Public and Private School Principals in the United States: A Statistical Profile, 1987-88 to 1993-94 / Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Principals constitute a primary group in the school reform process, being both the agents of change by virtue of their roles as school managers and instructional leaders, and targets of change given their increased accountability for school outcomes. Small, descriptive studies have examined specific aspects of the reform process in relation to principals, and large studies have examined segments of the school administrator population in relation to specific topics. Little broad, policy-relevant research is available, however, to assess the impact of the reform movement on the principalship or to inform future policy initiatives.

The ' (NCES) Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) partially fills this void by providing descriptive information about the changing nature of the individuals who serve as principals in public and private schools, including their perceptions of challenges they face. The integrated structure of SASS enriches the information through the linkage between principal responses and contextual data collected from teachers, schools, and districts.

This report uses data from the 1987-88, 1990-91, and 1993-94 administrations of SASS to examine the principalship in the reform environment of the late 1980s and early 1990s. For each of those years, approximately 80,000 principals served in the nation's public schools and approximately 25,000 served in private schools. Following are some of the key findings:


Salary and Benefits

Education and Experience

Perceptions of Serious Problems

Other Findings

Other findings from the study show principals' goals for their schools; their perceptions of their influence in critical areas such as establishing curriculum, hiring new teachers, and setting discipline policy; and their career continuation plans.

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