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How States Can Create More Effective Principals With Policy

How States Can Create More Effective Principals With Policy

A new report commissioned by the Wallace Foundation has outlined three major state policies that are necessary in order to create the most effective principals for public schools.

According to the report, it is the first study of its kind to examine how state policy could be effective in helping to produce higher quality principals.

"Drawing from sources including the experiences of states that have focused on developing stronger principal policy, this report aims to fill that gap by offering guidance in the form of three sets of considerations for those who want to take action," the report reads.

Though the researchers admit that each state has its own educational, financial and political circumstances that inherently affect its policymaking, they are confident that state and local adaptation can help to make the three policy suggestions successful in all states.

First and foremost, the report says states should find a place for principals on the state policy agenda. While teachers often receive a lot of attention when it comes to professional development investment, principals are frequently left out. By recognizing that principals have a "powerful effect on the classroom," agendas can start to reflect that importance.

"Principals merit a more prominent place on state education policy agendas because of their powerful and singular role in improving education school-wide," the report said.

States can also adjust policy by setting standards for its principals. This includes standards that help train, strengthen, license and evaluate.

By adjusting policy to help better train and overall professionally develop principals, states can expect to see a higher quality administration in public schools.

And in order to develop the most successful policy when considering improving principal quality, the report suggests that states understand "how different state agencies wield authority and interact with one another; the variety of urban, suburban and rural communities; state and local capabilities to carry out change; and state mandates already shaping the principal's job."

By doing so, the report says it will best understand how to assess state and local contexts and how to develop policy from there.

Read the full report here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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