Monday, July 7, 2014 at 7:00 PM
HO JOHN LEE / FLICKR
There's a laundry list of factors that can play into a school's success. A few of the most common are great teachers, engaged parents, and a supportive community.
And one of the biggest contributors to a school's success is by placing the right candidate in their principal position.
According to The Atlantic, productive principals can increase their students' achievement gains by up to seven months, while ineffective leaders can push their students' progress back by that same amount.
But a recent report from a team of analysts from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an educational think tank, and education policy firm Public Impact points out schools may struggle to both find and retain the right talent for one of the school system's top spots.
"Far too many U.S. schools lack the leaders they need," the report's authors said. "Far too many principals lack the wherewithal--authority, resources, capacity, etc.--to lead effectively."
The findings from Lacking Leaders: The Challenges of Principal Recruitment, Selection, and Placement are based on data from five urban districts throughout the country, spoken to on the condition of anonymity. School staff and principals were interviewed, and data from the district's hiring practices was analyzed.
And the results? Well, the report begins by pointing out this isn't exactly a new problem. Finding and retaining successful school leaders has been a problem for more than a decade. There's been some progress over the past few years to develop leaders, according to the report's authors, but it's still not enough.
A handful of the position's challenges are outlined in the study, including the following:
Here's more analyst-speak from the report's analysts themselves:
"Our primary finding is that principal-hiring practices—even in pioneering districts—continue to fall short of what is needed, effectively causing needy schools to lose out on leaders with the potential to be great. Our research suggests, however, that better hiring practices alone are only part of the solution. Districts must also re-imagine the principal’s role so that it is a job that talented leaders want and are equipped to execute successfully."
So how can districts make a principal's position look a little more appealing? Well, of course, the report has a few suggestions: