Leveraging K-12 principal training and evaluation standards to support environmental, ecological and sustainability education in public schools: An example of Policy Analysis in GER

Monday 2:00pm Weeks Geo: AB20
Oral Presentation


Anthony Feig, Central Michigan University
Rodolfo Rincones, University of Texas at El Paso
Policy analysis is the process of understanding 1) the most effective means for accomplishing a goal within a given policy framework, and 2) how policies and goals relate. In this study, the goal is to establish a rigorous, holistic Earth Systems/Environmental Science curriculum in a public school. The policies being analyzed are the training and evaluation processes for school principals.

Environmental science, ecology and sustainability studies can be conceptually packaged as "ecoliteracy." The four themes of ecoliteracy education are environmental justice, stewardship, deep time and understanding Earth systems as interconnected processes.

In setting a school's goals and culture of learning, principals can establish a vision and curriculum of ecoliteracy. Because ecoliteracy is such a dramatic departure from current practice in public K-12 science education, principals require significant support and endorsement from higher levels in their efforts.

In Texas and Michigan, Administrator (Principal) Standards fall into seven categories: Executive leadership/vision, learning/curriculum leadership, school culture, school operations, personnel management, external/collaborative relationships and ethics.

A convergence exists between the principles of ecoliteracy education and the training and evaluation of public school principals. Comparative case study reveals that, with proper interpretation, Principal Standards and Performance Indicators in both Texas and Michigan can support a principal's efforts to establish ecoliteracy education at the building level. This support is especially desirable in the face of high-stakes accountability and the devaluing of science education.