Testing and Principals

Dave Murray | The Grand Rapids Press

Do principals need help evaluating teachers?
Michigan is one of several states planning to evaluate all teachers more often, and attaching great consequences for educators deemed not performing as well as they should

In a secondary school, leadership would seem to involve two very different managerial tasks. First, there is the principal as CEO, the public face of the school to its students, parents and community as well as the person who runs interference with the Board. And second there is the management of the academic operations. Are CEO and the COO the same? Sometimes, but often not. With the increased intensity of evaluations, it may make sense for high schools to develop a chief academic officer who undertakes these evaluations and oversees other aspects of the schools academic performance. The recommendations from the state thus probably mandate another layer of administrative costs.

Of course, that may be worth it. Other recent studies have highlighted the role of strong teachers, and the importance of feedback for educational success (see the recent NBER paper by Dobbie and Freyer. See also Suzy Khimm for more discussion and comments). This also suggests that graduate programs may eventually work to have two tracks of educational leadership, the academic officer and the building team leader.

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