Evidence About School Leadership
Wallace submitted this letter to the Department of Education in response to a request from the secretary of education for information about implementing programs under then-new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. ESSA is the 2015 re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
Fifteen years have passed since the passage of the previous re-authorization, the letter notes. Over that period, new evidence has emerged and offered "considerable clarity" on the role principals play in improving student and promoting educational equity. The research also identifies effective steps that states and school districts can take to improve principal performance. The evidence suggests that many intended outcomes of ESSA could be achieved through a focus on school leadership.
Detailed information on the evidence is provided in a slide deck from a Wallace presentation to the education department.
ESSA's predecessor (known as No Child Left Behind) was unclear about how funding under the law's Title II could be used to support principals and their supervisors. Research identifies effective strategies for bolstering these roles, such as mentoring for principals and training about instructional leadership for supervisors. Federal funding for such programs could help ensure their effectiveness and sustainability.