Mission and Beliefs

The Challenge: Educating and Caring for America's Children and Youth

Our national task is obvious: We must increase student achievement and prepare young people to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The future quality of American life is at stake.

But there are many obstacles. Four in 10 American children grow up near or below the poverty level. Schools -- even in middle-class communities -- are overwhelmed, asked not only to educate youth but also to provide a wide array of social services.

Despite all we ask of our public school system, this essential institution no longer generates unflinching support from parents and communities. A generation ago, the majority of adults had children in public schools, but today, less than a quarter do, and public education has been reduced to yet another constituency competing for scarce resources.

America cannot afford diminished commitment to its most vital institution. We must put the "public" back in public education. We must tear down the bureaucratic walls that constrain innovation in our schools and that isolate schools from other services for children and youth. We must re-engage leaders from every part of society and equip them with the tools and knowledge to revitalize our covenant with the next generation. The longer we wait, the more children are at risk, and the greater the challenge becomes.


IEL's Mission

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) - a non-profit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC - envisions a society that uses its resources effectively to achieve better futures for all children and youth. For almost forty years, IEL's mission continues to be to build the capacity of individuals and organizations in education and related fields to work together - across policies, programs and sectors. To learn more about IEL's background story, read our brief history, IEL at 40: Passing the Test of Time.

IEL is the heart of an impartial, dynamic, nationwide network of people and organizations from many walks of life who share a passionate conviction that excellent education is critical to nurturing healthy individuals, families, and communities—and that it is the cornerstone of our country's future.


IEL's Beliefs

Our beliefs are the foundation of IEL's programs and services:

  • All children and youth have a birthright: the opportunity and the support to grow, learn, and become contributing members of our democratic society.
  • Quality education is a responsibility shared by school systems, families, communities, businesses, and governments.
  • Strategic alliances and partnerships are essential to achieve measurable and sustainable results for all children and youth.
  • Culturally competent leaders are vital to empowering organizations to address the needs of a diverse society.
  • Leadership and leadership development are critical tools to ensure that all children and youth can take advantage of their birthright.

IEL and its partners work hard to strengthen leadership, enhance school/family/community connections, and improve policies and systems in state capitals, as well as in towns and cities across America. These efforts form IEL's many-sided response to the urgently-repeated question from local communities and leaders: "How can you help me and my organization do better?" IEL helps communities identify and build leadership that supports education-from within and outside the confines of traditional education. IEL facilitates dialogue across boundaries of all sorts, building alliances and partnerships for change. IEL publications translate research and experience into practical recommendations about what works to improve American education.

Get in touch, and let us know what we can do to help you-or what you can do to help us-to strengthen education and improve student learning.