A Policymaker’s Guide to School Leadership

crpeWhether the goal is to enhance instruction, create a culture of excellence, or broaden education options for parents, it’s nearly impossible to improve schools without strong leaders. This is hardly news; much evidence has indicated the importance of effective principals for decades. Yet reform strategies have largely lacked a coherent plan to upgrade leadership, even though it’s clearly a fundamental piece of the school improvement puzzle. This neglect is likely unintentional. Many states simply don’t know how to strengthen their cadre of leaders.

This is understandable. Most of the action around school leadership happens at the local level, far from state capitals. It is, after all, districts (and charter schools) that recruit, select, and place school leaders, and develop their expertise (or not). It’s easy for state officials and advocacy groups to prioritize leadership. Knowing which policy levers to pull is a lot harder.

That’s where the School Leadership Policy Toolkit comes in. This online resource was designed to help policymakers and advocates focus on what makes a great principal-and how to get more of them in the schools that need them most.

Thomas B. Fordham Institute teamed up with the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) to produce the toolkit and recruited author Eric Lerum- an experienced education reform analyst and advocate-to generate the content.

The solutions presented in the School Leadership Policy Toolkit are organized around five key policy areas:

  • Pathways and Pipelines
  • Distributed Leadership
  • Autonomy and Empowerment
  • Principal Evaluation
  • Retention and Compensation  

What’s included in the School Leadership Policy Toolkit?

An overview of the importance of principals and how their roles and time should be structured.

The five policy sections, which include:

  • A brief review of the available research and findings you’ll need to understand the policy more fully, as well as potential barriers to reform.
  • An advocacy piece designed to communicate to policymakers and stakeholders why they should take action.
  • Model policy, if appropriate.
  • A list of available resources and experts for more information.

An illustration of how each of the five policy areas work together and interact with other state-level policy reforms.

A matrix detailing proposed state actions and policy recommendations for each policy area.

To see more visit: http://schoolleadershippolicytoolkit.com/