RE:  “The focus should be on quality teaching (part 3).”

In a recent guest opinion, Richard Brinkley said, “there is no evidence that traditional public education principal training in schools of education or principal licensure has any effect on principal performance.”  Neither however, is there any evidence that suggests that principal licensure does not have an effect on principal performance.  According to a Rand Corporation report, “it might be possible to measure student test score growth and attribute that to the quality of the principal, but countless confounding factors make this approach difficult on a practical level and of questionable validity on a theoretical level.”

There may currently be insufficient evidence of the impact certification has on administrator performance, but there is plenty of evidence regarding the certification impact success for teachers. Diane Ravitch, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and an education policy analyst, cites “a 2002 study that found students with certified teachers performed about 20 percent better on the tests than students with noncertified teachers (including Teach for America recruits.)  Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor of Education at Stanford University led a study of 4,400 teachers and 132,000 students in Houston and also concluded that certified teachers consistently produced significantly higher achievement than uncertified teachers.”

One could easily conclude then that certification of administrators would also be helpful to higher achievement.  As of 2010, 19 states (38 percent) required some type of professional endorsement that certifies employment according to school level or according to position type. Penny Pritzker, Chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund, wrote in BusinessWeek Online:  “Board certification exists in many professions.  Physicians, attorneys, and accountants all must meet rigorous standards.  Our school leaders must be measured against professional standards, too.  Our society must recognize and measure the full complexity of the school principal’s work.”  The standards for advance leader certification can help us compete in the global market by guiding intelligent investment in leadership strategies and policies.


(Editor’s Note: Linda Thomas is a member of the Oracle School Board.)

(2) comments


Well written and thoughtful piece on public education. The Oracle School Board is lucky to have you on their side.

Grant Winston

Ms. Thomas's column is a refreshing take on the real situation and value of our public education system. Instead of doing all possible to make public education fail, and then blaming teachers, the public education system, lack of mandatory prayer, etc, our government should be nurturing and promoting public schools that enrich all of us. Public education is one of the greatest accomplishments of this great nation, and it needs help, not a kick in the teeth. Ms Thomas understands this; she is an asset that should be appreciated. Lucky Oracle!

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