Presa di posizione della "National Association of Secondary School Principals"

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La retribuzione dei dirigenti scolastici

L’equivalente americana dell’ANP in Italia, (l’Associazione Nazionale Americana dei Presidi dell’insegnamento secondario" , NASSP) rifiuta per principio lo stipendio in base al merito ma constata che il problema finora è stato poco trattato mentre invece si parla molto di più di stipendio in base al merito per gli insegnanti. La NASSP constata che il numero dei distretti scolastici (ossia delle province) che negli Stati Uniti adottano il criterio del merito per stabilire la retribuzione dei dirigenti scolastici è in aumento ogni anno. Per questa ragione la NASSP mette le mani avanti e nonostante l’opposizione di principio formula una serie di raccomandazioni e di criteri per l’adozione del salario dei dirigenti in base al merito.

Un’indagine svolta nel 2005 dal Wisconsin Center for Education Research ha appurato che il 17% di circa 200 distretti scolastici americani che hanno partecipato alla ricerca computava gli stipendi dei dirigenti scolastici in base al merito e che il 16% contemplava la possibilità di farlo in futuro. Questa tendenza sembra pertanto inarrestabile anche perché è promossa ed incoraggiata dal governo federale americano del presidente Bush. Il congresso americano ha infatti stanziato nell’anno fiscale 2006 un importo di 99 milioni di $ [1] a favore del Teacher Incentive Fund, un programma che si prefigge di sostenere le iniziative promosse per sviluppare e realizzare sistemi di rimunerazione degli insegnanti e dei dirigenti scolastici in base al merito nelle scuole molto sfavorite. Orbene, questo programma promuove soprattutto ricerche ed esperienze di modelli di rimunerazione basati sui risultati conseguiti dagli studenti nei test (prove strutturate d’esame).

L’uso dei punteggi conseguiti dagli studenti nei test per stabilire il livello di retribuzione dei dirigenti è contestato dalla NASSP perché le qualità di un buon "leader" scolastico non si limitano al conseguimento di una buona media nei punteggi conseguiti dagli studenti della scuola nei test. Questa non è che una faccia del lavoro di un dirigente scolastico anche se in parte quest’aspetto è il riflesso di un insieme coerente di comportamenti che concorrono a configurare la personalità del preside ed a profilarne le competenze. Le variabili che secondo la NASSP i test non prendono in considerazione sarebbero i seguenti :

- la proporzione di studenti che consegue il diploma finale rispetto al numero di studenti che si sono inscritti nella scuola agli inizi della formazione ;
- la proporzione di studenti promossi senza insufficienze da un anno all’altro ;
- la proporzione di studenti che scelgono opzioni esigenti e per riflesso la capacità della scuola proporre tali opzioni (per esempio matematica avanzata oppure letteratura latina) ;
- il clima regnante all’interno dell’istituto ;
- l’unità del corpo insegnante ;
- la stabilità del corpo insegnante ;
- la collaborazione con i genitori, la loro adesione ai progetti della scuola e la loro collaborazione alla vita scolastica.

Il dirigente è un catalizzatore di energie e di forze. Orbene, questa competenza per la NASSP può essere captata solo in parte dai risultati nei test, che non sono necessariamente il riflesso fedele del lavoro del dirigente. Per altro, si pensa in genere che sia più facile dirigere una scuola frequentata prevalentemente da una popolazione di studenti provenienti dalle classi sociali più colte, o più istruite o più benestanti [2] e che una scuola di questo tipo dovrebbe conseguire medie migliori nei test.Se così fosse, la retribuzione in base al merito rischia di essere ingiusta fino a quando non si inseriscono nel computo fattori correttivi che tengono conto del tipo di scuola, delle sue caratteristiche. Con modelli statistici di regressione multipla si possono azzerare i vantaggi e misurare i progressi od i risultati al netto di molte variabili, come lo si fa per esempio con il calcolo del valore aggiunto.

Se si prosegue sulla via di un calcolo dello stipendio dei dirigenti in base ai risultati degli studenti della scuola nelle prove strutturate occorre prestare attenzione alle moltissime armi di cui dispongono i dirigenti per falsare i risultati e fare bella figura anche senza dirigere una scuola con i crismi dell’educatore per eccellenza.

L’intenzione di sviluppare sistemi d’incentivazione dei dirigenti della scuola di per sé non è malvagia come non lo è neppure quella di applicare un’analoga strategia ai dirigenti dei servizi statali. Ma le buone intenzioni non bastano. Occorre anche sapere sviluppare modelli di valutazione virtuosi ed è qui che il dente duole. Come dice il proverbio, la strada per l’inferno è lastricata di buone intenzioni.

