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By the Numbers: Why Do Principals Matter?

October 21, 2016 by Brittney Bain

This week, the Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership released two related major studies: research on evaluating principal preparation programs and the Principal Talent Management Framework, a guidebook for school districts to get, support, and keep great principals.

So, why do principals matter?

  • A principal’s impact is even greater in high poverty schools. The impact on achievement can be even greater in schools serving disadvantaged students, according to the same article above, which means it’s even more crucial to attract and retain high-quality principals in schools where the need may be greatest.
  • Highly effective principals can increase student scores by up to 10 percentile points in just one year. Research strongly suggests that principals are key to improving a school’s performance.
  • 91% of teachers say leadership is key to improving student achievement. And effective principals recruit and retain effective teachers. Effective teachers – the most important in-school factor on a child’s educational success – tend to leave under ineffective principals, while poor quality instructors have been shown leave under high-quality school leadership.

While the research is clear on the impact principals can have, more rigorous research and information to guide schools and districts on how to prepare, recruit, support, and retain the most effective school leaders is needed -- which is why AREL’s release this week of the evaluation on principal preparation programs and the guidebook for districts is an important step.


Author

Brittney Bain
Brittney Bain

Brittney Bain serves as the Director of Communications for the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Prior to joining the Bush Center, she worked on Capitol Hill where she served most recently as deputy press secretary for the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary.  Bain interned in the White House Office of Communications during the George W. Bush Administration.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and her master’s degree from The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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