• Leadership Practices and School Choice
    Year: 2009

  • Abstract:
    This paper examines the role of principal leadership in the context of school choice reform. Choice schools provide a unique laboratory where variation in governance and management structure is predicted and therefore offer a context to study the empirical evidence regarding important theoretical assumptions on the effect of choice on school leadership practice. The researchers examine the results from principal surveys collected from charter, magnet, private and traditional public schools comparing leadership challenges and practices across school choice types, and exploring the influence of school governance structures on leadership practices. Preliminary analyses show that differences across school types in terms of challenges faced by principals, and their leadership practices, are small. However, there are noteworthy differences between charter schools that are affiliated with parent organizations and charters with no affiliation in terms of acquiring financial resources and the amount of time principals spend on instructional development. This paper broadens the understanding of school leadership in a choice environment by examining not only the association between leadership practices and school types, but also the influence of school management structures on instructional development beyond school type differences.

The NCSC is funded by a 5 year, $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Its lead institution is Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The center is housed on the campus of Peabody College, one of the nation's top graduate schools of education.