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Public School Principal Attrition and Mobility: Results From the NCES/IES 2016–17 Principal Follow-up Survey!

Dear Commons Community,

Maryann Polesinelli, a colleague at the CUNY Graduate Center, forwarded to me the latest Public School Principal Attrition and Mobility Report.   This report, produced by U.S.D.O.E. National Center for Education Statistics/Institute for Education Sciences (NCES/IES), presents findings from the Public School Principal Status Data File of the 2016–17 Principal Follow-up Survey (PFS).  The PFS is a nationally representative sample survey of public K–12 schools in the 50 states and District of Columbia and was initiated to inform discussions and decisions regarding principal attrition and mobility among policymakers, researchers, and parents. Both NTPS and PFS are developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. PFS data are collected from schools and principals and appended to the NTPS Public School Principal data file. Information from all of the NTPS surveys can be linked. Below is a summary of selected findings.

Selected Findings

  • Among all public school principals in 2015–16, approximately 82 percent remained at the same school during the following school year (“stayers”), 6 percent moved to a different school (“movers”), and 10 percent left the principalship (“leavers”). In addition, 2 percent of principals were from schools that reported the principal had left, but the school was unable to report the current occupational status of the principal (“other”).
  • Among 2015–16 public school principals of schools where less than 35 percent of K–12 students were approved for free or reduced-price lunches, 85 percent remained at the same school during the 2016–17 school year (“stayers”), 5 percent moved to a different school (“movers”), and 8 percent left the principalship (“leavers”). Among 2015–16 principals of schools where more than 75 percent of students were approved for free or reduced-price lunches, 79 percent remained at the same school during the 2016–17 school year (“stayers”), 7 percent moved to a different school (“movers”), and 11 percent left the principalship (“leavers”)..
  • Of public school principals who agreed strongly or somewhat with the statement “I think about transferring to another school” in the 2015–16 school year, 12 percent left the principalship and 12 percent moved to a different school in 2016–17.
  • Of public school principals who remained at the same school during the 2016–17 school year (“stayers”), 43 percent planned to remain a principal as long as they were able, 20 percent were undecided at that time, 19 percent planned to remain until eligible for retirement benefits from their job, and 11 percent planned to remain until a more desirable job opportunity came along.
  • Of the public school principals who reported in the 2015–16 school year that student bullying occurred at least once a month or more often, 82 percent remained at the same school during the following school year (“stayers”), 10 percent left the principalship (“leavers”), and 6 percent moved to a different school (“movers”) in 2016–17.
  • Of the public school principals who reported in the 2015–16 school year that they had a major influence on evaluating teachers, 82 percent remained at the same school during the following school year (“stayers”), 10 percent left the principalship (“leavers”), and 6 percent moved to a different school (“movers”) in 2016–17.

For those interested in the state of public school leadership, this is a  must-read report.

Tony

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