These 3 policy areas could help principals become more effective

New report details how state policymakers can help strengthen, support principals

principals-policyWhile school principals are often low priorities on state education policy agendas, a handful of states have taken steps to strengthen the role principals play in schools, according to a new report commissioned by the Wallace Foundation.

After analyzing how principals are supported and prioritized in a number of states, Paul Manna, professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary and the report’s author, suggests that those states’ actions focus on three areas in policymaking.

1. State leaders can move principals higher on policy agendas. Teachers typically have the larger share of agendas and professional development investments, according to the report. But when principals are elevated in state policy agendas, it can strengthen other state education efforts. “Numerous state education policy initiatives developed during the last two decades depend heavily on excellent principals for their success,” the report notes.

2. State leaders can use six possible policy levers. The report identifies six policy levers potentially available to state leaders, including adopting principal leadership standards, altering incentives to draw the best potential principals into the profession, approving and overseeing principal preparation programs, connecting state licensing requirements to principals’ real-world job requirements, better allocating resources to support principals’ professional development, and seeking effective principal evaluation techniques.

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