The authors describe their attempt to develop students’ critical perspectives on the content and assumptions in the 2008 Florida Principal Leadership Standards (FPLS) through a reflective essay assignment in a class titled Ethics, Equity, and Leadership in Education. The authors conducted textual analysis of 92 student essays (a total of 922 pages) submitted in 5 sections of a class from the summer of 2008 through the spring of 2009. The authors describe ways students analyze knowledge claims in the FPLS in relation to the standards’ considerable silence around issues of ethics and equity, which were central to the class: a) Standards are sufficient and helpful; b) Standards are insufficient, but helpful; and c) Standards are insufficient and lack critical elements. The article concludes with a discussion of how university professors and other professional development leaders might consider working within and, when strategically appropriate, against notions of standards representing comprehensive legitimate knowledge through six specific pedagogical and professional stances.
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