Issues Explored in Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership, Emphasis in K-12 Leadership

faculty, educational leaders and students walk and talk in a school hallway

K-12 leaders face a myriad of challenges, some evergreen and some brand new. You’ll explore many historic and trending issues in education leadership as you pursue a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University. You’ll examine ethical dilemmas, progressions in leadership thought and the history and politics of K-12 education among many other crucial topics. While you’re narrowing down issues to examine for your dissertation, consider the following topical categories.

Standardized Testing

In the U.S., standardized testing has roots back in the mid-19th century, with the first SAT being administered in 1926. Since then, the use of standardized testing has dramatically increased, including in the elementary years. By itself, the idea of testing students on their acquired knowledge and skills seems innocuous, but standardized testing is a polarizing issue. Some questions you may want to explore include:

  • How can school administrators minimize cheating?
  • Are standardized tests biased?
  • Does standardized testing force teachers to “teach to the test?”
  • Do the tests provide accurate assessments?


One crucial issue that school leaders grapple with is how to cultivate a positive, nurturing school environment. Bullying clearly has no place in such an environment, but it’s at epidemic proportions nevertheless. Some of the latest research on bullying indicates that it can have lifelong consequences for both bullies and their victims. If you decide to focus your research on this topic, you may want to focus on the following issues:

  • Whether a punitive approach or positive reinforcement is more effective
  • How all involved stakeholders can come together to minimize bullying
  • Best practices in staff training
  • The development of effective school policies and procedures

School Violence

All students have the right to learn in an environment in which they both feel safe and are safe. School violence is an issue of significant concern for school administrators. It includes shootings, threats of shootings or bombings, gang violence and acts of physical aggression perpetrated by bullies. No matter how small and close-knit a learning community is, no school administrator should assume that an act of violence cannot affect that campus. One of the issues you may examine during the course of your doctoral work is how school administrators can best involve school and community stakeholders in implementing procedures to prevent, quickly identify and report and effectively respond to acts of violence.

Student Homelessness

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 1.3 million students identified as homeless during 2014 to 2015. This represents a significant jump in the homeless youth population from before the recession. Homeless students are just as important to the future of the country as students with stable homes, yet they have fewer chances to succeed. School leaders have the opportunity and responsibility to identify and empower homeless students. One issue you may examine in your doctoral research is best practices in the use of school resources to assist homeless students.

Leaders in K-12 education are encouraged to pursue their career objectives by completing a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in K-12 Leadership. Grand Canyon University is pleased to offer this and other academically rigorous doctoral degrees at our College of Doctoral Studies. Look for the Request More Information button on this page to get started.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.