On principal training, are colleges failing secondary ed?
- In a recent survey conducted by the School Superintendent's Association, 80% of more than 400 responding secondary system leaders indicated that education and training programs for aspiring principals are in need of significant overhaul. Their sentiment is part of a growing movement among education advocates suggesting that colleges do a better job of training school leaders to adapt to 21st century needs in leadership and education compliance.
- Program are lacking insight on what some of the daily rigor of the job entail, including how to help shape attitudes about education among students and teachers and serve as a primary point of contact in the community and for system leadership.
- Only 17 states use at least three of five desired selectivity metrics for principal training curricula, which include a rigorous selection process, state oversight, field experience, partnerships between districts and local universities and a required number of years in the classroom.
It is very easy for observers to blame workforce development or experience lapses on higher education, especially considering that innovations used in higher education to engage students are not taught in their same teacher and principal training programs. The goal for provosts and presidents is to make sure that the needs of the workforce of the surrounding community are first met, and that they match what their culture requires, instead of trying to make the culture fit into pedagogical norms.
Schools of education should have a presence in school board meetings, in teacher and principal training sessions, and in student engagement efforts. This is how institutions can glean a better understanding of the conditions under which teaching and learning is done, and how it impacts leadership of these schools.