Leadership for Student Learning: Recognizing the State's Role in Public Education

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) sometimes does good work. And then sometimes it makes you want to throw up. This particular task force report makes one good point: states are in the education policy driver's seat. Then it argues that state policy makers aren't very good at driving. (The task force has a stunningly one-sided view of what's good and bad; for example, it trashes Massachusetts's plucky approach to standards-based education reform, apparently basing its judgment the views of a single Bay State dissenter.) Then it empathizes with state education departments, which it finds underfunded, understaffed, etc. Then it issues a huge number of utterly unmemorable recommendations for various state-level constituencies, including such gems as "get advice from more than one source," "develop processes that will ensure strong performance," and "engage all 'stakeholders.'" To think that trees were sacrificed for this banal document! To avoid sacrificing more, perhaps you should view it on-line (if you want to bother at all). Surf to www.iel.org/staterole.pdf, phone Mary Podmostko at (202) 822-8405, x 31, write her at IEL, 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 310, Washington DC 20036, or e-mail podmostkom@iel.org.