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State Board Raises Concerns About Recommendations For New Policy On Principal Preparation Programs

During today’s State Board of Education (SBE) meeting in Raleigh, State Board member Dr. Olivia Oxendine presented information on a slate of proposed changes to policies on educator preparation requirements and raised concerns about one proposal that she said could negatively impact principal preparation.

That proposal was one of several recommendations sent forward from the new Professional Educators Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) for State Board discussion this month and potential action in January 2018.

Recent state legislation (S.L.2017-189) passed in July calls for a comprehensive overhaul to educator preparation. This law change in turn necessitates additions, modifications, and omissions to corresponding SBE policy associated with educator preparation. The SBE’s Educator Standards and Practices Committee, chaired by Dr. Oxendine, discussed the PEPSC recommendations on Wednesday, when DPI staff presented the commission’s proposals for updating and aligning SBE policy with the new law. The PEPSC’s slate of proposals includes adding five new policies, adjusting eight existing policies and deleting two others.

The DPI staff reported that to start the work of the new PEPSC, they prepared an Initial policy crosswalk with S.L.2017-189. The commission then formed five subcommittee groups that developed the policy recommendations that were vetted with the broader commission and then reviewed by NCDPI legal counsel and the DPI Rules Council before being forwarded to the SBE for discussion, consideration and action.

Dr. Oxendine, in her committee report to the full SBE this morning, said that the PEPSC recommendation for a new SBE policy on school administrator preparation programs to align with the new law needs more work before it is ready for approval. 

The proposed policy already is strong on instructional leadership components for principal preparation programs, according to Dr. Oxendine, but it needs more focus and requirements to ensure that universities and other preparation programs are adequately preparing future school leaders for their role in business operations. She also said the policy and requirements within it should align more closely with the SBE’s current Standards for School Executives, by which principals ultimately are evaluated.

She also raised concerns about one component of this same proposed policy that would allow the preparation programs to charge fees to reimburse schools for the costs of employing substitutes for the full-time teachers enrolled in the program, when they must be absent for required internship activities.

Dr. Freddie Williamson, Superintendent of Hoke County Schools and the current Superintendent Advisor to the SBE, chimed in to say he would like to get feedback from fellow superintendents on this proposed policy and share that with the SBE before it is voted on in January.

Dr. Oxendine said she would welcome that feedback, and she and her committee will work with the DPI staff and the PEPSC to adjust this proposed policy as needed before it ultimately is approved and implemented.


Katherine Joyce