Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


For more than twenty-five years reform efforts have been pervasively pursued across the nation to improve student achievement at the K-12 level. It is generally agreed that the impetus for these reform efforts was the publication of the report, A Nation at Risk, in 1983(National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). This report, which concluded that a “rising tide of mediocrity” was sweeping across the educational system served as the clarion call that spurned the national efforts to reform and improve America’s schools. Although these reform efforts have covered nearly every aspect of schooling and taken a variety of forms, fundamentally they have addressed how schools are governed, organized, and operated for the purpose of improving teaching and learning. Additionally, and most important, these reform efforts have focused upon the quality of personnel in the schools, especially teachers and administrators, because reformers have argued that they are the most important resource for effecting significant school improvement. Given the emphasis on the quality of personnel, many of the reform efforts have addressed the quality of both pre-service and professional development programs for teachers and administrators. Of these, the focus, structure, content, and quality of the preservice programs have received the most attention.