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Ed. Dept. Puts Spotlight on Principals’ Central Role

In the second term of the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Education, under Secretary Arne Duncan, has trained its efforts on principals by rolling out a series of initiatives that build on the growing body of research underscoring the role they play in schools’ success.

That heavy focus on principals is a departure from that of previous administrations and marks a shift even from Secretary Duncan’s first four years. It coincides not only with the research, but also with sweeping changes in other federal and state K-12 policies—ranging from federal waivers of some provisions of the No Child Behind Act to the implementation of college- and career-readiness standards—that put principals in the driver’s seat for making such initiatives work in schools.