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ERIC Number: ED532053
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
Principals' Hiring of Teachers in Philadelphia Schools: A Research Report on Improving Teacher Quality
Ramirez, Heidi A.; Schofield, Lynne Steuerle; Black, Melissa
Urban Education Collaborative
The School District of Philadelphia (SDP), like many other urban school districts, struggles to increase its hiring and retention of experienced and highly qualified teachers in its low-performing/high-need schools. Toward the goal of improving teacher quality and the experience balance, particularly in hard-to-staff schools, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) and SDP agreed to a set of innovative approaches in their 2004 contract. That contract included new policies for school-based selection of teachers and the provision of incentives for teachers who seek employment in selected "incentive schools," in selected subjects, and to teachers new to the district's schools. Although similar hiring and/or incentive policies have been used elsewhere, little is known about the role that districts and principals play in implementing these policies and how they affect teacher recruitment and overall teacher quality. The Urban Education Collaborative (UEC) at Temple University's Institute for Schools and Society conducted a study of SDP's effort to implement these new policies during 2005-06. This study reports, in particular, on how SDP's principals responded to the district's newly created district hiring and incentive policies. With the assistance of SDP Human Resources Department and the cooperation of PFT, UEC sent web-based surveys to all SDP principals and to a sample of 1,000 teachers who had recently changed schools, were new to SDP, and were hired through site-based selection. Of the targeted teachers, only 177 responded to the survey, making data useful only for identifying themes for further exploration in interviews. In contrast, 207 principals, 77% of the SDP's total, responded. In order to understand more about the nature of policy implementation, supports, strengths, and weaknesses, a randomized sample of survey participants--10 principals, 9 experienced teachers, and 9 new teachers--were interviewed. Overall, the findings suggest positive steps forward for SDP in communicating and supporting the new policies. However, the findings also reflect different needs and responses of principals according to experience level, suggesting a need for customized information and training. What is especially striking is how few principals were proactive in using teacher hiring to improve teacher quality at their schools. They made limited use of web-based information, tracking of candidates, and communication. They did not "pitch" incentives to interested candidates, and many ceded hiring decisions to the central office rather than make use of site selection. The study suggests that limited policy impacts resulted from lack of buy-in and accountability for implementation among principals. While the latter can be explained, in part, by a centralized hiring system that often makes accountability ambiguous, the former is not well explained by either the quality of the policies or the means by which they were communicated. Rather, principal dispositions affected their enthusiasm for and implementation of the innovations and incentives in teacher hiring. How such values emerge and are responded to remain important questions for policy implementation. (Contains 7 figures, 4 tables and 11 footnotes.) [For "A Research Brief: "Principals' Hiring of Teachers in Philadelphia", see ED532052.]
Urban Education Collaborative. Available from: Institute for Schools and Society, Temple University 1301 Cecil B Moore Avenue Ritter Annex 4th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19122. Tel: 215-204-3000;Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William Penn Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania