That policy decision, though, ran into a difficult reality: there simply were not enough qualified principals-in-waiting to take over. Many school superintendents also complained that replacing principals could throw their schools into even more turmoil, hindering nascent turnaround efforts.
And, guess what? They have to slow down the machine, allowing principals in place to stay on for three years instead of two.
Although the program created an expectation that most schools would get new leadership, new data from eight large states show that many principals’ offices in failing schools still bear the same nameplates. About 44 percent of schools receiving federal turnaround money in these states still have the same principals who were leading them last year.
This is my favorite quote:
“If we’re talking about turning around 700 schools, I don’t think you can find 700 principals who are capable of taking on the challenge of this work,” Mr. Little said. “If you could, why would we have this many failing schools?”
Note: Rep. Reuven Carlyle, who cares deeply about education but sometimes gets it wrong , has put forth a bill about principals.
The bill is HB 1593 - " Establishing a residency provisional principal certification" (for 3 years)
Encourages highly capable individuals with qualities of leadership to become principals through field-based, rigorous, but flexible preparation programs offered in close collaboration with school districts.
Encourages school districts to provide principals with increased decision-making authority, including personnel decisions and allocation of financial resources.
Holds principals accountable to demonstrate the qualities essential to lead a school.
Requires the professional educator standards board to:
(1) Establish a residency provisional principal certification;
(2) Adopt standards that define a scope and level of professional managerial and leadership experience for certification.
Apparently this is being done in conjunction with a group called the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board. This is under the guise of "turnaround leadership". I'll have to give them a call on Monday.
Folks, raise your hand if you know what a principals number one role is at a school. The answer?
Be the instructional leader for the teaching corps.
Not be a manager. Not be a budgeting agent. Not be a disciplinarian. It's watching over the teaching corps and making sure they are supported and guided in their efforts.
I don't care what kind of leadership you have in business. That's great and bully for you but it does not mean you can effectively lead a school. If we are looking for better managers, this would be great. We are looking for better principals.
I'll have to ask both the SEA and PASS what they think of this legislation. I have to wonder if Rep. Carlyle thought of the union ramifications of this bill which could cause a huge firestorm especially since new teacher evaluations have become in vogue. How will these non-educator principals know what good teaching looks like and how much training will that take before they do?