PUBLIC SCHOOL PRINCIPALS OF COLOR: AN EXPLORATION OF TRENDS IN AND PREDICTORS OF REPRESENTATION, AND INFLUENCE ON SCHOOL-LEVEL OUTCOMES
Green, Meghan Rebecca Finney
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U.S. public schools are changing and becoming more diverse, but principals and educators are still largely White. As the number of students of color served by public schools grows, the continuing disparities in outcomes between students of color and their White counterparts is an area of increasing concern. Some research indicates that teachers of color may support positive outcomes for their students of color, but far less research examines principals of color, their representation, and their effect on student of color outcomes. This study aims to address this gap by exploring trends in the representation of principals of color, predictors of change from a White principal to a principal of color, and effects of change to a principal of color on student outcomes using three collection waves of Schools and Staffing Survey data (2003-2012). Descriptive analyses are used to explore the percentages of principals of color and change over time and in schools with different characteristics (e.g., SES level, size, etc.). Logistic regression is used to determine which school-level predictors significantly predict change from a White principal to a principal of color. Finally, schools that experienced change from a White principal to a principal of color are matched with “control” schools that experienced continuing White principals using propensity score matching, and ANCOVAs were completed to compare outcomes between the sets of schools. Results indicate that principals of color are still best represented in urban schools with high percentages of students and teachers of color and students receiving free and reduced meals. However, this trend is shifting with more principals of color serving in suburban schools with fewer students and teachers of color. The percentage of students of color predicts change from a White principal to a principal of color. While schools that experience change from a White principal to a principal of color have fewer suspensions than schools with continuing White principals, other school-level outcomes appear similar for the groups.