The first initiative of the George W. Bush Institute will focus on improving the performance of school principals, reports the Associated Press. “We know the teachers have a direct and enormous impact on student performance—and school principals shape the environment in which teachers are able to operate successfully,” former first lady Laura Bush told a group assembled at a Dallas high school for the announcement. The institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership, or AREL, will consist of school districts, universities, and foundations offering educational programs to current and future school leaders, Bush said. “A well-trained, energetic teacher can be stifled under lackluster or discouraging administrators,” said Bush, a former school teacher. The Bush Institute hopes to certify at least half the nation’s public school principals by 2020. James W. Guthrie, senior fellow and director of education policy studies at the institute, said those who participate will be better trained on how to manage schools. He said school districts in the alliance must expand the roles of principals to make them more like chief executives. So far, organizations in six cities are participating, including school districts in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano, Texas; Marian University in Indianapolis; the business schools at Saint Louis University in Missouri and the University of Denver; and SMU’s school of education in Dallas…

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