Standards for educational administration preparation programs and professional practice are a topic of intense interest continually being discussed by professional organizations and university preparation programs across the nation. Numerous articles, books, and presentations have addressed the topic of applied standards such as those by Beyer & Ruhl-Smith (2000), Capasso & Daresh (2001), Hoyle, English, & Steffy, (1998), Murphy, Hawley, & Young (2005), and Wilmore, E. L. (2002). The State of Michigan does not offer a certificate in school administration. From 1995 to 2004, the educational administration strand of the public administration program was developed and patterned after previous Michigan Department of Education (MDE) program standards for school administrators, which were eliminated by the State in 2000, and the National Policy Board for Educational Administration Knowledge and Skill Base for School Principals (NPBEA, 1993). Both the required and elective courses in the MPA program addressed the NPBEA essential knowledge and skills base for effective school principals (Thompson, 1993). In 2004, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) approved a new set of program standards for the preparation of school principals. This program is patterned after two specific sets of existing national standards. First, is the Interstate School Leader Licensure Consortium Standards for School Leaders (ISLLC) (Council of Chief State School Officers, 1996) which specifically address the topics of leadership and vision, instruction and student academic success, allocation of resources, school and community relations, ethics, and the political, social, legal, and cultural context of leading schools. The Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA, 2004), is the second set of standards incorporated into the new MDE preparation guidelines. These are defined as:
I. Leadership and Vision - Educational leaders inspire a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology and foster an environment and culture conducive to the realization of that vision.
II. Learning and Teaching - Educational leaders ensure that curricular design, instructional strategies, and learning environments integrate appropriate technologies to maximize learning and teaching.
III. Productivity and Professional Practice - Educational leaders apply technology to enhance their professional practice and to increase their own productivity and that of others.
IV. Support, Management, and Operations - Educational leaders ensure the integration of technology to support productive systems for learning and administration.
V. Assessment and Evaluation - Educational leaders use technology to plan and implement comprehensive systems of effective assessment and evaluation.
VI. Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues - Educational leaders understand the social, legal, and ethical issues related to technology and model responsible decision-making related to these issues (TSSA, 2004).
The educational administration portion of the MPA program has been revised to meet the Michigan Department of Education Program Standards for the Preparation of School Principals (Michigan Department of Education, 2004). This preparation program is based on the ISLLC Standards and Technology Standards for School Administrators, as described above, with the addition of an internship requirement in a school setting providing the educational administration student with the opportunity to apply the newly acquired knowledge and skills to practice:
- A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is and supported by the school community.
- A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.
- A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by ensuring management of the organization, operations, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.
- A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.
- A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of the students by acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner.
- A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political social, economic, legal, and cultural context.
- A school administrator is an educational leader who understands and comprehensively applies technology to advance student achievement.
- A school administrator is an educational leader who synthesizes and applies knowledge and best practices and develops skills through substantial, sustained, standards-based work in real settings to advance student achievement (Michigan Department of Education, 2004).