Education

Principals, You Are the Most Trusted Professionals

By Denisa R. Superville — September 20, 2019 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Congratulations, principals. Americans trust you. They trust you more than police, more than military leaders, and not surprisingly, more than journalists and members of Congress.

In fact, principals, the American public gives you high marks for being honest with information and how you handle public resources, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Maybe it’s time to ask for that raise. Here’s a closer look at how the public views you.

Eighty-four percent of Americans say principals cared about others or people like them “all or most of the time or some of the time.” Respondents also rated principals highly for providing fair and accurate information to the public—79 percent said they do so “all or most of the time or some of the time.” And 81 percent said that principals handled resources responsibly.

The questions were part of a Pew Research Center project on how Americans view select groups that hold vast power and responsibilities. Pew sought to capture how Americans view these power brokers’ job performance, empathy, ethical behavior, and willingness to own up to mistakes.

In addition to principals, police officers, and military leaders, the survey asked about religious leaders, local elected officials, journalists, members of congress, and tech company leaders.

Principals Don’t Rate as Well on Ethical Behavior

Despite Americans’ high level of trust in school leaders, they said principals, like many of their counterparts in power, often acted unethically. But principals still stack up better on ethics than most the other professions that were included.

For example, while 81 percent of respondents said that members of Congress acted unethically all or most of the time or some of the time, only 52 percent thought the same of principals. Half thought the same of military leaders.

And when it comes to owning up to mistakes, more Americans think principals acknowledge their missteps. Only 32 percent of those surveyed said that they thought principals did not often admit mistakes or own up to them. (Compared to 79 percent for members of Congress and 55 percent for tech company leaders.)

For the most part, Americans think those in positions of power carry out the major tenets of their jobs responsibly, though that was one of the areas in which principals did not lead the pack.

Only 72 percent of Americans think principals did a good job ensuring that students developed critical thinking skills most of the time or some of the time. Military, tech, and police leaders led in the answers to that question.

The positive views of principals extended across racial demographic lines, but black people, in particular, had more positive views of principals than white respondents.

The report was based on responses from the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, a nationally representative sample of American adults. The data were collected between Nov. 27 and Dec. 10 2018, from a sample of 10,618 responses. The margin of error is 1.5 percentage points.

Image: Getty

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP