Friday, July 31, 2015

Educational Leaders Must Develop Networks of Informed Stakeholders to Ensure the ESEA Reauthorization Process Promotes the Mission of Learning for All

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized as No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001), requires instructional leaders utilize strategies, approaches, and program initiatives that are scientific or research based and frequently monitor to close any identified achievement gaps.  In this pursuit, educational leaders, in-service teachers, as well as teacher candidates, will benefit from understanding the seven correlates of Effective Schools Research, which includes the two variables within a holistic system.  Given any system is a "network of interdependent components that work together to accomplish the aim of the system" (Deming (1993), institutes of higher education (IHE), teacher preparation programs, and school systems will benefit from increasing expectations for its stakeholders to increase their knowledge of systems and their ability to think systemically. 
Effective Schools Research identifies the following correlates as present in all cases of an effective educational system:
1.     Clear and focused mission
2.     Climate of high expectations
3.     Instructional leadership
4.     Opportunity to learn/student time on task
5.     Frequently monitoring student progress
6.     Safe and orderly environment
7.   Home-school relations (Lezotte & Snyder, 2011)
Given the interdependency of the seven correlates of Effective Schools, educational leaders must approach these correlates with the view of implementing them holistically and interdependently.  Thus, a clear and focused mission as well as strong instructional leadership is required to move the other interdependent correlates from being an ideal to effective systemic practice.  Since Effective Schools Research demonstrates that a result of an educational system ignoring the interdependence among the seven correlates is slow progress, then a lack of strong, respected educational leadership that brings consensus for a clear and focused mission will result in confusion about simultaneously and systemically incorporating all the correlates. 
Starting with A Nation at Risk (1983) through the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, PL 98-10) known as No Child Left Behind (2001), politicians have predicated education reform on the need to fix a broken system.  While far past due, Congress has undertaken the reauthorization process for ESEA.  This process will either provide another opportunity for true reform or simply offer politicians more chances to use education as a means for power.  To mitigate the latter and promote the former, effective educational leaders must proactively ensure ESEA is “rewritten to reflect its original purpose: success for all children, especially disadvantaged children” (American Association of School Administrators, 2010). 
The power to guide professional development, promote professional learning communities, and encourage active collaboration between all stakeholders, provides the educational leader a tremendous opportunity to engage networks of stakeholders to become informed and proactive during the current ESEA reauthorization process.  One goal for educational leaders will be to help networks of stakeholders understand the need for ESEA reauthorization to address the primary mission of ESEA.  The related action plan would be for the effective educational leader to develop stakeholders into informed networks that willingly seek to promote the mission of learning for all.  As a result, the reauthorization process will more likely focus upon education of the whole child while ensuring upward mobility for all Americans.  "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government;... whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights" (Jefferson, 1789). 

Lezotte, L. W. (1991) Correlates of effective schools: The first and second generation.
Lezotte, L. W., & Snyder, K. M. (2011). What effective schools do: Re-envisioning the
correlates. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Purkey, W. W., & Siegel, B. L. (2013). Becoming an invitational leader: A new approach to
               professional and personal success. Atlanta, GA: Humanics. Retrieved from:
Schmoker, J, (1999) The Key to Continuous School Improvement (2nd edition) ASCD

To Cite:
Anderson, C.J. (July 31, 2015) Educational leaders must develop networks of informed stakeholders to
               ensure the ESEA reauthorization process promotes the mission of learning for all.  
               [Web log post] Retrieved from