Equity & Diversity

Women on Par With Men in Principalship, Says Report

By Debra Viadero — July 01, 2009 1 min read
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If you had to guess, would you say that most school principals are men or women? Judging by historical pattern, most people would say the answer is men. But a report released yesterday by the National Center for Education Statistics suggests that, when it comes to the principalship, women are now on par with men.

Looking at data for the 2007-08 school year, the report shows that 50 percent of public school principals and 53 percent of private school principals were female that year. That’s a sea change from 20 years earlier, when more than three quarters of all principals, both private and public, were male. But it caps a long-running trend of stair-step increases in the percentage of women who hold the job.

Some other statistical gems in this report:

  • Public school principals earn an average of $85,700 a year, compared to $57,500 for private school principals.
  • Among public school principals, 61 percent held a master’s degree; 29 percent held an education specialist or professional diploma; 1 percent held a bachelor’s degree and 8 percent held doctorates.
  • And, as has long been the case, an overwhelming majority of principals—81 percent—were white.

The statistical profile on principals was one of five reports that the NCES released yesterday. All the new reports draw on the latest round of data from the federal Schools and Staffing Survey, which targets a nationally representative sample of nearly 13,000 schools. The other four reports focus on the statistical characteristics of: public school districts, secondary schools, school library media centers, and teachers. Check ‘em out.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.