The pyramid shape of business and government organizations does not bode well for education systems. Not that there should be a hundred school superintendents to one teacher, but rather that the level of importance, of strength, educational prowess and excellence, not only should but must be found in the classroom not the principal/superintendent’s office(s). Successful and powerful educational organizations be they primary, secondary, or higher educational systems are marked by successful and powerful teachers.
As an educational consultant I’ve been in many schools and undeniably the schools with best attendance, test scores, least discipline problems, and greatest graduation rates had the best teachers. In fact these schools most often had invisible administrators. I would venture to say that these schools could easily have functioned without a “principal” (administrator) utilizing an administrative staff to communicate with local and state authorities about policy and procedures. I remember one high school where the principal for health reasons was more often than not, not present during the school days with little or no impact to the faculty and no impact on the students.
The administrative function in educations needs revisiting. The term “principal” used to mean “lead teacher” meaning the principal lead the school using his/her teaching skills as the main teacher in the building; not the person who signs travel requisitions. We need all our efforts focused on securing the best teachers and (here’s a sore spot) pay them accordingly. We need to remove the “principals” from their offices, send them back to the classrooms, and reorganize the “administrative” functions of schools and of county/district offices. It is that superior academic program, lead by those excellent teachers, that identifies outstanding schools.