Principal Concerns: Leadership Data and Strategies for States

September 2012

Discussions about human capital and school improvement typically center on teachers, not administrators. This report argues that principals are a critical part of federal and state education reform efforts but that current state-level practices are not focused on cultivating school leaders. Some states have taken first steps toward improvement by tackling issues around alternative paths and certification, but their plans are not comprehensive or driven by data. To ensure a supply of strong leaders, states need to first understand their circumstances. They need to analyze their principal data to identify their upcoming needs. Then they need to step back and look at a broader, comprehensive set of solutions that improve the job, attract the most promising candidates, and get these individuals into the places that need them the most. CRPE has created a useful set of materials that state policymakers can use as they get started in developing and supporting a principal corps for the coming decades. Included in this report are a data guide and a framework for thinking about policies, which states can use as they get started. The State Principal Data Guide in this report tells policymakers what metrics they must track in order to make the best decisions regarding the supply and training of school leaders. The Principal Pipeline Framework that follows can help states prioritize and adopt an array of policies that can attract and make the most of strong principal talent to support the needs identified in the data.

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