New report provides hints on how to improve a school district's staff

Far too often, educational policymakers have high demands and expectations for students but roll the dice on the skills and competence of instructors and school administrators. While we might like to believe that charter schools rarely, if ever, sin like this, the fact of the matter is that they falter the most, according to a new report by the Center on Reinventing Public Education.

The report, entitled Closing the Skill Gap: New Options for Charter School Leadership Development, surveyed principals and superintendents and recorded their observations and complaints, particularly that they were unprepared for a whole host of modern problems such as educating with wide variations in grade readiness, dealing with disgruntled parents-or with seemingly impenetrable bureaucracies-or adapting to increased testing and accountability in schools.

The solution, the authors argue, is to make a strategic change in recruitment and to really go after high-caliber people to become educators and administrators. Just as important are high-quality training and support. Underlying all this is communication. Top officials and trainers need to be aware of the needs of charter-school leaders and be willing to adapt and respond to those needs.

Ultimately, authors Christine Campbell and Brock J. Grubb allow readers a clear understanding of the processes in which educators become prepared to enter America's schools, but also serve up a sobering evaluation of just how much more work needs to be done to ensure success for all students. Read the full report here.

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