The September/October 2010 issue of Principal magazine has been honored with a Gold Award in the TRENDS 2010 All-Media Contest, which recognizes the national association community’s top media products of 2010.
In September, the Department of Education proposed definitions of "effective" and "highly effective" principals—a scant 200 words that, if enacted, could be used to determine which districts and schools are eligible for federal discretionary education grants. NAESP strongly opposes the definitions, which represent another attempt to hold principals accountable for outcomes far behind their control.
More important, our members oppose them as well. In a survey the Association conducted in September, 70 percent of NAESP members say it is inappropriate to define principal effectiveness in significant measure as "at least one grade level in an academic year" of student growth. NAESP heard you loud and clear, and we expressed your opposition in a formal letter to the Department of Education focused on four concerns:
- The definitions diminish state and local authority to set criteria for evaluating principals;
- The fail to address the intricate nature of a principal's job;
- They do not adequately account for school circumstances; and
- They still rely too heavily on student standardized test scores.
There’s a concept being tested in districts around the country to open teacher-run schools. Instead of a building principal in charge of the intricacies of leading a school, the teachers work together to address instruction, budgets, discipline, and other traditional aspects of a principal’s job. Consequently, the My Two Cents question for the January/February issue of Principal is: What do you think are the risks of teacher-run schools?
The author of the Speaking Out article in the January/February issue of Principal feels conflicted about high-stakes testing because although NCLB requires it and principals are expected to use the resulting data to inform their decision-making, the process adds undue stress to students and the data from a single achievement test are not representative of a student’s abilities.
Should urban schools continue to fund gifted and talented programs? Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews thinks no. “Unfortunately public schools, including those in the suburbs, rarely have the resources or teaching expertise to challenge them much,” he writes.
“Education reform” is a concept educators are well familiar with and not ashamed to take on. In schools across the country, educators are continually assessing. They assess student progress. They assess curriculum and educational materials. They assess the validity and usefulness of data and tests. And, yes, they even assess their own successes and failures.
In response to ‘The Principal’s Dilemma’
By Barry Ferguson
Principal, South Lebanon Elementary
This blog post was written in response to The Principal’s Dilemma, an editorial published in The Huffington Post on November 8, 2010, and presented in NAESP’s news summary, Before the Bell. NAESP does not endorse the views expressed in articles that appear in Before the Bell, but instead offers its members a diversity of perspectives about education and the principalship as a means to enhance awareness.
This week, the Council of the Great City Schools released “A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools,” which reported that “young black males are in a state of crisis” because they consistently perform lower than their peers.