One-Size-Fits-All Leadership Training Serves Neither Principals Nor Schools Well
New research argues that a “one-size-fits-all” posture toward leadership training or methods and styles of school leadership serves neither principals nor schools well.
New research from the Center on Reinventing Public Education, commissioned by The Wallace Foundation, argues that a “one-size-fits-all” posture toward leadership training or methods and styles of school leadership serves neither principals nor schools well. In this new report, researchers argue that different schools have different leadership needs, and that policy and practice need to support a variety of leadership models.
Too often, school districts and colleges of education treat principals as interchangeable cogs in the education machine. Every principal gets the same training; every principal attends the same workshops. And when districts move a “hero” principal from one hard case to another, they treat leadership success as interchangeable too, assuming that the leader who thrived in one school will automatically be successful in another. In either case, school leadership is treated as a uniform proposition.
Given that not every school needs the same kind of leadership, colleges of education and districts can’t rely on a single path of preparation and development for leaders, and districts that treat leaders as interchangeable are likely to pay a price in ineffective schooling. Instead, the researchers conclude:
- districts need to assign principals to schools that can make best use of their particular leadership skills and style;
- principals need to be given the authority they need to meet their responsibilities;
- states and districts need to widen the pool of candidates for school leadership to include leaders from other organizations, and
- schools of education need to redesign their curricula to better suit the variety of realities of the workplace.
Visit the Center on Revinventing Public Education for press release.