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As part of a wide-ranging revision of the way it licenses new principals, New Jersey has selected a standardized test of educational leadership for use in assessing future candidates for such licensure.

Candidates who apply after June 1 will be required to pass the test, developed by the Educational Testing Service's National Teacher Examination program. They must also serve a provisional residency under the supervision of a mentor in order to obtain permanent licensure, and will be required to undergo an assessment of their management and teaching skills.

The new state standards for principals, adopted in 1988, also include a controversial pilot program that will enable a limited number of candidates with little or no teaching experience to become principals. They will be required to teach during their residencies.

The state education department has proposed modeling licensing standards for superintendents after the program for principals, including allowing non-educators to qualify. Most superintendent candidates, however, would not be required to teach during their residencies.

The variously defined concept of school "restructuring" is examined in a report released last week by the American Association of School Administrators.

"Restructuring America's Schools" traces the improvement efforts that have led to the current restructuring movement.

Exactly what is meant by the term depends on who is using it, the report notes. Examples cited include changes in curriculum, school organization, federal-state relationships, school governance, certification standards, compensation, and attitudes toward "at risk" students.

The book-length report is based on surveys of school administrators, teachers, and state education officials, as well as analyses of research and extensive interviews.

Barriers to restructuring are identified, including "an overabundance of regulations," inflexible certification and hiring practices, competing demands for resources, and the "temptation to make minimum changes to satisfy critics because the demands are so great."

Richard Miller, executive director of the aasa, writes in the preface that a great deal of restructuring already is taking place. Officials should be careful in making massive changes, he warns, in order not to undermine "what already works."

Finally, he says, "the primary focus of any reform, including variations in restructuring, must result in better education for students. Otherwise, they aren't worth their salt."

Copies are available for $15.95 each, plus $3.50 for postage and handling, from a.a.s.a. Publications, 1801 North Moore St., Arlington, Va. 22209.--ab

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