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Academic Leadership Journal

Abstract

Principals in today’s schools clearly have their work cut out for them. The job has never been easy and the addition of accountability for state standards and assessments just adds to the load. The implications of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for principals involve spending significant amounts of time on the development of effective classroom teachers. The content of induction programs for new teachers now includes federal and state requirements for licensing and recertification (Highly Qualified Teachers) in addition to aligning new teacher needs with school mission and goals. As a result, the principal’s role with beginning teachers has never been more important than in today’s era of school reform. What impact do accountability measures have on the attrition and retention of new teachers? According to Hoerr (2005), 25 percent of new teachers will leave the profession within four years. Will that figure be further impacted by the fact that new teachers must deal with strict accountability issues along with the traditional concerns of classroom management, planning and organizing instruction, motivating and evaluating students, and using effective teaching strategies (Gordon & Maxey, 2000)? Federal and state requirements put added pressure on principals to get their teachers up to speed quickly in order to improve and sustain student achievement. While principals can put new teachers on the right course through well-developed induction programs, they may want to become involved sooner. It may prove advantageous to schools and the profession, if principals start looking at earlier involvement with new teachers during pre-service. Principals may argue that the extra time invested with preservice teachers may not impact their particular school when most students will take jobs in other districts. Considering the statistics on new teacher attrition and the prediction that we will need to educate 54.3 million students by 2008 in our nation’s classrooms (Glatthorn, Jones & Bullock, 2006), principals may be providing a service that could impact the profession of teaching as a whole.

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