power associated with developing leadership standards in contrast to the miseducative dispositions associated with both implementation and policy-making. Those leaders “enmeshed in the work” experienced the joys of learning, yet when their task was completed, they foresaw a predictable, if not cynical, future for the standards. Specifically, standards’ development was characterized by a fluidity of local and contextualized meanings. Once written, however, the standards became fixed and distant, to be folded into current practice.

In their preface to the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Neil Shipman and Joseph Murphy (1996) wrote:

While there was little debate about the importance of knowledge and performances in the framework, the inability to “assess” dispositions caused some of us a good deal of consternation at the outset of the project. As we became more enmeshed in the work, however, we discovered that the dispositions often occupied center stage. . . . [I]n many fundamental ways they nourish and give meaning to performance. (p. 4, italics added)

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Standards for Education Administration Preparation Programs: Okay, but Don’t We Have the Cart Before the Horse?

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THEODORE CREIGHTON

ABSTRACT: This article looks at the quality of students entering preparation programs that will drive the standards and accountability movement. Until we give serious attention to improving the quality of selection criteria, the standards movement has little chance to impact education positively. This study warns that no aspect of our preparation programs is more damaging than our reputation for being a refuge for mediocre candidates. A program consisting of mediocre candidates will not likely pull the standards cart—more likely, such a program will stall the cart in its tracks.

This article is based upon a recent large-scale investigation of existing selection criteria and procedures in university preparation programs for school administrators. Over 450 university principal certification programs in education administration at the master’s level were reviewed. The results are discouraging. Except for a few bright spots requiring rigorous and quality selection procedures, the majority of university preparation programs utilize criteria neither remarkable nor characterized by validity and reliability. In a field (education administration) where great energy is expended to develop best practices and innovative strategies for schools and students, it is noteworthy that assumptions behind current selection criteria for principals and other administrators are not only underdeveloped, but basically unchallenged.

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Designer Leadership: The Emerging Global Adoption of Preparation Standards

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PETER GRONN

ABSTRACT: This article discusses designer leadership, a new approach to producing school leaders. Designer leadership is the product of the customization of leader preparation through the adoption of standards-based accreditation and licensing of school administrators. Designer leadership preparation is discussed in relation to its historical precursors, ascriptive and meritocratic leadership. The article contrasts the UK and the U.S. approaches to standards and highlights some significant discrepancies between the language of designer leader standards and the realities of practice. As part of what it will mean to play the new leadership game introduced by new standards regimes, the article foreshadows the emergence of a series of tensions for policymakers and practitioners concerned with school leadership career demographics, recruitment and selection, and the normative basis of standards.

Long before reaching the top, an intelligent manager learns that some of the more effective ways of improving measured performance have little to do with improving product, service or technology. A system of rewards linked to precise measures is not an incentive to perform well; it is an incentive to obtain a good score.

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Exploring the Validity of Standards for School Administrator Preparation

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CAROLYN M. KEELER

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of the Idaho Foundation Standards for School Administrators, an adaptation of the ISLLC standards, as the basis of Idaho administrator preparation. If the objective of creating standards is to prepare administrators to lead successful schools, then a preparation program based on the standards should result in principals who get higher achievement results, create responsible citizens, or otherwise produce successful students. Data from three sources, building administrators, superintendents, and administrative interns, were compared to the standards. Identified areas of need not addressed by the standards included counseling skills, training in change strategies, and the laws governing programs for special populations. This exploratory research into the validity of the Idaho Foundation Standards for School Administrators has resulted in the identification of some discrepancies between administrator preparation, the standards, and administrator practice. Results will be used in revising program curriculum to meet both administrators’ needs in the field and the new National Council for Accrediation of Teacher Education (NCATE) program accreditation guidelines.

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