School leadership standards and graduate education: Instructional negotiations of theory, practice, and policy regulation.
Keywords:leadership standards, graduate education, K-12 leaders, policy enactment
The presence of school leadership standards in graduate education has come to influence the scope and content of leadership programs, highlighting tensions between political, practical, and scholarly views of leaders and leadership. This paper reports on a study of instructional practices within a graduate program in educational leadership connected to the Alberta Leadership Quality Standard to explore how instructors, as policy actors, encounter leadership standards not just as policies of compliance but of possibility. We interpret interview data from three faculty members through the lens of policy enactment to understand how their instruction negotiated relationships of theory and practice and how they negotiated the policy-based regulatory discourses associated with school leadership standards. Working between images of policy standards as text and discourse, findings show instructors engaged in dialogic commitments that help students develop practical and scholarly competencies while displacing the authority of standards, recontextualizing the standardization of leadership, and displacing the standards’ normative gaze.