NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A Shortage Of School Principals

January 8, 1999

It used to be that teachers aspired to become principals of their schools. No more. Now teachers often prefer to continue teaching -- resulting in a shortage of principals.

Recently, the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals set out to find the reason.

  • Their survey revealed that 60 percent of educators think principals are paid too little for the amount of work involved.
  • Some 32 percent found the job too stressful.
  • Twenty-seven percent said the job required too much time.
  • Difficulty in satisfying parents bothered 14 percent and 13 percent said societal problems distract from teaching.

About half of the 403 school districts surveyed said they had trouble filling some elementary and high school principal positions in the 1998-99 academic year. Some schools had to make do without a principal, while others lured retired principals back to work.

The demand for school administrators is expected to increase by 10 percent to 20 percent through 2005 -- primarily because of retirements.

Source: Kim Asch, "Schools Finding It Hard to Hire New Principals," Washington Times, January 8, 1999.


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