Storey outlines shift in the US education policy

Lynn education professor says, “The New DEEL will focus on democratic and ethical decisions and benefit educational leadership”

Published Aug. 23, 2010

Valerie Storey, associate professor in Lynn University’s Ross College of Education and Ed.D. program director, recently presented a paper, “New Localism vs. Centralism: The New DEEL,” intended to help raise awareness of The New DEEL (Democratic Ethical Educational Leadership) and outlined the shift in the USA education policy.

“There is a dilemma facing the field of educational leadership that pits a centralized, top-down control regime, modeled after corporations,” says Storey. “It’s up against the rise in New Localism.”

According to Storey, “education in the United States is highly decentralized.” Education reform has historically fallen under local and state jurisdictions, but now, federal policy and initiatives are becoming increasingly influential.

The Obama Administration is pushing educational reform with strategies such as competition, choice, deregulation and incentives. Most recently Obama’s Race to the Top program has states making their second submissions to compete for tens, and even hundreds, of millions of dollars in grant money.

“Some states have changed laws to successfully meet Race to the Top criteria,” said Storey. “After being unsuccessful in round one, Florida is seeking up to $700 million from round two and hopes to use the money to boost high school graduation rates, improve struggling schools and develop merit-pay plans for teachers based on student test scores.”

Storey, a proponent of The New DEEL, says the New DEEL “represents a democratic grass-roots ‘power to the people’ movement believing in the notion that excellence in education is a function of the community of individuals it is part of. It’s guided by the principle of  ‘what is best for the students.’”

Advocates of the New DEEL are looking to influence the education of principals, superintendents and teachers in the next generation by increasing the focus on democracy and ethics in leadership.

Storey presented this paper – co-authored by Malcolm Asadoorian, associate professor of education at Lynn – at British Educational Leadership, Management & Administration Society (BELMAS) Annual International Conference in July 2010. This year’s conference topic was “New organizations, new leadership?”

More on Storey:

Storey began her career in education in England, where she led curriculum teams in individual high schools and school districts before coming to America and earning her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University. She focuses her research on school improvement with a special emphasis on leadership and policy, both domestically and internationally. She has authored, co-authored and published numerous articles that center on leadership for learning and teaching in K-12 schools. She also studies the changing role of school leaders as the organizational context becomes more standardized but, at the same time, more complex and varied.

In 2008 Storey presented her paper, “Seeking Moral Equilibrium,” that dealt with the “glaring omission” in U.S. education policy. An issue already identified by former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings regarding the “absence of moral literacy” in the country’s national efforts to strengthen higher education.