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Sen. Franken Pushes for School Principal Recruitment, Training to Improve Education

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) reintroduced the School Principal Recruitment and Training Act, which would create a new competitive grant program to recruit, support, and prepare high-caliber aspiring and current principals to lead high-need schools.

Research at the University of Minnesota shows that school leadership is second only to teacher quality among school-related factors that impact student learning. While teacher quality has the greatest impact, principal quality plays a critical role in determining whether schools can attract and retain effective teachers.

"Principals don't just run school buildings - they're the backbones of our schools and our students' success depends on having a high-quality principal in every school," said Sen. Franken. "This legislation would invest in proven strategies to prepare high-caliber principals and take the next step in making our schools the best they can be."

"Strong leadership from our principals can increase student achievement, improve teacher retention, and transform the entire culture of a school," said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a former superintendent of Denver Public Schools and cosponsor of the bill. "We must do a better job of recruiting, training, and supporting our principals if we expect them, along with our teachers, to improve student achievement. This bill will help ensure that we have high-quality training programs that produce great principals."

The School Principal Recruitment and Training Act will address the shortage of skilled principals in high-need schools by investing in proven strategies for recruiting and preparing effective principals. The bill includes the following elements:

-competitive grants;

-a focus on instructional leadership and data usage;

-a year-long residency and two years of follow-up support;

-accountability for results;

-and research and evaluation

Sen. Franken previously introduced the School Principal Recruitment and Training Act in 2009 and, in 2011, successfully included provisions of this legislation in the Senate education committee's bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which passed in the Senate education committee but was never voted on by the full Senate.


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