Over the last few weeks, there have been a number of articles published on the issue of “highly qualified” or “highly effective” principals, including a December 12 article (“Policy Focus Turning to Principal Quality”) in Education Week. NAESP opposes the establishment of a federal definition of a “highly qualified” or “highly effective” principal (or any similar definition). Listing criteria in federal law would, we believe, lead to judging principal quality fully or in large part on the basis of test scores. The best way for the federal government to help create and maintain excellent principals is to require states and districts to provide principals with high-quality ongoing professional development, beginning with mentoring in the early years and lasting throughout a principal’s career, and to provide funds to help states in that work.

NAESP supports the authorization of funds for an independently designed and implemented program of voluntary national certification for principals. We believe the model of the board certification program for teachers established by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an excellent one, and would like for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to create and implement it.

NAESP’s ESEA reauthorization recommendations detail what the Association believes should be changed to make ESEA more effective and less punitive on the nation’s schools, including ensuring that schools are well-staffed by well-qualified professionals.

re: NAESP’s Position on “Highly Qualified” Principals

I think that principals should have to be "highly qualified" in the sense they are talking about. NCLB has really jump started education, and made everyone take a closer look at education in our country. I believe it is very important for the leaders of our schools to be highly qualified, as it sets a positive model for new teachers and keeps the seasoned teachers aiming high. Too often I see principals not knowing what is going on in their own building. I have also seen principals not aware of new trends in education. I would agree with the blog and say that test scores don't make a qualified teacher or principal. The ongoing professional development and shared vision is what really keeps our educators qualified professionals .