The principal’s leadership is viewed as pivotal under a variety of reform models. Policies that aim to raise efficiency by moving discretion down to principals, limiting labor contracts, or awarding fresh resources to schools and/or districts rest on principals’ capacity to deploy fungible dollars and human resources. However, little is known about the range of monetary and human resources that principals acquire and influence, how they allocate these resources, and what barriers they confront in acquiring and deploying resources inside their schools.
This study attempts to provide a better understanding of principals’ fiscal and labor resources and how they acquire and utilize them by addressing five core questions: (1) What are the background characteristics of California principals, and how do these attributes compare with principals in other states? (2) What educational goals do principals pursue and prioritize? (3) What types of monetary, human, and informational resources do principals acquire? (4) How do principals deploy resources within their schools? (5) What support and constraints do principals experience, and from which actors, as they attempt to acquire and deploy resources in ways that raise student performance?