High stakes principalship - sleepless nights, heart attacks and sudden death accountabilities: reading media representations of the United States principal shortage

Pat Thomson*, Jill Blackmore, Judyth Sachs, Karen Tregenza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The possible shortage of applicants for principal positions is news in both Australia and abroad. This article subjects a corpus of predominantly United States news articles to deconstructive narrative analysis and finds that the dominant media representation of principals' work is one of long hours, low salary, high stress and sudden death from high stakes accountabilities. However, reported United States policy interventions focus predominantly on professional development for aspirants. It notes that this will be insufficient to reverse the lack of applications, and suggest that the dominant media picture of completely unattractive principals' work, meant to leverage a policy solution, will perhaps paradoxically perpetuate the problem. The dominant media picture is also curiously at odds with research that reports high job satisfaction among principals. It suggests that there is a binary of victim and saviour principal in both media and policy which prevents some strategic re-thinking about how the principalship might be different.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-132
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Education
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • News media
  • Principals
  • Quality of working life
  • School administration
  • Teacher promotion
  • Working hours

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