Monday, April 9, 2007

Principal Realities

I ran across two interesting sets of data on the principalship today. Both reflect the difficulties of the profession and echo some of the same concerns our members have expressed.

The first finding comes from the Educational Research Service (ERS), which released its 2006-07 salary survey today. On the whole, the ERS found that principals and assistant principals are taking home 11.9 percent more in salary than they did five years ago, but that increase fails to keep up with the cost of living, which rose 13.8 percent during those same five years. Tables for elementary, middle and high school comparisons are all available on the NASSP Web site, as well as the full release about the study.

The second piece is a story I came across in the April/May issue of Edutopia, "Where have all the principals gone?" (pg. 48). Writer Jimmy Guterman explores why superintendents are struggling all over the country to find good leaders for this crucial school post. In his findings, Guterman cites an NAESP survey teachers' reasons for staying in the classroom rather than pursuing the principalship. Of note: 58 percent said the compensation was insufficient for the responsibilities of the job. Time (25 percent) and stress (23 percent) were also considerations.

What can be done to help principals lead more balanced lives? What sort of compensation models would you like to see? Should there be a National Board Certification compensation program for principals, like we have for teachers?

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