Leaders no longer in limbo?
Once again, the Hechinger Report has dived into the waters of education-policy reporting and emerged with a pearl. Its latest package of articles addresses the need for—and dearth of—strong school and district leaders. (Gadfly has treaded these waters in the recent past as well.) As Hechinger articulates, excellent leaders are essential in the formation and maintenance of a positive and effective school environment. According to a 2009 New Leaders for New Schools study, principals account for 25 percent of a school’s impact on student gains. Yet we face a critical shortage of strong leaders, despite the factory-like efficiency with which education schools pump out certified (but unprepared) principals. As Hechinger reports, this break in the supply-demand curve requires a rethink of how we prepare school leaders and where we recruit them from. Luckily, with collective bargaining on the ropes in states across the country, school and district leaders might finally have authority commensurate with their responsibility. And, if nothing else, that should be very good for recruiting better candidates.
“Why School Leadership Matters,” by Staff, Hechinger Report, March 3, 2011.
“Supply vs. demand: Rock-star superintendents,” by Justin Snider, Hechinger Report, March 3, 2011.
“Leadership crisis: Issues of quality, not quantity?,” by Staff, Hechinger Report, March 3, 2011.
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