Preparing School Leaders for Young Learners in the US
AbstractIn the United States there has been a recent movement to expand access to preschool for children ages 3 and 4 through ΓÇ£universal pre-kΓÇ¥ where states fund programs for all age-eligible students. This has caused an increasing number of preschool programs to be housed in public schools and led by principals, though school leaders are unlikely to have any experience or training in early childhood. At the same time, the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) is taking hold and pressuring schools to utilize educational practices that are opposed to best practices in early childhood education. In response to current research about teaching and learning and challenges facing schools, the Professional Standards for Educational Leadership 2015 (PSEL 2015) were created to influence how leaders are prepared, hired, evaluated, and supported in their work. This article brings together these three current forces in public education in the US, and describes how they compliment and contrast each other. The fundamental logic behind this work is (a) to meet the PSEL 2015, principals will need a greater understanding of early childhood education; (b) by understanding early childhood education, leaders will have a better framework from which to make decisions about how to address GERM; and (c) leaders need to implement GERM properly in order to meet the PSEL 2015. Thus, developing a force of school leaders who understand and support best practices in ECE may ultimately improve learning outcomes for all students.
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