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Author Says Principals Are The Most Important Figure in School Reform

Goldstein: Principals Are The Most Important Figure in School Reform

When it comes to pointing fingers at the source of fixing schools, who should take the blame? There are plenty out there who may look at teachers as the main factor in pursuing education reform, but there is one person who is always left in the shadows when it comes to the argument: the principal. 

The role of the principal has been overlooked, said a recent Slate article. Writer Dana Goldstein, author of the just released, The Teacher Wars, said that throughout history teachers, not princicpals, were expected to fix education ills.

This thinking, Goldstein said, still exists today, which has resulted growing teacher tenure lawsuites and dozens of reform efforts pointed at teacher quality. There is good reason, she said, as to why reformers and policymakers should pay more attention to principals. 

In the past, principals were "building and personnel managers" while teachers ruled over classrooms themselves. Today, principals do both what they did historically and yet they need to evaluate "what and how students are learning." 

"'Impossible' is the word I've heard most often used to describe the job of an American principal in 2014," Goldstein wrote in the article. "Last year, a poll of principals found 75% believed the job had become 'too complex.' And with a job description more about compliance than creativity, it's no surprise that too few principals are truly accomplished educators."

She said, however, that there is hope, but we need to think bigger. When the focus turns to improving the lives of teachers so that they can help children learn well, Goldstein said that "better educators would become principals."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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