School PrincipalManaging in Public

School PrincipalManaging in Public

Dan C. Lortie

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226493480

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


When we think about school principals, most of us imagine a figure of vague, yet intimidating authority—for an elementary school student, being sent to the principal's office is roughly on par with a trip to Orwell's Room 101. But this book aims to change that. The book offers an intensive and detailed look at principals, painting a portrait of what they do, how they do it, and why. It begins with a brief history of the job before turning to the daily work of a principal. These men and women, the book finds, stand at the center of a constellation of competing interests around and within the school. School district officials, teachers, parents, and students all have needs and demands that frequently clash, and it is the principal's job to manage these conflicting expectations to best serve the public. Unsurprisingly then, the book records its subjects' professional dissatisfactions, but it also depicts the pleasures of their work and the pride they take in their accomplishments. Finally, the book offers a glimpse of the future with an analysis of current issues and trends in education, including the increasing presence of women in the role and the effects of widespread testing mandated by the government.