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June 17, 2013

Experts' wrong way to pick best principals

Jay Matthews:

Anyone involved with schools has noticed that many governors, legislators and school boards think business practices can improve education. There is little proof of this. It's a fad. If we leave it alone, it will go away.

But sometimes the latest business idea is too foolish to ignore. Take, for instance, this recent commentary piece in Education Week, "We Need a New Approach to Principal Selection," by Ronald J. and Bill J. Bonnstetter.

"Identifying an effective principal requires a clear vision of the job duties, expectations and required personal attributes," they wrote. "While most selection committees would agree with these criteria, the present selection system ends up being filled with personal biases and status quo mentalities. That's why we recommend using benchmarking."

Ronald Bonnstetter is professor emeritus of science education at the University of Nebraska. He now works as senior vice president of research and development for his brother Bill, chairman of Target Training International, a private company that does human behavior and skill assessments for businesses and groups in 90 countries. The Bonnstetters know much about business and education, but they fail in this piece to consider the importance of finding out how well principal candidates have done with students.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at June 17, 2013 1:37 AM
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