Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Principals Have More Authority Than They Think, New Study Says

This Education Week article features CRPE's Larry Miller discussing his new report on policy barriers to school innovation.

Excerpt of the article by Denisa Superville
Though there are real policy barriers that get in the way of innovation, principals have more authority than they think. So concludes a new study that examined the real and imagined barriers to school improvement in four Northeastern cities.

The study, released Tuesday by the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell, found that two-thirds of the 128 barriers to change cited by the eight principals who were surveyed were "imagined" impediments, meaning that the barriers were not immutable and there were ways to get around them.

Imagined barriers were those that could be overcome through waivers or alternative interpretations, or could be ignored altogether without real consequences, according to the researchers; while "real" barriers were those that were rooted in statutes, policies, or managerial directives.

The researchers also found that of the three states in the study—Maryland, Connecticut, and New Hampshire—the one with the highest support for principal autonomy, New Hampshire, had the fewest number of real roadblocks. Connecticut, the state with the least support for principal autonomy, had the highest number of real barriers. The differences between the two, however, were not great.
Read the full article.