- Districts Tying Principal Reviews to Test Scores
- Survey Finds Rising Job Frustration Among Principals
These two headlines, both from Education Week, crossed my desk today. It was a poignant and instructive juxtaposition. I spent years studying (and experiencing) teacher burnout. I found that lack of control (perceived, anyway) was closely associated with burnout. The current research cited lack or control as a key factor in principal frustration.
After 15 years as a teacher, I became a principal. “Wow,” I thought, “now I’ve got the power to make things happen.”
No and yes. I found that despite my new, elevated position, I had far less power than I thought I would have. Principal’s can dictate, surely; that doesn’t mean anyone has to abide by the dictates. A principal’s real power comes from sharing it, from persuasion, from setting an example, from inspiring people.
It doesn’t surprise me that today’s principals are feeling frustrated; given the context in which they work, why wouldn’t they be?
Assuming that it makes sense to run education as though it were a business—a debatable assumption—then of course we need a metric for the bottom line. Test scores alone, however, are a poor surrogate for net profit.