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General News    H3'ed 4/2/09

Education Leadership In California

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An important new research brief by The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning examines  education leadership in California.

 Strengthening California’s System for Preparing and Supporting Principals: Lessons from Exemplary Programs, describes the major challenges facing the education leadership workforce, reviews existing data about California principals, provides an overview of the state’s current principal development efforts, and draws upon what is known about promising programs in other states that can inform improvement of California’s education leadership system. The research brief is based on a 2007 study conducted by Linda Darling- Hammond and Stelios Orphanos, Leadership Development in California, and augmented with an overview of California school administrators prepared by SRI International.

 As school leaders confront grim budget realities, the new brief provides important insights into the California’s education leadership workforce and the implications for educators and policymakers.

 The brief makes clear that despite increasing demands for performance, principals in California generally have not received the necessary support, preparation, mentoring or professional development they need. California’s principals also report spending less time on key instructional leadership functions, and appear to be more discouraged than principals elsewhere. Long hours, increasing demands and low compensation are increasing retirements and job turnover. Only 48% of California principals say they plan to stay in their jobs until retirement, compared to 67% nationally, and only 22% of California’s secondary school principals plan to do so.


The brief also identifies exemplary practices for preparing and supporting principals for consideration by the state’s policymakers.  These include pre-service programs and assessment, mentorship and other supports, and structures for high quality professional development.


Strengthening California’s System for Preparing and Supporting Principals: Examples from Exemplary Programs is available on the Centers’ website – www.cftl.org



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John McDonald is a writer and consultant in Los Angeles.
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