A comparison of perceived problems of urban black and white women principals in elementary, middle, and junior high schools in obtaining the principalship and functioning in that role during their first year
This study compared the differences in success rates of urban black and white women elementary, middle, and junior high school principals in obtaining the first principalship position and functioning in the principalship role during the first year.ProcedureA twenty-two-item closed-form and open-form type questionnaire was developed, tested, and mailed to a selected sample of 173 urban black and white women elementary, middle, and junior high school principals from three selected urban areas located in the Western and Midwestern regions of the United States. Responses were received from 112 (65 percent) of the recipients. The instrument was designed to elicit personal and professional data pertaining to problems encountered in obtaining the first principalship position and functioning in the role of the principal during the first year. Data were analyzed according to similar and dissimilar percentages of responses. of black and white women principals. The most serious problems experienced by principals in obtaining the first administrative position were forms of discrimination and male and female resentment. More white women principals experienced racial and sexual discrimination than black women principals primarily because more white principals than black principals had an opportunity to be interviewed in minority as well as nonminority communities. Usually the interview committee members as well as community members in minority neighborhoods preferred either a minority or a male principal regardless of race. More black principals experienced male and female resentment.The most serious problems encountered during the first year of the principalship included: (1) inadequate facilities, supplies, and equipment; (2) ineffective staff; (3) lack of experience in handling administrative responsibilities; (4) racial prejudice; (5) unwillingness of staff members to follow school integration guidelines; (6) time distribution between family and administrative responsibilities; and (7) family resentment toward job. More black women principals than white women principals were married and had an even greater problem in fulfilling home responsibilities.The most successful methods used by the principals to manage the problems encountered included: (1) using good time management and organizational strategies, (2) hiring household help, and (3) promoting and encouraging staff involvement in decision-making processes.