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Why are educational leaders key in advocating for reforms?

by Angelina

Whether educational reform is actioned at a local, regional, or national level, the learning outcomes at schools are influenced primarily by what happens in the classroom. Therefore, the most successful reforms will be those that are beneficial in a classroom environment, and for these reforms to be workable, the engagement of educational leaders is essential. Whether they are employed as department heads, administrators, or principals, these professionals have day-to-day contact with teachers on the front lines of education.By discussing what is to be done with those who will take responsibility for the practical side of any changes, leaders gain a clearer insight into the feasibility of any scheme – directly from the key stakeholders.

Training for a role in educational leadership

In their managerial roles, educational leaders don’t just act as policy designers or advisors; they are also engaged as implementers. It is both a challenging and exciting role, one which calls for a great deal of experience in an educational environment and requires excellent training.Professional people who have already attained a master’s and are planning to advance their career ineducational leadership should consider the Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D.) at Rockhurst University. This course differs from a Ph.D. because it focuses on the uses of research. At Rockhurst, students with Ed.D. skills will graduate ready to change and improve the systems and policies that govern several different industries, from healthcare andeducationto the private sector and beyond.

Establishing a dialog with the government

Working in partnership with local governments and politicians is an effective way of engaging in debates around educational reform. Without the help of educational leaders, the people we trust to design educational reforms are likely to struggle when it comes to delivering a quality education for all students. Although opening a collective dialog is challenging, the concept of analyzing issues and finding solutions jointly is worth the effort, and this is reflected in government policy.Indeed, part of the US government’s recent Back to School Bus Tour 2023: Raise the Bar initiative – an initiative aimed at improving education – involves sending Dear Colleague letters to Chief State School Officers. In these letters, CSSOs are asked to support reforms by actively researching areas that could be improved and “providing expert guidance to senior state or local education agency leaders.”

Ideas for reform should be supported by research

Coordinated research efforts that involve the input of teachers and other education professionals are essential for useful reform. It can be helpful when impressing the need for change in those who prefer to maintain the status quo, but it also helps to create a deeper understanding of a problem in the public’s mind. By establishing a consensus among educational teams and other experts, leaders can diagnose problems and guide policy making. This approach can also be useful when the research is shared with other schools, as it can help build a knowledge bank that can be added towith suggestions on using the data to improve outcomes. When shared with government departments, it can lead to educational reforms being incorporated into more comprehensive policies and can lead to significant improvements.

Collaborating with and supporting all stakeholders

Quality teaching is about establishing respect for the profession, but it’s also about practical changes at a local and national level. Through collaborations, educational leaders can find ways to help teachers work more effectively. However, they must also work with states, private investors, and communities to establish a dialog on system improvements. In addition to using financial or political means to put pressure on the people who can bring aboutchange, leaders must also be on hand to offer support to teachers. Improvingthe working conditions of educators often improves the classroom experience andcan have a beneficial effect on other aspects of education provision as well.

Managing areas of concern

Reforms are not always universally popular, so educational leaders will also advocate for the changes they feel are most crucial by managing any tensions that arise. When community groups, teachers, or local government departments are uncertain of why specific reforms are needed, their concern can quickly turn into resistance, and the entire process may be derailed. Furthermore, the professionals who are involved in teaching are often protective of the system and established ways of working. This can happen as a result of uncertainty in the suggested reforms or lived experience of reforms that have failed in the past, despite their best efforts. Listening to concerns, working constructively, and setting up regular consultations can help leaders’ calm areas of concern at a national level, in the community, and in the school. It’s not to say that leaders will also prevent conflicts from occurring, but through active listening, they are better placed to deal with them in a positive, open way.

Ensuring reforms are widely supported

As is the case with any type of fundamental change, people can feel they have something to lose or that they maybe forgotten in the process. Educational leaders have to be the architects of reforms that have the potential to enhance learning outcomes for students across the US, but that on its own is not enough. For even the most impressive and inspiring ideas to become successful and result in actual reforms, educational leaders must be ready to deal with the apprehensions of every interested party. By addressing the concerns of teachers, parents, the wider community, and local government, they advocate most effectively for change, because they ensure new reforms are supported by those who play vital roles in the system.

The public has trust in educators

From time to time the public may be unsure of the motives of politicians and even lack trust in their government. However, educational leaders are likely to command the respect of the public, because they have an integral interest in improving outcomes for students. So, when they suggest evidence-based reform and communicate the findings of their research clearly, these professionals can have a huge impact on policy debates and future educational reforms.

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