This purpose of this study is to investigate the existence and extent of significantly different subgroups of teacher and leader responses to the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning survey. This survey is a formative assessment of school leadership developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison employing the principles of distributed leadership and current research on leadership activities that promote student learning.
This article summarizes a set of research studies that focus on high school course offerings, takings, and effects. Courses, being the gateway to higher student performance and access to college, have been used as a policy lever to increase the rigor of students’ high school experiences.
This study examines the effects of metropolitan school district fragmentation―the proliferation of public school districts within a metropolitan area―on the trajectory of racial/ethnic school segregation between 2002 and 2010.
This article applies fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to high school administrative and survey data to examine the relationship of school leadership and mediating organizational supports with students’ classroom participation. The study uses a configurational approach to examine combinations of supports that are associated with the varying levels of the outcome.
This study captures the background characteristics of HBCU leaders in order to lay the groundwork for future studies on HBCU presidents. It also seeks to understand the role these leaders play in grooming and mentoring the next generation of HBCU leaders.
Comprehensive, multi-year mass fundraising campaigns in American higher education began with the Harvard Endowment Fund (HEF) drive, which extended from 1915 to 1925. Based on the first thorough study of the archival records, this essay reveals that the campaign established novel features of university fundraising through contentious negotiations among conflicting groups, prompted the university administration to centralize and control alumni affairs and development efforts for the first time, and, above all, introduced today’s ubiquitous episodic pattern of continuous fundraising, in which mass comprehensive campaigns alternate with discrete solicitations of wealthy donors, whose dominant roles have never changed.
This paper explores to what extent central office administrators lead meetings of principal professional learning communities in ways that promise to strengthen principals’ development as instructional leaders and the conditions that help or hinder administrators in the process.
This article examines the relationship between district-focused education organizing efforts and parent-school relations in schools. Using a mixed-methods approach, the study found that schools with high organizing had more structural social capital than schools with little or no organizing, but limited teacher-parent trust in those schools highlighted tensions between dominant institutional scripts about the role of parents and organizing efforts to build more collaborative relationships in pursuit of educational equity.
This study offers insights into how 25 principals from public, private, and Catholic schools with varying levels of financial resources (i.e., high, medium, and low) renew themselves and prevent burnout, crucial for 21st-century school leaders.
This article examines how principal effectiveness and other determinants of teachers’ work environments explain teacher satisfaction and turnover. Using national data, it finds that effective principals have an even greater impact on teacher outcomes in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students than in other schools, suggesting that policies focused on getting the best principals into the most challenging school environments may be effective strategies for lowering perpetually high teacher turnover rates in those schools.
This article examines gendered patterns of decision making by school board members. The article primarily focuses on power, gender, and vocal space/influence at the school board table.
This article examines the socialization rites that newly appointed secondary school vice-principals experienced as they negotiated the passage between teaching and administration.
This introduction to the special issue lays out a framework for the articles to follow by outlining the ways in which the governance structures of education—from national authorities that set federal policy, down to individual schools and administrative practices—shape the opportunities open to children of immigrants. The authors outline some of the main features of educational governance and discuss their relevance to the education of immigrants. It concludes with an overview of the articles in the issue.
The role of relationships in mediating immigrant newcomers’ academic engagement and performance is examined using a mixed-methods approach.
In this article, we determine whether the greater presence of Latinos on school boards in California is related to greater representation of coethnics among educational administrators and teachers. We then examine if there is any relationship between greater representation in the educational bureaucracy, and more favorable educational outcomes for Latino students.
This article establishes a set of design principles and implementation strategies for rebuilding educational leadership preparation programs. The rebuilding framework is grounded in analyses of 54 university-based preparation programs, and scholarship and reform work on school leadership preparation over the last quarter century.
This article examines school-based professional inquiry communities known as Critical Friends Groups, analyzing how four design features—their diverse menu of activities, their decentralized structure, their interdisciplinary membership, and their reliance on structured conversation tools called “protocols”—influence the capacity of these groups to pursue whole-school reform and instructional improvement.
This piece is a philosophical/theoretical inquiry into current educational strategies aimed at eradicating bullying within schools, set against the backdrop of a sixth-grade bullying encounter. This article, broadening current understanding and response to bullying, is focused toward fostering more nuanced and effective anti-bullying strategies.
