Who Should Lead?

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Finding principals and superintendents who will transform America’s schools

By Education Next

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Fall 2003 / Vol. 3, No. 4

Most states require that school principals and superintendents be licensed. To earn a license, they must take courses in administration at a college of education. Are these rules really necessary?

Clearly, nothing is more critical to a school’s success than the ability of the principal

to establish a sense of mission, set goals, and motivate staff and students toward meeting them. Yet many schools today suffer from leaders who lack the skills and energy to meet today’s challenges.

Is the problem due, in part, to the very rules once designed to give us effective school leaders? What kind of training is needed today?

In the forum that follows:

Frederick M. Hess in “Lifting the Barrier” calls for the abolition of licensure

Marc Tucker in “Out with the Old” designs new training regimen for principals

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Broad Foundation in “The Power to Perform” profiles a few good leaders

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