School & District Management

Principals Are Mostly White, But Higher Percentages of Charter School Leaders Are People of Color

By Denisa R. Superville — August 22, 2019 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Charter schools continue to employ more racially-diverse school leaders—though still a small percentage—than traditional public schools, according to new federal education data released today.

In the 2017-18 school year, for example, approximately 29 percent of charter school principals were black and Hispanic, with another 4.8 percent identifying as “other,” a group that included Asians, Native Americans, and those of two or more races. Among traditional schools, only 10 percent of principals were black, while 8.6 percent were Hispanic of any race.

Overall, public school leadership remained predominantly white—with about 78 percent of principals identifying as white (largely unchanged from the last data set on the 2015-16 school year)—and slightly more female. Fifty-four percent of public school leaders were female, according to the data from the National Center For Education Statistics.

The data provide a snapshot of who leads the nation’s public and private schools—including demographics, tenure, professional development opportunities, and perceived spheres of influence.

It was the first year since 2011-12 that the NCES released data on private school principals. And those numbers showed, among other things, that private school principals are paid, on average, less than their counterparts leading public schools: $72,500 versus $98,300. But, at the same time, a higher percentage of private school principals stayed in their schools longer.

While public school principals reported 6.8 years of experience, private school principals had nearly three more years of experience on average. And private school principals were at their current schools for an average of 7 years—about three more than public school leaders. And while fewer than 13 percent of public school principals (both charters and traditional public schools) were at their current schools for 10 or more years, more than quarter of private school principals (26.2) were at their schools for a decade or more.

Where Are The Principals of Color?

A higher percentage of public school principals of color worked in high-poverty schools than in schools with lower poverty levels. Twenty-one percent of black principals and 16.5 percent of Hispanic principals led schools where more than three-quarters of the students were enrolled in the federal free and reduced lunch program. Only 3.8 percent of black and 4.1 percent of Hispanic principals worked in schools where fewer than 35 percent of the students qualified for the federal subsidized meal program.

And those principals generally tended to be paid lower salaries, on average, with the gap starting at the beginning of their careers and continuing past their 10th anniversary in those positions.

Principals in high-poverty schools were not only paid less, on average, than those leading schools with lower percentages of students in poverty, but they also had less experience and had spent least number of years at their current schools. About half of the principals in schools where 75 percent of students qualified for free and reduced meals had been at their schools for less than three years.

Here’s What Principals Said About Evaluations and PD

The majority of principals were satisfied with their evaluations, and more public school principals said they had been evaluated the previous year than did private school principals. While more than three-quarters of public school principals said they had been evaluated in the last year, slightly more than half—51 percent—of private school principals said the same. School visits and conferences were popular types of professional development for principals.

Fewer than half of public school principals said they had a major influence in establishing curriculum—40 percent—though nearly 60 percent of charter school principals said they had a major influence in that area. Charter school leaders also appeared to have more autonomy when it came to professional development for teachers than their peers in traditional public schools, with a higher percentage of charter principals saying that they had a major influence in determining the content for in-service teacher professional development.

Related Tags:

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
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
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

School & District Management 10 Ways to Tackle Education's Urgent Challenges
As the school year gets underway, we ask hard questions about education’s biggest challenges and offer some solutions.
2 min read
Conceptual Image of schools preparing for the pandemic
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Reported Essay Principals Need Social-Emotional Support, Too
By overlooking the well-being of their school leaders, districts could limit how much their schools can flourish.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management From Our Research Center Educator Stress, Anti-Racism, and Pandemic Response: How You're Feeling
A new nationally representative survey offers key takeaways from teachers, principals, and district leaders.
EdWeek Research Center
1 min read
2021 BI COVER no text DATA crop
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Download 8 Tips for Building a Digital Learning Plan That Conquers Chaos
Craft flexible strategies, encourage experimentation with new instructional models, and regularly solicit feedback.
1 min read
onsr edtech tips
Getty