Special Report
School & District Management

Tech Pressures Put Principals in Difficult Spot

By Kevin Bushweller — April 17, 2018 1 min read

Many educators would argue that the toughest job in education today is that of a principal. That is where the real action happens, inside schools.

Principals must balance the demands coming from the central office and their local communities with the needs of teachers and students, and they must keep up with what feels like an accelerated pace of technological change in and outside of schools.

With that context in mind, it makes you wonder: What do modern principals think about some of the most vexing tech issues? Are students spending too much time in front of computer screens? Is personalized learning worth expanding? And what about students’ social-media use?

To better understand where the ed-tech pressure points are for principals, the Education Week Research Center conducted a nationally representative survey of 500 principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders. The results of that survey are featured prominently throughout this report.

Education Week also wanted to dig deeper into the nuances of principals’ thinking about technology. Staff writers interviewed principals and assistant principals from around the country about their experiences and beliefs. And what you will find in the pages of this report is some real straight talk from school leaders, as well as insights from ed-tech leadership experts.

Brian Partin, a middle school principal in Tennessee and the president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, offered up some valuable ed-tech advice for his fellow school leaders during an interview with Staff Writer Denisa R. Superville.

“If you are looking at going to a 1-to-1 or personalized-learning program, whatever it is, there has to be ample time devoted to the ‘why’ you are doing it and making sure that all of your constituents and stakeholders are actively involved in that process and building their understanding,” he said. “Because if you just throw it at them without any training or support or clear understanding of the ‘why,’ that’s when you are going to start seeing the pushback.”

—Kevin Bushweller
Executive Project Editor

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A version of this article appeared in the April 18, 2018 edition of Education Week as Pressure Points for Principals

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