Policy Work

Our work influences the decisions made at local, state and national levels.

Principal Preparation

The Center for Urban Education Leadership is a founding partner in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chicago Leadership Collaborative (CLC), an innovative model for filling all principal vacancies in CPS with principals from selective, residency-based programs.  With the Center's collaboration, CPS is now committed to filling every principal vacancy with school leaders trained in the model of the full-year residency that is central to the EdD Urban Education Leadership doctoral program.  Because of the scope and intensity of this commitment, the CLC has the potential to influence urban school leadership development on a national scale.  Like UIC’s EdD Program, Chicago Public Schools is recognized by the Bush Institute Alliance to Reform Education Leadership for its innovative and systemic approach to filling the Chicago principal pipeline with highly qualified candidates.

State Law

The Center was asked by the state of Illinois to lead the state Legislative Task Force on School Leader Preparation, resulting in a 2010 law which closed all existing Illinois principal preparation programs after 2012 and required programs to reapply for a new P-12 state Principal Endorsement under a far more rigorous set of outcome-based criteria.  Findings of the task force were detailed in a 2008 report to the Illinois General Assembly.  Illinois principal preparation policy has been recognized in studies commissioned by the Wallace Foundation and University Council for Education Administration, and was recognized also with the Education Commission of the States Frank Newman Award for State Innovation.  The Wallace Foundation in late 2016 posted a series of videos on leadership policy in Illinois, and UIC’s program influence is prominent in three of the four video programs.  In 2016, the Center Director Co-chaired, with the Director of the Illinois Large Unit District Association, a policy implementation task force, the Illinois School Leader Advisory Council, which produced an extensive set of recommendations for strategic implementation of the new P-12 endorsement legislation.

District Policy

In addition to our partnership with Chicago Public Schools, the Center has worked with districts such as New York City (through the New York City Leadership Academy) and urban districts in California, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee to shape school leadership initiatives at the local level. The Center's metrics for analyzing student learning gains were was explicitly adopted by the Evanston, Ill. District 65 Board of Education in 2012.  Center Leadership also serves on the founding Council of the Chicago Principal Partnership, a new, cross-sector organization dedicated to filling every principal vacancy in Chicago with a highly qualified principal.  Finally, Center faculty have for two years led the professional development coursework for CPS Network Chiefs, who supervise nearly 600 principals in Chicago Public Schools.

Higher Education

Due in part to the Center's advocacy with the Illinois State Board of Education, all university principal preparation programs in Illinois have now been redesigned in partnership with school districts and with higher levels of selectivity and program rigor.  The Center recently received Wallace Foundation grants to work with University of Connecticut and Western Kentucky University to assist them in developing their programs.  The Center has also worked with the Education Commission of the States and the National Governor’s Council, in addition to higher education leaders in Connecticut, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont to shape school leadership development policy.

Early Childhood Education

Since 2008, UIC has been including early childhood education leadership in its principal preparation courses, a practice passed into Illinois law in 2010 with the new P-12 Endorsement. In 2012, center staff released a policy brief on the new state Early Childhood Education requirements, and in May 2013, the National Governors Association cited UIC's work in a paper on early childhood leadership. The National Association of Elementary School Principals featured UIC’s program in its early childhood leadership handbook for principals, Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities, and Center leadership is frequently asked to address the Pre-K-3 learning continuum for such audiences as Education Commission of the States, National Council of State Legislatures, the National P-3 Institute at University of Washington, multiple state agencies, and others.  Center leadership also served on the review panel of the new Institutes of Medicine/National Research Council volume, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8.