Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GOOD PRINCIPALS MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN HIGH-POVERTY SCHOOLS – Study: "Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity: The Case of School Principals"

From guest blogger Jaclyn Zubrzycki/Edited By Sarah D. Sparks | Education Week | http://bit.ly/w6S14T

February 28, 2012 11:37 AM :: How important is school leadership? Where are the most effective leaders, and how can we tell that they—and not circumstance—are responsible for their schools' success?

"Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity: The Case of School Principals," a new working paper from Gregory F. Branch of the University of Texas, Dallas, Eric A. Hanushek of Stanford University, and Steven G. Rivkin of Amherst College sets out to answer these and other questions about effective principals, using data on 7,429 principals from the University of Texas, Dallas's Texas Schools Project.

The report focuses in particular on principal transitions and on principals in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students, to test the argument, echoed in public debate on education, that leadership is "especially important in revitalizing failing schools."

Overall, the researchers find wide variation in principal quality. The variation is greater among schools with large concentrations of low-income students. The researchers found that high-quality principals—as determined by a value-added model that includes student achievement and school characteristics—had a large positive impact on their students' achievement:

"A principal in the top 16 percent of the quality distribution...will lead annually to student gains that are .05 standard deviations or more higher than average for all students in the school (emphasis is the authors')."

They also tended to be associated with teacher turnover in the lowest-performing grades in their schools—indicating, perhaps, that these principals are trying to replace low-performing teachers with more-effective ones.

The report finds that schools with a high number of low-income students are more likely to have first-year principals. First-year principals are also more likely to be present in schools with low achievement as measured by scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS).

An interesting note is that "the operation of the labor market...does not appear to screen out the least effective principals. Instead they frequently just move to different schools." The researchers call for a separate investigation into this issue, which brings to mind this recent Texas-to-D.C. principal transition.

Does this ring true? Where are the effective leaders in your district?


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Principals really do impact every aspect of schools operations. It requires an amazing dedication and formidable skills to be a positive , proactive school leader. I have worked with a fair, intelligent principal who supported teachers but had high expectations. No one worked harder than he did. Our school thrived. Even kids respected and admired this man. Apparently the woman he succeeded had been good if not as charismatic. Then he was moved to another school. He was one of those leaders tbe district uses to pull schools out of the PI status that is verging on disaster.
The difference between him and the jerk that followed is so profound. I believe a recent spike in youth centered shootings in our community are related to the principals ugly regn of terror at the HS. He's driven away the best teachers, intimidated the most teachers to hide and teach to the test. The bad teachers who are abusive, indifferent and lowly opportunists are his insulating cronies. Kids hate hypocrisy and the tension is dreadful.
They despise this principal and the attitudes he permeates. This guy has robbed them of field trips, incentives, our traditions, all events like art shows, festivals and perform abs suffer from his draconian impositions and the funding he steals for his inner circles Z time, snacking, extra wages, aabd costly gadgets like PDA, iPads and flat screen teevees ,we lost points on scores, the school is now dirty and dangerous as kids drop out or transfer to other schools. The communit is mourning a teenage couple shot down Sunday night. We suspect there was a gang related element, though neither victim is known to have gang ties.the streets have been one sad memorial after another this year. I don't believe this would be so severe if the school had teachers, priorities and funding for children not for this ugly little man's whims. Why the districtnletsnhim mistreat teachers, abuse power and resources and work without an adequate credential while ignoring complaints from staff and parents is a mystery. I just know he should answer for what he's done. I hope the next year is better, theat will mean he has to go. But even with out the burden of this personality disorder, the damage will take time to repair, not to mention a rare breed of administrator. Those are few and far between.