Men and women teachers take different paths to become school leaders, according to a new study in the American Educational Research Journal.
Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and Columbia University tracked the careers of more than 11,000 teachers in a large, diverse area over 17 academic years. They found that, on average, teachers who made the jump to the principalship did so after five to seven years of teaching. The amount of time teachers had spent in the district did not seem to be a big factor in whether they became principals; on average, teachers who got their principal certification had been with their district six years, and those who actually became principals had been in their district seven years. A little more than half of teachers who got administrative certification were still not principals after 16 years
But after accounting for differences in teachers’ background and professional experience, the study found teachers of different gender or racial groups had different paths. White male teachers were more likely than women and those of racial minorities to become principals, and they did so earlier in their careers. White teachers with administrative certification were more than 1½ times as likely to become principals as black or Latino teachers with the same certification. Black and Latino male teachers, however, were more likely than women teachers of any race to become principals.
A version of this article appeared in the March 08, 2017 edition of Education Week as Becoming Principal: Whose Route Is Shortest?