Since the turn of the new millennia, governments have increasingly moved away from professional models of educational decision-making and turned toward a neoliberal production model in which markets and test scores drive educational decisions. In this “brave new world,” teachers have become “human capital,” and principals, the managers of their productivity rather than leaders of learning. As a result of this changing dynamic, teachers have increasingly turned to teacher unions or federations, and away from local school jurisdictions and governments to protect their salaries, working conditions and professionalism. Principals, in turn, have found themselves in a no-win situation – caught between top-down demands from big governments and local school districts for teacher compliance, and big unions' insistence on fair treatment for all teachers. This chapter, therefore, intends to explore this increasingly fragile role of principals in three international settings, in our rapidly changing world.
Fink, D., Hannay, J., Lazenby, S. and Marks, W. (2022), "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Principals in the Middle", Chitpin, S. and White, R.E. (Ed.) Leading under Pressure (Transforming Education Through Critical Leadership, Policy and Practice), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 147-162. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-358-220221009
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Copyright © 2022 Dean Fink, Jeremy Hannay, Suzanne Lazenby and Warren Marks. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited