Leadership in the Early Years

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Many principals are not well-prepared and lack early education knowledge.

According to a study commissioned by the Foundation for Child Development, principals alone account for 25% of a school’s total impact on learning.  According to a 2009 survey conducted by Illinois State University (ISU), 91% of Illinois principals surveyed in 2009 worked in districts with a pre-K program.  However, according to ISU, only about 15% or less of the principals had pre-K teaching experience or credentials. 

In the spring of 2010, legislation was passed that changed the principal certification from a K-12 certificate to a Pre-K-12 certificate, making Illinois the first in the nation to certify principals from the span of Pre-K-12. As part of the new requirement, by 2014, all principal preparation programs -- both higher education institutions and alternative certification programs -- will be required to incorporate new content and field experiences that integrate early childhood education and other content areas such as special education and English Language Learners.

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