Variation in the Willingness of Superintendents to Recommend Hiring Alternatively Licensed Principals
Kufel, Andrew Paul
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In many parts of the country principal candidates are being licensed through alternative pathways. Some view this movement as a plausible solution to the shortage of principals and inadequacy of principal preparation programs (Hess, 2003; Southern Regional Education Board, 2006; Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 2003). Others are insulted and threatened by the prospect of a person from a non-traditional background leading a school (Fenwick & Pierce, 2001). The debate as to whether or not these candidates possess the prerequisite skills and knowledge to effectively lead a school continues. But, will superintendents, as gatekeepers to school districts, afford these individuals the opportunity to prove their worth as principals? In this study, superintendents’ attitudes toward alternative licensure of school principals; past behaviors related to hiring alternatively licensed school personnel; attitudes toward specific alternatively licensed personnel; perceptions of the conditions in their school districts; anticipated concerns about hiring alternatively licensed principals; and the presence or absence of a clearly articulated induction program for new principals are used as predictors of superintendents' willingness to recommend hiring alternatively licensed principals to their school boards. The composite model of attitude-behavior consistency and data from a qualitative study of 18 superintendents were the bases for the development of a theory. To test the theory, an on-line questionnaire, using Likert and Thurstone scaled items, was administered to 1200 randomly selected superintendents who were members of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) in 2005. Multiple regression analysis was used for the analysis of the quantitative data. Five of the 19 predictor variables were significant predictors of superintendents’ willingness to recommend hiring alternatively licensed principals. The strongest relationship existed between superintendents’ willingness to recommend hiring alternatively licensed principals and their perceptions of the instructional leadership ability of alternatively licensed principals. Other significant predictors were superintendents’ past experiences hiring alternatively licensed principals, perceptions of the community acceptance of alternatively licensed principals, general attitude toward alternative licensure, and willingness to hire under the given definition. Superintendents displayed a low neutral (more unfavorable) score on the Thurstone scale, which means they view the employment of alternatively licensed principals slightly unfavorably.
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