Hiring good principals is one of the most important things a district can do for its students, second only to hiring good teachers. Students whose schools participated in a principal pipeline initiative outperformed their peers by six percentage points on reading tests and nearly three points in math.
Districts that try to place an effective leader in every school could reap educational benefits in the classroom. Giving a teacher a good boss also could be a powerful element in a broader strategy to recruit and retain highly effective educators.
In the often-fraught debate over education policy, there is growing agreement that educators should pay close attention to the development of the social and emotional skills that allow students to persevere when working on difficult tasks, regulate emotions, and work effectively in teams. But measuring such skills remains a significant challenge.
Many schools are looking to close the disadvantage gap in their communities, but they need more evidence about what actually works. Research that helps policymakers and practitioners understand how early years interventions can promote equity and close the disadvantage gap is needed.
Personalized learning could lead to improved student outcomes. But those implementing this approach should temper their expectations for how big these benefits will be—and be patient while the benefits emerge. It's also important to consider the challenges of implementation.
The Every Student Succeeds Act takes effect this fall, returning significant power to states and local districts to set goals and prescribe strategies to lift achievement. As schools finalize their plans under the new law, they can learn from the shortcomings of School Improvement Grants.
While educators, policymakers, and parents may agree on the need for more effective teachers, they often use different criteria to judge whether schools are doing their job. Parents have varied priorities for what they want in teachers and in schools.
Students in personalized learning classrooms made greater gains in math and reading than their peers in other schools. But there are barriers to fully personalized learning, including rigid state standards and time demands on teachers.
Until recently, little was known about how much support principals in the United States receive to be effective “instructional leaders.” A national survey shows that mentors and supervisors do provide feedback focused on principals' role in teaching and learning, but the amount varies.
Pittsburgh Public Schools can reach new levels of excellence if its leadership boldly and wisely chooses initiatives that will serve all children and if it uses data to decide which initiatives should continue.
Criticism of standardized testing is nearly as old as the testing itself. Will the opt-out movement promote meaningful and enduring changes in the educational system, and will these changes benefit the most at-risk and disadvantaged students?
There is evidence that having strong school leaders is instrumental for improving the quality of teaching. But resource constraints and pressure to spend money directly on students have left interventions focused on principals largely overlooked. However, the new Every Student Succeeds Act may be changing the script.
With the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, Congress is broadening what it considers success when it comes to judging school quality. One potential new indicator being discussed in some states is social and emotional learning, which has been linked to success later in life.