1 in 4 principals say they would quit ‘ASAP’ for a higher paying job

While the vast majority (94%) of K-12 public school principals are generally satisfied, many have lost enthusiasm for the profession.

Generally speaking, the vast majority of principals are satisfied with their jobs. But like most professions over time, it can get to the point where the pay is no longer worth the effort. And for 25% of K-12 public school principals, that’s the consensus.

That’s according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Characteristics of 2020-21 Public and Private K-12 School Principals report. The NCES is one of the most dominant federal organizations responsible for collecting and reporting education-related information.

The data, released Tuesday, is based on a nationally representative survey geared toward K-12 public and private school principals and teachers across the country. And its purpose is to “collect data to provide a detailed picture of U.S. elementary and secondary schools and their staff,” the report reads.

Some of the topics include principals’ goals and decision-making, their education experience, salary, working conditions, and more.

Let’s take a look at how principals fared between 2020 and 2021:

Key findings

An overwhelming majority of public school principals surveyed said they were “generally satisfied” at their school. However, more than one-third (34%) said they’ve lost enthusiasm for the profession since they first started. Additionally, 25% agreed that if they found a higher-paying job they would quit “as soon as possible.”

Responses from private school principals are quite similar. 92% said they were satisfied with their jobs, 30% have lost enthusiasm and only 16% would prefer taking a higher-paying job.

Regarding job turnover, private school principals tend to hold the same job for longer, according to the data. On average, this group has spent 6.7 years at their current school, whereas public school principals have spent an average of 4.5 years in their current job.

Similar to the current state of teaching, principals are also being overworked. Public school principals, on average, spent 58.3 hours per week on school-related activities. Thirty percent of those hours are spent on internal administrative tasks, 29% are spent on curriculum and teaching-related tasks, nearly one-fourth (24%) is spent on engaging with students, and 15% are spent interacting with parents.

Private school principals spent less time in the office, using 54.5 hours on school-related activities. However, their time spent on tasks is relatively similar to public school principals. Thirty-three percent of their time is spent on internal administrative tasks, 28% on curriculum and teaching-related tasks, 20% on engaging with students, and 16% on interacting with parents.

One of the most notable statistics found in the report is linked to representation. More than half (56%) of K-12 and private school principals are female, with more of them leading elementary schools in both public (69%) and private schools (75%). Unlike superintendents, where women make up less than one-third of the population, female principals are much more common.

View the complete summary of the report here.

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Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttp://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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