What Principals Are Saying

Annie TeichEach year for the past four years, MCH Data has polled K-12 principals on the issues that most concern them. Principals this year are more optimistic than they have been in the past, in part, because their teachers’ morale has improved.

However, there are still many issues of concern. Principals continue to feel challenged by inadequate funding, insufficient student readiness, and the implementation of the Common Core Standards. But principals are also appreciative of their teachers’ efforts to navigate continual change and invest in their personal professional development.

Other key findings from this year’s survey include:

Common Core

  • 5% of respondents are in districts that have adopted the Common Core.
  • 4% of the principals report that the transition has already occurred.
  • 3% responded that the implementation is ongoing.
  • 3% said they are still in the planning stages.
  • 9% report less concern with the implementation than last year.
  • 3% maintain they feel the same amount of concern as last year.
  • 8% report an increase in concern.

Technology

  • 8% of principals report that Common Core is driving their technology purchases.
  • 6% are increasing bandwidth and acquiring mobile devices.
  • 6% of respondents reported that they have sufficient bandwidth for online testing.
  • 8% said they do not have sufficient bandwidth.
  • 6% are not sure how they will meet the testing requirements.
  • 4% of teachers are accessing online collaboration and professional tools.

Funding

  • 8% of principals say that funding is not any better this year.
  • 2% reported that their funding situation had improved compared to last year.
  • 3% are not expecting improvement next year.
  • 7% are more optimistic.

Other Critical Issues

The general lack of resources for teachers and staff, technology, professional development, or limitations of the curriculum are noted in multiple places in this year’s survey.

4th Annual Principals Assessment of Public EducationFor the second year in a row, the top two critical concerns for principals are academic achievement and assessments. The amount of attention given to preparing for, taking, and then analyzing test results is a concern to principals. There is controversy about the role and value of standardized tests that is shared by principals, teachers, and parents.

Teacher evaluations tied to standardized test results is a major concern for many educators. Academic achievement is affected by language barriers, family poverty, and instructional deficits outside teachers’ control. These factors influence a student’s readiness for learning. Some states are postponing the inclusion of standardized test results as part of a teacher’s evaluation until its impact can be understood more fully.

The complete annual report can be downloaded here. This free report is made available each year to help educational marketers hear directly from principals about their greatest challenges and concerns. Managing change in standards, instruction, curriculum, and evaluations without losing experienced educators is a primary focus for principals this year.