Report questions principals' track record
The group Advocates for Children and Youth releases a report today on the credentials of 48 principals appointed to challenging Baltimore schools in the first year of the Alonso administration, from July 2007 to August 2008.
ACY looked at how many of those principals served previously as a principal for two years or more at the same school. Of the 48, guess how many had?
For those seven principals, ACY then looked at the academic records of their prior schools to see if test scores had improved by 5 percentage points or more than the state average. Three met the criteria there.
And so, the report concludes: "3 out of 48 newly appointed BCPSS principals had a track record of success in turning around a struggling school." (It doesn't say who the three are.)
The appointments come, of course, as Dr. Alonso is giving principals far more responsibility. ACY doesn't appear to be a fan of that strategy. The report says that "the best principals thrive when left alone, while other principals drown in a sea of too many choices and too many responsibilities for which they had inadequate training or support."
Is that true? We don't know yet. It's too soon to tell how the new principals are doing. Many of them do have experience as assistant principals and intern principals through the New Leaders for New Schools program.
But if it's true that "proven principals" are better, how to attract more of them? The report suggests financial incentives. It mentions Gov. O'Malley's campaign promise to give $200,000 bonuses to excellent school leaders willing to take on the toughest assignments. What about that? I guess it went down the drain along with the economy. It's hard to imagine it getting off the ground anytime soon.