FAKING THE GRADE: DCPS principals unhappy and uncertain

A school classroom. (Flickr / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

A report released Tuesday by the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor states 54 percent of D.C. Public Schools principals say they experience “great stress” every day. A similar nationwide survey found only 20 percent with a similar stress level.

Two out of every three DCPS principals say they are very or fairly likely to leave within the next five years. (See the report below)

“We saw some of the good journalism that we had here in terms of pressures at the high school level,” said DC Auditor Kathy Patterson. “It's very disappointing. It's very, almost shocking, to think how pervasive some of the concerns are.”

“We're not getting sports starting when it should or after school club starting because there's not the institutional knowledge,” said Joe Weedon, parent of two Eliot-Hine Middle School children and a DC State Board of Education member.

“Principals need longer contracts. It can't be a one year and done. We need to invest and parents need to have a say in the tenure of a principal," Weedon said. “You see a lot more churn among teachers, among programs, among priorities, and it’s hard to build a community when you face a lot of churn of the leadership.”

7 On Your Side first revealed audio recordings in February of a former principal at Roosevelt STAY High School telling her teachers about pressure from central office to pass students despite their poor attendance.

"We basically were ripped a new a-hole as principals. So that means that I have to come and not rip you guys a new one, but I think I have to come in and be very firm," said then-principal Eugenia Young.

The DC Auditors’s next report will look into teacher turnover and why it’s happening.

Update: After this story was first published, DCPS asked that we add the following statement:

DCPS is a district where leaders want to work. This year we retained 95 percent of our highest performing principals from the last school year. We will continue to engage our school leaders through many ways including weekly faculty meetings, annual surveys, rigorous professional development, and the Chancellors Principal Cabinet. We also look forward to continuing to recruit, develop, retain, and support a team of excellent educators.

Survey: DCPS Principals Are More Stressed Than National Counterparts:

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