GoodevilI had a conversation recently with some folks from another state’s educational administration licensing board. This is the board at the state department of education that oversees educational leadership preparation programs and accredits them.

This state apparently has experienced a wave of institutions that have come in from outside the state and are offering preparation programs that are primarily or wholly online. There are concerns - from existing university preparation programs and perhaps the licensing board – that these programs are “just out to make a buck” and are known across the state as being cheap and easy ways to get principal or superintendent licensure. It’s also worth nothing that most of the traditional preparation programs in the state are not utilizing online instruction to a substantial extent and, of course, have market shares that they’re trying to preserve.

The board is wrestling with ways to ensure the rigor of its school leadership preparation programs and the quality of its newly-graduated administrators. One of the regulations being considered is the following:

No educational leadership program will be accredited unless at least 50% of its instruction is face-to-face rather than online.

I expressed some of my concerns about the proposed regulation, noting that there always will be variability and that I believed they should be separating issues regarding quality of program content from quality of program delivery. While some face-to-face programs/courses are of high quality, others are not. The same is true for online programs/courses. It is both possible and probable that some of the best programs/courses that are primarily online will be better than some of the worst programs/courses that are primarily face-to-face. The critical factor is not necessarily the online nature of the instruction but rather what happens in the instructional process, whether online, face-to-face, or some kind of hybrid model.

Any thoughts on the state licensing board’s attempts to ensure the quality of its programs and their graduates?

Image credit: Good vs Evil