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CCSSO and NPBEA Seek Public Comment on Draft Refreshed Standards for Education Leaders

Monday, September 15, 2014

CCSSO and NPBEA Seek Public Comment on Draft Refreshed Standards for Education Leaders

Contact:Melissa McGrathmelissa.mcgrath@ccsso.org202-336-7034


Washington, D.C. (Sept. 15, 2014) –– Two national education organizations are seeking feedback from the public on draft refreshed standards for education leaders that aim to ensure district and school leaders are able to improve student achievement and meet new, higher expectations.

For the past several months, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) have led an effort to refresh the standards to reflect research-based evidence and experience gained since the last update of the standards in 2008 and insights from education leaders on what good practice looks like today. The standards detail the leadership skills and knowledge effective district and school leaders need in order to influence teaching and student learning.

People interested in reviewing the draft standards can read them here and can provide feedback through a survey here. The public comment period will last until October 10. CCSSO will use the comments to further refine standards, which will be finalized and released later this fall.

“We strongly encourage the public to review these draft standards and give us their ideas on how we can improve them,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. “We want to hear from teachers and school leaders as well as from parents and other stakeholders in public education. Their valuable perspective will help make these draft standards even stronger. These final standards will help ensure district and school leaders have the knowledge and skills necessary to improve teaching and student learning.”

The standards are voluntary. States, districts, schools and university and nonprofit leadership preparation programs use the standards to guide preparation, practice, support and evaluations for district and school leaders, including superintendents, principals, assistant principals, and teacher leaders. Most states adapt them to local needs.

The draft standards for district and school leaders include 11 broad standards. For example, they include developing and implementing a child-centered vision of quality schooling shared by the school community, enhancing instructional capacity, promoting robust and meaningful curricula and assessment programs, engaging families and developing an equitable and culturally responsive school.

Each of the 11 broad standards includes specific actions effective leaders take. For example, under enhancing instructional capacity, some of the actions include: Recruits and hires effective teachers and other professional staff, employs research-anchored and valid systems of performance management, among other steps.

The responsibilities of principals, superintendents and other central-office leaders have changed significantly since the original leader standards were released in 1996, especially since the standards were last updated. State-level reform measures across the country have set higher expectations for student growth and achievement and place new demands on district and school leaders to ensure all students are learning. Principals in most states are implementing higher learning standards to prepare all students for college, careers and life. In addition, the federal Race to the Top program and Elementary and Secondary Education Act waivers place new emphasis on principal effectiveness. As a result, many states and districts are taking steps that demand a rethinking of education leadership, including implementing principal support, coaching and evaluations, as well as clarifying and strengthening roles, such as that of principal supervisors and teacher leaders.

In addition, new knowledge has been gained through research. For example, evidence links education leadership with student performance. After teacher quality, it is the biggest school-based contributor to student achievement. In fact, studies find no documented instances of failing schools turning around without powerful leadership.

The draft standards benefitted from extensive involvement of the field. More than 1,000 principals and superintendents submitted surveys, and more than 100 participated in focus groups, to share their insights on what effective leadership practice looks like in today's school and district context.

More than 70 principals, superintendents, state education department staff, education professors, researchers, and others have been working to refresh the standards.

The Wallace Foundation gave grants totaling $1 million over two years to CCSSO to lead a large part of the leadership standards work.