Throughout the 19 years of my career in education, students have always been front and center. Yet, laws impacting education and policies developed to implement or abide by those laws were always on the margins.
As a K12 teacher, in the second year of my teaching career, I faced the intersection of policies and attempts to subvert policies by politicians. One situation involved a parent of one of my students who also happened to be a school board member. The board member parent made requests from me to take custody of testing documents intended for the child, against established policy. This led to local news investigations, internal investigations, and the opportunity for me to be a part of the review committee to determine whether the policy was adequate.
With early interest in the implementation of technology initiatives, I often found myself on committees writing policy to implement new technology or systems. These opportunities establish rules and routine that professional educators used to review statutes, case law and pending legislation. These opportunities enhanced my perspective as an educator since I had the opportunity to apply concepts both in my professional practice in the classroom, but also in my mind to shape my short and log term actions as an educator.
In the realm of higher education, I was fortunate to transition from K12 with these experiences fresh in my mind. Also, I joined a unique sector of higher ed within a unique time for that sector. By working in the proprietary sector of private higher education during the 2010s, laws to regulate and restrict this sector reached a pinnacle. The politics around higher education funding for the sector required frequent policy adjustments and forward-thinking operational planning to anticipate possible legislation on the horizon.
With the last reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 2008, the proprietary sector awaits and anticipates changes in each Congressional cycle. During times of single party control of Congress and the Presidency, the sector most anticipates a new reauthorization and, depending on political winds and party control, either favorable or punitive outcomes. As an academic director and now a campus president, my 11 years in higher ed have focused on working with university administrators, faculty, and staff to develop and implement policies based on ever-changing guidelines.
Whether policies from regional accrediting bodies, veterans’ administration, federal department of education, state higher education councils, or programmatic accrediting bodies, I am involved daily in reviewing, implementing, staff development or disputes surrounding implementation of policy and development of policy to satisfy statute requirements.