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Mix and Match: What Principals Really Look for When Hiring Teachers

Author

Listed:
  • Douglas N. Harris

    () (Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • Stacey A. Rutledge

    () (Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education, Florida State University)

  • William K. Ingle

    () (Leadership and Policy, Bowling Green State University)

  • Cynthia C. Thompson

    () (Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education, Florida State University)

Abstract

The vast majority of research and policy related to teacher quality focuses on the supply of teachers and ignores teacher demand. In particular, the important role of school principals in hiring teachers is rarely considered. Using interviews of school principals in a midsized Florida school district, we provide an exploratory mixed methods analysis of the teacher characteristics principals prefer. Our findings contradict the conventional wisdom that principals undervalue content knowledge and intelligence. Principals in our study ranked content knowledge third among a list of twelve characteristics. Intelligence does appear less important at first glance, but this is apparently because principals believe all applicants who meet certification requirements meet a minimum threshold on intelligence and because some intelligent teachers have difficulty connecting with students. More generally, we find that principals prefer an “individual mix” of personal and professional qualities. They also create an “organizational mix,” hiring teachers who differ from those already in the school in terms of race, gender, experience, and skills, and an “organizational match,” in which teachers have similar work habits and a high propensity to remain with the school over time. Because of tenure rules, many principals also prefer less experienced (untenured) teachers, even though research suggests that they are less effective. © 2010 American Education Finance Association

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas N. Harris & Stacey A. Rutledge & William K. Ingle & Cynthia C. Thompson, 2010. "Mix and Match: What Principals Really Look for When Hiring Teachers," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 5(2), pages 228-246, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:5:y:2010:i:2:p:228-246
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
    2. Stephen J. Trejo, 2003. "Intergenerational Progress of Mexican-Origin Workers in the U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    3. A. Gonzalez, 2000. "The acquisition and labor market value of four English skills: new evidence from NALS," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 259-269, July.
    4. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & Alexey Gorislavsky, 2007. "Using State Administrative Data to Measure Program Performance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 761-783, November.
    5. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Katina Pollock & Fei Wang & David Cameron Hauseman, 2015. "Complexity and Volume: An Inquiry into Factors that Drive Principals’ Work," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 1-29, June.
    2. Dan Goldhaber & Cyrus Grout & Nick Huntington-Klein, 2017. "Screen Twice, Cut Once: Assessing the Predictive Validity of Applicant Selection Tools," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(2), pages 197-223, Spring.
    3. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "What Kind of Teachers Are Schools Looking For? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," Working Paper 1436, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    4. Tara Béteille & Demetra Kalogrides & Susanna Loeb, 2011. "Stepping Stones: Principal Career Paths and School Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 17243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Harris, Douglas N. & Sass, Tim R., 2014. "Skills, productivity and the evaluation of teacher performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 183-204.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    teacher hiring; teacher demand; teacher characteristics;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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