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The Future of Our Public Schools

A New Book from the Harvard Education Press Guides School Leaders through the Changing Education Landscape

The 21st-Century Principal: Current Issues in Leadership and Policy, a new publication from the Harvard Education Press (HEPG), offers imaginative, thoughtful discussions of major issues confronting today's public school principals. How will school leaders respond to changes in immigration, technology, and social policy? What effect will changing standards and demands for accountability have on their jobs? What impact will privatization and choice have on public schools? What challenges does the black/white achievement gap present? What is the purpose of public education?

This collection, edited by Milli Pierce and Deborah L. Stapleton, includes work by leading thinkers in the field of education, including Richard F. Elmore, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, Pedro A. Noguera, Belinda Williams, and Douglas B. Reeves. The 21st-Century Principal will provoke new thinking and inspire bold action, all with an eye toward improving public schools and the leadership abilities of those entrusted to guide them in this new millennium. Discussion questions designed to facilitate conversations within schools and communities conclude each chapter.

As Milli Pierce notes in her introduction, 21st-century principals have to be skilled at creating strong, committed teams that can help them run their schools. "If principals are expected to do it all, we can be assured of mediocre performance, not because they aren't capable but because we have asked them to be superhuman."

Contents include: an "Introduction" by Milli Pierce; "The Limits of Change" by Richard F. Elmore; "The Six Principles of Effective Accountability" by Douglas B. Reeves; "The Challenge of a Changing Nation" by Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, with responses from Harold L. Hodgkinson and Robert J. Murphy; "Does More Choice Mean Less Equity?" by Chester E. Finn, Jr., with responses from Pedro A. Noguera and Gary Orfield; "Closing the Achievement Gap" by Belinda Williams; "Using Afterschool Programs to Raise Achievement" by Gil G. Noam; and "Learning to Challenge Assumptions" by Richard Rothstein, with responses from Richard F. Elmore and Nat LaCour.

The chapters in this volume are taken from "Leadership and Policy: An Education Forum," an institute held at the Principals' Center at Harvard University. Milli Pierce is director of the Principals' Center. Deborah L. Stapleton was a 2002 Harvard University administrative fellow at the Principals' Center. For a review copy of 21st-Century Principal (HEP, October 2002, ISBN 1-891792-06-7, $19.95 paperback, 100 pages), please contact Karen Walsh at 617-384-7249.

HEPG, located at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, publishes innovative, authoritative books covering critical issues in education.


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