A tentative agreement between New York City officials and the school administrators union includes not only a 7.5 percent pay boost but also a raise of between $10,000 and $15,000 a year for those working at schools designated as “hard to staff” (“New York City School Administrators Reach Labor Deal,” The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13).
During the 28 years I taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I worked with five principals. As the student population changed over the years, so did the nature of their job. It became increasingly adversarial, pitting faculty, parents and other stakeholders against one another. So I can understand the need to offer principals additional money to accept an assignment at some schools.
But I doubt that more money alone will result in less turnover. I’m referring now to New York City and other large urban districts. (It’s not that suburban schools don’t have their problems in recruiting and retaining qualified principals, but they tend to be less stressful.) So much of a school’s performance is beyond the control of a principal. In New York City, for example, the percentage of homeless students continues to rise. As a result, it’s rare for principals to remain at the helm for very long.
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