We’ve seen notable examples of leadership lately—some strong and effective, others misdirected and damaging. All agree that strong leadership is needed to help the U.S. out of its economic troubles, so we search for the best political and business leaders to bring their talents and hard work to the fore. But where is the call for leadership in education?
An enormous amount of time, energy, and dollars are being focused on education reform—and with good reason. Our students consistently rank behind the students in other countries in academic performance, and in an economy that is more global than local, our graduates will be competing for the same jobs and opportunities with graduates from other countries. Many programs and initiatives address student performance, technology, and teacher training. But Bob Herbert, columnist for The New York Times, recently reported on an effort to get the best and brightest to turn to educational leadership. Harvard Graduate School of Education has created a new doctoral degree—the first in 74 years—focusing on leadership in education.
Herbert feels strong leadership in education is a critical part of being a strong and secure nation. Harvard seems to agree with Herbert’s assessment, as they are offering this program tuition-free. The university wants to reach out to the broadest possible field of candidates, and that can’t be done, according to Kathleen McCarthy, dean of the graduate school, “unless we remove all barriers to studying here.”
This is a huge step to addressing a complex and critical problem, and Harvard, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, should be applauded for its efforts.