The Every Student Succeeds Act, State Efforts to Improve Access to Effective Educators, and the Importance of School Leadership

Edward J. Fuller, Liz Hollingworth, Andrew Pendola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Our primary purpose is to examine the degree to which state equity plans identify the distribution of principals and principal turnover as factors influencing three leadership mechanisms that affect student access to effective teachers—namely, hiring of teachers, building instructional capacity of teachers, and managing teacher turnover. Research Design: This study relies on document analyses of 52 plans (50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico) submitted by states in 2015 to the U.S. Department of Education. These plans included the identification of root causes of the inequitable access to educators within a state as well as proposed solutions to address the inequitable access. Findings: We found that, while 27% of states mentioned the distribution of principals and 48% of states mentioned principal turnover, less than 10% of states connected these two factors to access to effective teachers for each of the three mechanisms. Furthermore, only three states mentioned that principal turnover is associated with teacher turnover and three states discussed that teacher turnover is heavily influenced by the school working conditions created in large part by the principal. Moreover, we found the U.S. Department of Education and most states did not present data on either the inequitable distribution of principals or principal turnover. Finally, we determined that states frequently mention solutions to improving access to effective educators that are unsupported by research under the Every Student Succeeds Act rules of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-756
Number of pages30
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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