Teachers have been at the center of most states’ talent discussions to date. Although principals play a critical role in virtually all school-improvement reform efforts, most states lack a coherent school leadership strategy. This is a major oversight.
But a few forces are afoot that may help refocus state attention on principals:
Education policy leaders increasingly realize that policy alone won’t trigger desired changes in schools and student performance. Principals are a key lever to influence any policy’s success since they sit at the nexus between policy and practice: implementation starts with principals.
A growing body of research demonstrates real inequities for students when they are not taught by educators of similar races and backgrounds. While roughly 40 percent of public school students are black or Latino, just 17 percent of principals are, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. States have a vested interest in ensuring their pipelines deliver the number, quality, and diversity of school leaders needed.