States continue to equate high entry standards into teaching with a pile of coursework requirements, regardless of their actual value. The requirements that states set for becoming a principal aren't much better and are often in fact worse. For instance, coursework creep has inched its way into Georgia requirements for aspiring principals-- with a recent decision to require not one but two master's degrees (education and education specialist). It seems no one in Georgia is paying attention to the lack of a single piece of research that would support these advanced degrees.
Not so in Texas, where folks at Houston's Rice University appear to be paying attention to the research, deciding to forsake master's degrees in education for principals and replacing them with an MBA. The rationale? While most advanced education degrees focus on teaching and managing children, Rice wants to focus on managing adults, such as training principals how to recruit strong teachers and move out the bad ones. As Prince George County Superintendent John Deasy put it, "A public school can have a $5 million payroll and a plant worth $90 million. That is a job for an MBA."
Supporters are hoping that the Rice model will nudge more ed schools to provide more business training. But one local principal astutely cautioned that that while the new approach is possibly helpful, "our losses are not as easy to cut as in the business world."
Good for Rice for also deciding to provide tuition reimbursement for graduates who commit to serving in under-served Houston schools for a "designated time"...designated still to be defined.