Learning to Lead: What Gets Taught in Principal Preparation Programs

Michael Connolly

Frederick M. Hess, Andrew P. Kelly, Harvard University Program in Education Policy and Governance
May 2005Textbook Leadership? An Analysis of Leading Books Used in Principal Preparation
Frederick M. Hess, Andrew P. Kelly, Harvard University Program in Education Policy and Governance
May 2005

Two reports by Rick Hess and Andrew Kelly conclude that principals are not being taught the skills necessary to run 21st century schools. In "Learning to Lead?" the authors analyze a variety of prominent principal training programs and find that little attention is paid to results-oriented methods, such as using data to improve student achievement and measure teacher quality. They note, "Principals receive limited training in the use of data, research, technology, the hiring or termination of personnel, or evaluating personnel . . . [and] little exposure to important management scholarship or sophisticated inquiry on educational productivity and governance."  In "Textbook Leadership," the authors examine eleven of the most frequently assigned education administration texts and find that accountability, data collection and analysis rarely appear. These texts tend to support using data as an information tool, but not as a guide to making difficult decisions, such as the hiring and firing of teachers. The authors insist that principals must learn "tough-minded management." Great analyses and worthy additions to the ed school debate. You can check them out on the web here.

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