Public Agenda Survey: School Leaders Speak Out

December 15, 2001

Public Agenda Survey: School Leaders Speak Out

Superintendents and principals nationwide believe that good leadership can turn around even the most troubled schools, but politics and bureaucracy too often stand in the way, according to a new report by Public Agenda, the New York City-based public opinion research and citizen education organization. The report, commissioned by the Wallace Funds as part of the LEADERS Count initiative, is the first of three that will be conducted through 2003 to track the attitudes of a national sample of education leaders about the demands of their careers.

Among highlights:

  • School leaders overwhelmingly agree that finding a talented principal is the first step in turning around a low-performing school. But large majorities also say they need more ability to reward good teachers and fire ineffective ones.
  • More than half of superintendents surveyed say they have to work around the system to accomplish things; one in ten say the system actually ties their hands.
  • More than half of principals surveyed say that in their districts even good administrators are so overwhelmed by day-to-day management demands that their ability to provide vision and leadership is stymied.

To obtain the report, Trying to Stay Ahead of the Game: Superintendents and Principals Talk About Leadership, go to Public Agenda.