The course content and assigned readings in traditional administrator-preparation programs leave candidates ill-equipped to lead school improvement efforts, two analyses of such training conclude.
The reports “Learning to Lead: What Gets Taught in Principal Preparation Programs,” and “Textbook Leadership? An Analysis of Leading Books Used in Principal Preparation,” are posted by the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University.
In “Learning to Lead: What Gets Taught in Principal Preparation Programs,” Frederick M. Hess and Andrew P. Kelly of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington examine course syllabuses from 31 programs that together represent 2,424 weeks of training. They found about 30 percent of that time dealt with “technical knowledge,” in such areas as school law, finance, and facilities management. About 11 percent dealt with classroom instruction.
In “Textbook Leadership? An Analysis of Leading Books Used in Principal Preparation,” the two researchers studied the most frequently assigned books in the same programs. Their results show that the books put more emphasis on issues of school culture than on making tough decisions, such as when to fire a teacher.