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ERIC Number: ED480673
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Jul
Pages: 90
Abstractor: N/A
An Impossible Job? The View from the Urban Superintendent's Chair.
Fuller, Howard L.; Campbell, Christine; Celio, Mary Beth; Harvey, James; Immerwahr, John; Winger, Abigail
Based on a survey of superintendents from 100 of the nation's largest urban and ex-urban districts and on interviews with 40 large-district superintendents, this study finds that a majority of urban school superintendents believe that their ability to implement reform in order to raise academic achievement is frustrated by district governance. The study highlights problems facing urban school superintendents, including challenges to authority from school boards, teacher unions, and central office staff; political pressure from competing power centers; and inadequate job preparation and unrealistic expectations. In order to allow superintendents to make significant improvement in student performance, the study recommends the following changes: the duties and responsibilities of school boards must be reshaped; superintendents must have the authority to hire, fire, and reassign central office staff and school principals; superintendents must have more authority over district funds and enjoy greater autonomy managing federal, state, and categorical (single-program) funding; pre- and in-service training should be overhauled to focus on leadership and public management skills in addition to education theory; and recruitment efforts should focus on finding candidates with high-level political, managerial, and leadership skills. The appendices present the research methodology and survey instrument. (SM)
Center on Reinventing Public Education, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, Box 353060, Rm. 109K, Parrington Hall, Seattle, WA 98195-3060. Tel: 206-685.2214; Fax: 206-221-7402; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Washington Univ., Seattle. Center on Reinventing Public Education.
Note: Supported by the Wallace Foundation.