Toward the ‘Highly Qualified’ Principal
As Congress considers the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, it could take an important step forward by supporting proposals that help set higher standards for principals and improve pay for effective leaders, particularly those who work in high-need schools.
The NCLB redesign outlined in a “discussion draft” released this fall by the House Education and Labor Committee includes a proposal to fund principal training in the use of data, improving instruction for all students, and literacy development. It also would pay “exemplary, highly qualified” principals annual bonuses of up to $15,000 for each of four years that they worked in a high-need school and provide all principals up to $4,000 in annual bonuses based on the performance of their schools, particularly on tests that demonstrated student improvements over time.
Federal policymakers need to be careful, however, to avoid repeating the mistakes made five years ago in establishing provisions for “highly qualified” teachers under the law. Any effort to create a similar definition for principals should be based on high national standards, performance assessments across the range of skills required of accomplished leaders, and a demonstration of effectiveness that includes student achievement outcomes. It should not be based on seat time, course hours, or minimal state standards that have legitimately been established for novice principals. If Congress allows each state to determine its own qualifications for highly qualified principals, the nation will be faced with having 50 different definitions of what...
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- Elementary Principal
- Forest Grove School District, Forest Grove, OR
- Assistant/Associate Professor, Literacy
- Regis University, Denver, CO
- Director of School Support
- The Achievement Network, Multiple Locations
- Princeton Public School District, Princeton, NJ
- Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
- Lake Forest School District 67 & 115, Lake Forest, IL