Dec 22, 2009
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Improving the nation's public schools is one of the highest priorities of federal, state, and local government in America. Recent research has shown that the quality of the principal is, among school-based factors, second only to the quality of the teacher in contributing to what students learn in the classroom. New programs to develop school leaders who can exercise vigilance over instruction and support effective teaching practices are not likely to succeed, however, if they are inconsistent with other state and district policies affecting school leadership. The Wallace Foundation, which focuses its grantmaking in education primarily on school leadership, has posited that well-coordinated policies and initiatives to develop leadership standards, provide high-quality training, and improve the conditions that affect principals' work will increase their ability to improve instruction in their schools. This study documents the actions taken by the Foundation's grantees to create a more cohesive set of policies and initiatives to improve instructional leadership in schools; describes how states and districts have worked together to forge such policies and initiatives around school leadership; and examines the hypothesis that more-cohesive systems do in fact improve school leadership. The study found that it is possible to build more-cohesive leadership systems and that such efforts appear to be a promising approach to developing school leaders engaged in improving instruction. Although the study did not find evidence that the full underlying theory behind this initiative is sound, it did find a correlation between improved conditions for principals and their engagement in instructional practices.
Data Sources and Analytic Approach
Policies and Initiatives Taken to Improve Leadership
Variations in State and District Roles in Improving School Leadership
Building Cohesion Across Policies and Initiatives
Effective Strategies for System-Building
Prospects for Sustainability
Support for the CLS Hypothesis
Background Information on Study States and Districts
Indicators of Leadership Policy Initiatives, Factors of Cohesion, Conditions, and Effective Leadership Practices
Principal Survey Technical Notes
Principal End-of-Day-Log Technical Notes
Index Construction for the Analyses in Chapter Eight
Methodology and Elaborated Results for Analyses in Chapter Eight