Educational leaders have always had “data” of some kind available to them when making decisions. Gathering whatever information they could readily access, and drawing on accumulated experience, intuition, and political acumen, leaders have pursued what they viewed as the wisest courses of action. However, in many cases, the data drawn into the decision-making process was unsystematically gathered, incomplete, or insufficiently nuanced to carry the weight of important decisions.
School districts occupy a special place in the American educational system. They are the locus of accountability to both local and state government. In recent decades, this has meant that they have a responsibility to mobilize evidence to demonstrate that students are being educated (often in a cost-effective manner). As districts grow beyond a certain size, they take on certain staff functions related to curriculum and the support of teaching, so they house experts who use evidence about student achievement to make decisions. Finally, their staff roles often extend to collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and distributing data, especially student assessment or testing data.
The study examines the content of instruction at a stratified sample of the nation’s principal-preparation programs. The findings suggest that these programs pay limited attention to considerations of accountability, aggressive personnel management, or the broader body of thinking on leadership.
The institutional landscape of K–12 educational contracting is fundamentally changing. Based on industry and district data, this study identifies three distinct shifts in the content and structure of interactions between suppliers of instructional goods and local school systems.
Through a grounded theory analysis and comparison with relevant adult learning and leadership development theories, this article argues that structured advanced leadership development experiences could improve superintendents’ leadership development and transition.
To be proactive and to broaden our leadership agenda, we must
recognize that the first and foremost mission of the public schools is
their civic mission. In these times of making education the foremost
instrument of the global economy while making public schools the
scapegoat for society’s lack of will to tackle the messy issues of race and
class, that mission has gotten lost. What would it take to recapture the
deepest reasons we have public schools? What would it take to confront
the issues of how we keep children whole and how we address the needs
of the whole child in an era in which children are being sliced and diced
into categories on standardized tests? What is the role of local districts,
of local control, when state and federal bureaucracies are making the
decisions and calling the dance? What are the implications of all this
for education and for democracy?
We, the editors of this volume, are both long-time superintendents
of schools who have lived and enacted the role in recent years. Phil
Townsend is a fictional character, but his story is typical of what we
have heard from far too many of our colleagues across the country. We
empathize with those like Phil and agree that what it means to be the
leader of a local school system has changed dramatically and continues
to change in response to the changing times and contexts.
We intend this volume to provide hope that despite the daunting
challenges educational leaders like Phil face today, they have more to
look forward to than retirement.
One of the findings that we found fascinating was the variety of sources of energy and the courage that kept our authors going when confronted with obstacles that might be insurmountable to many. As you read Beverly Hall’s story, you will feel the passion that she brings to her superintendency, passion that is fueled by her beliefs—belief in poor children’s ability to learn at high levels and belief in her staff that they can make it happen.
In one of our conversations with Allan Alson, he shared his belief that superintendents need to be politicians before they can be educators. His story illustrates that political and educational leadership are inextricably linked, as he describes his 14-year focus on and commitment to narrowing the achievement gap while working tirelessly with his different constituents to bring them into the process.
Hearing from our different authors clarified for us that leadership styles are a combination of tacit beliefs, experience, and personal qualities as much as conscious decisions about approaches to work, and are as varied as people are. What emerges as a common factor contributing to success is authenticity—consistency of words with actions—that enables the development of trusting relationships. Larry Leverett tells his story of one leader with one leadership style who moves between two different school districts with very different cultures.
Superintendents often mourn the “good old days” when they were educators and did not need to worry about the managerial and political aspects of their districts. Linda Hanson shows how effective a superintendent can be in the role of educator as she and her reading staff help their school board understand the implications of a mandatory graduation test.
Most of us at some point in our career have to face the fact that we cannot control everything that happens in our district. As we mentioned in our introduction, we learn that even logical plans implemented skillfully can meet unexpected, uncontrollable obstacles. This can have serious consequences, from the lack of achievement for students to the loss of our jobs. Our anonymous contributor shares his courageous story of holding fast to what is best for children in the face of adversity, and ultimately having to make the decision whether to fight for his job or not. NSSE has never published an anonymous contribution before, but we agreed that “Juan’s” story was too valuable not to share.