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The Careers of Public School Administrators: Policy Implications from an Analysis of State-Level Data

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Over one-half of the states in the nation collect statewide administrative data that can support a systematic analysis of the careers of teachers and administrators. These data provide information on every individual who works in a professional capacity in the state education system. By linking information across years, state databases can explain exactly when a teacher transitions to being a principal, the number of years of experience possessed at the time of transition, and the characteristics of the individuals schools before and after the transition. These data also allow for comparisons between the many teachers who do not transition to administration and those who do. School districts and state governments can use these data to meet such workforce goals as gender and racialethnic diversity and equity in promotion. As useful as the data are for helping states track and understand the career paths of school administrators, they reveal little about a matter of increasing importance to policymakers and the public the characteristics of administrators that promote improved student achievement. These data are not collected for that purpose, but they do provide a strong foundation on which to build future data collection efforts to improve our understanding of administrators careers and quality. Two new RAND Corporation studies and related research conducted at the State University of New York SUNY, Albany, make use of state data to provide policymakers with insights into the nature of school administrators careers. The studies use data for North Carolina, Illinois, and New York to address several questions of potential interest to state and local governments Is the state making progress toward workforce diversity goals Are teachers from different gender and racial ethnic groups being promoted on an equitable basis What are the turnover rates for administrators Are some schools having a harder time than others retaining principals 4 figures, 7 ref7

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  • Humanities and History
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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