Column One: Administrators
A new book offers a "blueprint" for sweeping reforms in the preparation and certification of school administrators.
Educators, opinion leaders, and political officials have reached "a near consensus" about the need for change, Scott D. Thomson, the executive secretary of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration, which published the book, writes in its preface. "The knowledge base has become dated and the delivery systems obsolescent. Some useful remedies are required for these afflictions."
The 52-page book, subtitled "A Blueprint for Change," includes essays by six leading scholars and administrators.
In one essay, Patrick B. Forsyth, the executive director of the University Council for Educational Administration, discusses the lack of a common vision about what school administrators should know and be able to do. He attributes this absence of vision to university professors' isolation from public schools and to administrators' lack of imagination and clear goals.
"Both groups are inexplicably perplexed by calls for radical reform; they don't know what all the fuss is about," Mr. Forsyth writes.
In a separate essay, B. Dean Bowles, a professor of educational administration at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, discusses national certification for administrators.
In addition to having at least five years of successful, full-time administrative experience and a graduate degree, Mr. Bowles believes, candidates for national certification should also be able to demonstrate leadership and exhibit knowledge and skills in everything from currriculum development to budgeting.
Other essays in the book deal with topics such as leadership, the knowledge base for school leaders, and strengthening professionalism.
A new software package developed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals allows educators to evaluate more than 30 variables that determine a school's learning environment.
By using the Comprehensive Assessment of School Environments Information Management System--CASE-IMS-school leaders can see the effect of such changing variables as student-teacher ratios, the number of elective courses, school goals, or budgeted resources.
Or principals can try to determine what changes would be needed, for example, to raise student achievement or teacher satisfaction at their school.
For more information about the program, write NASSP, 1904 Association Drive, Reston, Va. 22091, or call (703) 860-0200.--D.G.