Journal of Educational Administration
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We argue that principal preparation programs should help candidates: 1) recognize the political role of the school principal; 2) develop political skills (including the ability to strategically appropriate policy); and 3) understand that the political approach of the principal influences teaching, learning, relationships, governance, and reform efforts. In addition, we report findings of our analysis of Ontario’s Principal Qualification Program guidelines to determine if they require principal preparation programs to develop aspiring school leaders’ political skills.
We reviewed theoretical arguments and empirical studies from the fields of school micropolitics, business, educational leadership, and critical policy studies to establish five political skills principals require. We then conducted a content analysis of Ontario’s Principal Qualification Program guidelines to determine if they require principal preparation programs to develop aspiring leaders’ political skills.
Ontario’s Principal Qualification Program guidelines do not explicitly direct principal preparation programs to help candidates develop political skills. However, the guidelines recognize that principals pursue political goals and work in political 2 environments, and they offer opportunities for appropriating the guidelines in ways that promote the development of principal candidates’ political skills.
The paper is the first to analyze Ontario’s Principal Qualification Program guidelines to determine if they require principal preparation programs to develop aspiring leaders’ political skills. It also identifies policy appropriation as a political skill that should be developed in principal preparation programs and provides a model of how principal preparation policies themselves may be appropriated to support a focus on developing aspiring principals’ political skills.