Giving Compass’ Take:
• A new study in AERA Open finds trends in the principal pipeline revealing that female and black assistant principals were systematically delayed and denied promotions to principal, when compared with their male or white counterparts.
• How can school districts respond to inequalities within the hiring pipeline?
• Read about principal pipeline initiatives.
While America’s teacher workforce is slowly becoming more diverse, principals still tend to be white and male. Only 20 percent of all principals nationwide are nonwhite, and 48 percent are male — a startling overrepresentation relative to the 77 percent of teachers who are women. This means there is a distinct mismatch between the demography of school leaders and that of teachers, who comprise the largest pool of principal candidates. There are major inequalities within the country’s school leadership hierarchies.
Evidence from Texas describes how candidates with different characteristics experience the pathway to the principalship. Our new study in AERA Open looks specifically at the career trajectories of more than 4,000 assistant principals over the past 15 years. It examines the amount of experience candidates had, the types of schools in which they worked and how long it took each assistant principal to receive a promotion. The study follows individuals from their promotion to assistant principal, ensuring that all candidates were eligible for a principal promotion on the same timeline. These controls were included to ensure that all study subjects demonstrated similar aspirations to a principalship.
Despite equivalent qualifications and more experience on average, female and black assistant principals were systematically delayed and denied promotions to principal, when compared with their male or white counterparts. Public awareness and activism are essential to changing these patterns.
We found four trends in school leadership:
- Female and black candidates have to wait longer before being promoted to assistant principal
- If black assistant principals are promoted, they wait longer on average than white assistant principals
- Though women hold half of all high school assistant principalships in Texas, they are overwhelmingly more likely to be promoted to principal positions in elementary and middle schools
- Delayed and denied promotions have lifelong costs
Read the full article about principal pipeline by Sarah Guthery and Lauren P. Bailes at The 74.
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