EDUCATION; Leadership Training

Article excerpt

Public school principals have some of the most demanding jobs in Jacksonville.

They can be found early in the morning, walkie-talkies in hand, helping direct students. Many of them don't even get to their offices till the students are gone. In struggling neighborhoods, the principals must rally the parents and grandparents, many of whom did not have the best experiences in school.

So where do principals get their training? A new study from Teachers College at Columbia University says most leadership training is subpar.

Many of these programs are engaged in a counterproductive "race to the bottom," in which they compete for students by lowering admission standards, watering down course work, and offering faster and less demanding degrees, said President Arthur Levine in a press release.

Part of a four-year study called The Education Schools Project, the study can't be dismissed. Levine calls most leadership training programs "glorified green stamps" that are used by teachers for raises and promotions. He cites low admission and graduation standards, weak faculty, inappropriate degrees and poor research.

But schools can't be faulted entirely, Levine said in the release. Low pay, unrealistic demands and irrelevant requirements contribute to the problems. …