The purpose of this paper is to explore variation across principals in terms of the number and types of strategies they engage in to find teachers to fill the vacancies in their schools. The practices that the authors consider to be strategic are aligned with the district’s goals and objectives for teacher recruitment.
The authors selected 31 schools from the Chicago Public Schools system through a combination of stratified random sampling and purposive sampling. Through analysis of qualitative interviews with the 31 principals of these schools, the authors explore a range of principals’ hiring strategies and provide brief case examples to illuminate differences in hiring practices across principals.
The authors find that the majority of principals in the sample engage in relatively few of the practices considered strategic. Interestingly, sample principals who engaged in seven or more strategic practices were more likely to work in high schools than in elementary schools.
While the range of strategic hiring practices the authors explore provides a starting point for analyzing principals’ hiring practices, it is important to recognize that the list of strategies the authors consider is not exhaustive. For instance, the context of the study did not allow the authors to analyze practices such as the consideration of teacher value-added scores.
This study should be replicated in other contexts in order to see whether and how principals’ hiring practices vary by country, geographic location, urbanicity, and other factors.
This study is the first, to the authors’ knowledge, to detail principals’ hiring practices in relation to their district’s teacher recruitment plan with the aim of adding to the knowledge base on teacher hiring.
The authors thank Jason Grissom, Heather Hough, Joe Murphy, and conference participants at the 2013 American Educational Research Association and the Association for Education Finance and Policy annual meetings for helpful feedback on earlier versions of this work. All errors are the authors’ own.
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