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Presa di posizione della NASSP (National Association of Secondary Schools Principals)

Compensation for Principals

Purpose

It is the position of NASSP that performance-based compensation systems for principals should not be mandated. This position statement should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of such systems. Rather, the recommendations offered herein represent a template for states and districts considering the implementation of such systems.

Issue

In the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) reauthorization discussions, legislators have focused on the impact educators have on improving student achievement. According to the Southern Regional Education Board, state and federal accountability systems are increasingly placing the burden of school success—and individual student achievement—squarely on the shoulders of administrators. A study by the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality (2004) on the working conditions of teachers found that high-quality leadership was the single greatest predictor of whether or not high schools made adequate yearly progress as defined by NCLB—more then either school size or teacher retention. The school leader’s job description has expanded to a point that he or she is expected to perform in the role of “chief learning officer,” with ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of the organization. NASSP continues to advocate for a voluntary national advanced certification for exemplary principals to elevate the status of the principalship and recognize and support the best and brightest among the profession. Until such recognition is in place, states and districts can collaboratively develop their own criteria for high principal performance and adjust professional compensation systems—including pay-for-performance plans—to reward high-level performance focused on improved student achievement and other identified criteria.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 13% increase in job openings for principals between 2000 and 2010, stemming in part from a large proportion of principals who planned to retire during the same time period. Additionally, Advocates for Children & Youth released a study in December 2007 that found “an alarming proportion of Maryland’s poorest and lowest-performing schools have the least experienced principals and struggle with high turnover in leadership.” Pay-for-performance plans may serve as a tool for attracting principals with established records of success to these schools in the face of a diminishing corps of highly effective principals.

Many educators express concern that pay-for-performance plans will consider only high-stakes tests and disregard other important school and student performance factors. Compensation systems that take into account this concern, the complexities of the education profession, and the principal’s multifaceted job expectations could provide greater incentives for educators to focus on the instructional aspects of their daily work and have the added benefit of enhancing the recruitment and retention of talented professionals who are successful in doing so.

While a wealth of literature addresses performance-based compensation systems for teachers, little research exists on similar programs for principals since these are relatively new on a national scope. Yet a number of local and national initiatives are providing impetus for principal pay-for-performance plans. In a national survey conducted by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, approximately 17% of 193 responding school districts had a performance-based pay component for principals, and an additional 16% were considering introducing such a system for principals in the future. In FY 2006, Congress appropriated $99 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) program to support state and local initiatives to develop and implement performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems based primarily on increases in student achievement. Thirty-four TIF grants were awarded to school districts in 18 states and the District of Columbia in 2007. In addition, Title II of NCLB allows states to use funding for developing merit-based performance systems. Due to support of this nature from Congress and state legislatures, a steadily increasing number of principals will have opportunities to receive additional compensation based on student achievement, professional knowledge and skills, and service in high-poverty and other hard-to-staff schools.

NASSP Guiding Principles

- All principals should receive a salary and benefit package commensurate to that of administrators in other like professions before any performance-based compensation system is developed

- Principals are responsible for all administrative and leadership functions, especially those related to teaching and learning, and are perceived by school and community stakeholders to be responsible for their students’ academic growth

- NASSP’s (2007) position statement defining highly effective principals offers guidance and recommendations for school districts to evaluate principal effectiveness

- Success of performance-based compensation systems depends partially on the local district clearly communicating the purpose of its system to principals, other educators, parents, and community members and actively seeking their input

- Successful performance-based compensation systems are used only to reward principal performance and are not punitive in nature

- Breaking Ranks II and Breaking Ranks in the Middle provide a framework where every school is a professional learning community in which professional development for teachers and principals addresses academic achievement and the developmental needs of students

NASSP Recommendations

- States should develop the infrastructure for performance-based compensation systems and offer guidelines and financial incentives for the optional participation of local school districts

- States and districts should collaborate to develop performance-based compensation systems for principals in conjunction with similar systems for teachers for the purpose of rewarding high-level performance of individual educators, creating incentives for individuals to improve their performance, and/or providing recruitment and retention incentives

- States and districts should collaborate with principals, superintendents, professional associations, and unions (where applicable) in developing and implementing performance-based compensation systems for principals

- Performance-based compensation systems should be developed and implemented as one component of the district school improvement plan and be linked to policies for recruiting and retaining highly effective principals

- Performance awards for principals should be substantial, and performance-based compensation should be budgeted and sustainable by school districts

- School districts should not limit the number of performance awards, but provide performance awards to all principals who meet the designated criteria

- School districts should assist individual principals in developing individual professional growth plans that include goals and objectives focused on building the principal’s capacity to lead the school to higher levels of success ; thus helping to insure the principal’s eligibility for performance awards

- School districts implementing a performance-based compensation system design should offer ongoing, job-embedded professional development that is aligned with district and school improvement plans and individualized to help principals meet their goals

- Principal performance should take into account the context in which a school operates and be based on multiple objective measures beyond student performance indicators.

NASSP suggests the following indicators :

* Performance on state and local assessments (measures of individual student growth from year to year)

* Graduation rates and/or promotion rates

* Participation in advanced courses, including but not limited to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, dual-enrollment, pre-AP and similar rigorous courses at the middle level

* Implementation of innovative program enhancements such as career and technical education, international and environmental studies, and community service

* College and work readiness

* College attendance rates (if data are available)

* School and district improvement objectives

* School climate data

* Parent participation

* School and community collaboration

* Teacher retention/transfer rates

- Opportunities for student engagement through co-curricular and extracurricular activities and rates of participation

- School districts should examine quantitative and qualitative data pertaining to academic and nonacademic indicators listed in the previous recommendation in their performance appraisals of principals, including the following measurements :

* Self-assessments

* Supervisor visits to the school

* School documentation of classroom observations ; faculty meeting agendas ; records of leadership team, department, team, or grade level meetings ; records or minutes of site council, business partnership, or parent organization meetings ; etc.

* Climate surveys (parent, staff, students, and community)

* Teacher, other school staff, parent, and student evaluations

- Principals should receive additional compensation for serving and maintaining success in high-poverty and other hard-to-staff schools

- States and districts should provide additional compensation for exemplary principals who obtain national advanced certification once such recognition is in place

- School districts should regularly evaluate performance-based compensation systems to assess their impact on increasing student achievement

- The U.S. Department of Education should collaborate with researchers and serve as a clearinghouse to identify best practices of performance-based compensation systems

- Congress should provide adequate funding for states to help districts implement sustainable performance-based compensation systems

References

Advocates for Children & Youth. (2007). Principal Turnover in Baltimore City Public School System. Baltimore, MD : Author.

Baratz-Snowden, Joan (2007). The Future of Teacher Compensation. Washington, DC : Center for American Progress.

Goldhaber, Dan (2007). Principal Compensation. Washington, DC : Center for American Progress.

Hertling, Elizabeth (2000). Performance Contracts for Administrators. Washington, DC : ERIC Digest. Retrieved October 8, 2007, from http://www.ericdigests.org/2000-1/c....

Kimball, Steven M., Heneman III, Herbert G., & Milanowski, Anthony (2007). Performance Evaluation and Compensation for Public School Principals : Results from a National Survey. Madison, WI : Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

National Association of Elementary School Principals (2002). NAESP Fact Sheet on the Principal Shortage. Alexandria, VA : Author. Retrieved December 11, 2007, from http://www.naesp.org/ContentLoad.do....

National Association of Secondary School Principals (2004). Breaking Ranks II : Strategies for Leading High School Reform. Reston, VA : Author.

National Association of Secondary School Principals (2006). Breaking Ranks in the Middle : Strategies for Leading Middle Level Reform. Reston, VA : Author.

National Association of Secondary School Principals (2007). Changing Role of the Middle Level and High School Leader : Learning from the Past—Preparing for the Future. Reston, VA : Author.

National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (2007). Creating a Successful Performance Compensation System for Educators. Santa Monica, CA : Author.

Paige, Rod, Scalfani, Susan, and Jimenez, Michael J. (1998). “Performance Contracts for Principals.” The School Administrator, 55 (9), 32-33.

Southeast Center for Teaching Quality. (2004). Teaching Working Conditions are Student Learning Conditions. Retrieved June 2005 from http://www.teachingquality.org/pdfs...

Southern Regional Education Board. (2002). Leadership Matters : Building Leadership Capacity. Retrieved October 2004 from http://www.sreb.org/main/Leadership....

Tracy, G., & Weaver, C. (2000). “Aspiring Leaders Academy : Responding to the Principal Shortage.” NASSP Bulletin, 84 (618), 75-83.

[1] Non sono molti per un programma federale, tenuto conto anche delle dimensioni del paese

[2] Questo postulato va ancora dimostrato