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Career Paths of School Administrators in Illinois: Insights From an Analysis of State Data

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According to anecdotal reports, schools in the United States are having difficulty recruiting and hiring school administrators, and the reigning perception has been that the difficulty stems from a general shortage of people qualified to be school administrators. This perception was called into question recently by three studies based on empirical information on administrative careers. These studies, all of which are summarized in a policy Brief by The Wallace Foundation 2003, suggest that the supply of nominally qualified e.g., certified individuals available to serve as school administrators is indeed adequate, but that the practices of human resources departments in schools and districts may be preventing schools from selecting the best candidates. By juxtaposing the conventional wisdom against the empirical realities, the studies reflect the importance of using empirical data where possible to monitor and better understand the labor market for school administrators. In this report, we further develop this understanding of the careers of school administrators through an in-depth analysis of administrative data from the state of Illinois. We describe in detail what state-level administrative data can reveal about the careers of school administrators in the state, what the data cannot reveal, and how further research and data collection might be directed to build on the advantages of systematic administrative data in order to provide a better understanding of the relationship between administrative career paths and learning outcomes for students.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Humanities and History
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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