School Leadership Matters: Why Are So Many School Leaders Mediocre?
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Why is the quality of school leadership, to be polite, so mediocre? Everyone who visits schools on a regular basis comments on the lack of effective leadership – exceptional school leaders are hard to find.
The first question: Is this a new phenomenon, or, have principals always been mediocre? Let’s remember, we have had decades of low achieving schools. Scores of large high schools have been closed, high schools that were dropout factories, and, schools in which the powers that make policy seemed not to care. The lowest achieving schools were staffed with the substitutes, called PPT’s (Provisional Preparatory Teachers), teachers who could not pass the required pre-service exams. There was an unofficial triage system: some schools were sacrificed so others could survive. The most effective teachers and principals found their way to the highest achieving schools. An (in)famous surreptitiously filmed video showed a principal boasting, “Just because I paid for my job…
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