Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Evaluation on outcomes should guide ESEA principal priorities
Press Release

RELEASE: Evaluation on outcomes should guide ESEA principal priorities

Today, the Center for American Progress released recommendations to strengthen the effectiveness of principals through the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA. “If we are going to ensure that all students receive a rigorous K-12 education, we must accurately evaluate principals based on their ability to improve schools, teaching, and outcomes for students,” said Cynthia Brown, vice president for education policy at CAP. “That is the smart and fair way to improve their skills and to hold them accountable for improving schools.”

The proposal would require all states receiving federal funds for the improvement of teacher and principal quality to create comprehensive principal evaluation systems. Principals would be evaluated in several ways including –

  • how much students achieve and grow in the principal’s school,
  • how well a principal recruits, supports, and retains effective teachers,
  • how a principal embodies standards of good school leadership, and
  • how a principal improves school conditions and culture such as attendance, discipline, or parent and student engagement.

With solid information in hand, districts and schools would then use evaluation data to improve the skills of principals and to make informed decisions about promoting, offering tenure to, or dismissing them. Further, to ensure evaluations are high quality states would be required to—

  • train and support the evaluators who rate principals,
  • adapt evaluations for principals working at different grade levels and in different types of schools,
  • provide data from evaluations to principals and the public in a timely manner, and
  • provide feedback to principal preparation programs on the effectiveness of their candidates so they can improve their programs.

"We strongly urge Congress to take up reauthorization of ESEA this year,” said Brown, “and to make improving principal effectiveness a key priority so that students and schools dramatically improve.”

To access the recommendations, click here.