Monday, June 15, 2009

There Is A Growing Problem Trying To Find Highly Qualified Principals To Make Our School Houses Rock

There is a growing problem in our community, state, and country with finding highly qualified principals to make our school houses rock. Today's schools are changing and are transforming due to demands from various pressures from parents, business leaders, community leaders, politicians, and due to increasing pressures for vouchers for private education. Due to the changes, Georgia has changed it route to becoming certified for leadership. It is much more difficult to become certified in educational leadership.

I recently was accepted in an educational doctoral program in leadership and plan on starting in July but currently I have no intent of ever becoming a principal or assistant principal. You may wonder then why would I continue my education in leadership. I want to teach in college in the future and need this degree to do so. I also would be interested in working at the state department in the area of special education or at a county office in special education administration. I recently found out that even if I receive a doctoral degree this does not mean that I will be able to be certified in educational leadership by getting a degree and by passing a written test. Things have definitely changed in the last few years to meet the needs of the changing demands on our educational leaders.

I am aware of what a difficult job it is to be an administrator. I see many bloggers on this site indicating that administrators in the DeKalb County School System make too much money. In my opinion, school principals make every penny they earn and good principals deserve a great deal more than we could ever afford to pay them. They are constantly going back to school for in-services, additional degrees, and to update knowledge on current trends in education and school today is extremely expensive. They are under a great deal of stress also today to make AYP each year. They are like CEOs of big companies, and they affect many young lives, and we need to consider increasing the principals’ salaries in DeKalb County Schools to be able to provide our children with the best principals in the state. We need the means to recruit the best in the state and nation to come and be principals in Dekalb County and this may take paying them a better salary than they can make in other county school districts in Georgia or in other states. A $10,000 bonus yearly is reasonable if the principal gets results. Look at the salaries and bonuses of CEOs throughout our country.

The first job of all principals of the 21st century must be as leaders for learning to occur. The rules have changed over the last decade. Principals are not just middle management position loaded with responsibilities for basic building responsibilities, but also must be knowledgeable in most academic content and all old and new pedagogical techniques. The principal must know how to collect, analyze and use date in ways to improve student achievement. The principal must be a cheerleader and coach, advocate and teacher to rally parents, students, teachers, and community leaders toward the goal of improving student achievement. Principals must focus on strengthening teaching and learning, professional development, data-driven decision-making and accountability for the decisions that they do make and do not make.

The principals of the 21st century also must be community leaders by manifesting in a big picture of their schools role in society and in the community. The principals must work with community partners and residents. The principal must have close relationships with parents, students, teachers, assistant principals, other county school board personnel and many others in the community. The principal must advocate for school resources to meet the needs of all of his/her students in their school.

The principals of the 21st century also must be visionary leaders that can demonstrate energy, commitment, entrepreneurial spirit, values and conviction that all children will learn at high levels, as well as being able to inspire others with this vision both inside and outside the school building. The principal must get the involvement of parents and the community in order to maximize the ability of the school to reach the result of student achievement each year. This requires that many weeks they work 80 hours per week attending meetings, football games, soccer games, PTA meetings, and many community meetings.

Research indicates that by the year 2010 it is going to become more difficult than it is now to find qualified principals. This may be the reason that Dr. Lewis has some qualified candidates coming out of retirement. For several years, principals could draw from retirement and receive a salary also, which was a great incentive for them to come out of retirement, but I believe there are many strings attached to this and I believe that this year may have been the last year to do this. Please check and let me know if I am right or wrong on this issue. If I am wrong and principals can draw retirement in Georgia and be a principal then this would be a great incentive to come out of retirement and would benefit many students across the state of Georgia.

Research indicates that the problem with finding qualified principals is:
· The Pay (the compensation was too low considering the responsibilities)
· The Stress
· The lack of resources for rising expectations
· Having to address all the problems of society
· Demanding parents
· Overbearing district leaders
· Eighty-hour work-weeks
· Uneven quality of teachers
· The professions low status and poor image
· Responsibility for raising student achievement
· New pressures currently put on principals and the poor preparations they have received from their colleges to manage

Do you feel it is becoming difficult to find qualified principals today to make our school houses rock? Do you feel the quality of principals today is as good as it was 10 years ago or do you feel that the demands on the principals have changed? Do you feel that principals make a reasonable salary with all the responsibilities that they have? Do you feel a bonus is reasonable if they do make yearly progress?


Anonymous said...

The pay is much lower in rural districts for principals, and in many other states. When it comes to DCSS, the salary is excellent and no excuse why good, solid, engaged principals can't be recruited.

Ella Smith said...

I agree the salaries are competitive for Ga. The problem according to the research is that many are not willing to take on the responsibility of being a principal with the pay.

In talking to many on committees to pick principals in the last few years they feel the quality of candidates is down. This is what I hear.

My husband is a CEO of a company and I know the stress and responsibilities he has. But I also know the responsibilities that a principal has. The salaries just do not compare and I do think this is very unfair.

I know educators do not go into education because of the money but I do feel that good principals salaries do not go hand in hand with their responsibilities.

By looking at the research the research indicates there is a problem. I knew this would be a hot issue regarding salaries so please bring on the comments. It is fine if the comments are negative. I understand where you are coming from. If I were not an educator and see the long hours, and the serious impact their decision makes on so many then I might feel differently.

Anonymous said...

I would not want to be a principal with their current responsibilities.

I think that they deserve the current salaries that they make and deserve bonuses if they bring up test scores in low performing schools.

Anonymous said...

Who would want to be a principal when the stakes are as high as they currently are and many schools in Dekalb County Schools currently are not meeting AYP?

Anonymous said...

If we were not paying so many high salaries to county administrators the county could afford to pay principals more. The county office has way too many administrators and something still needs to be done about that.