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Conditions for Change: The School Leadership Initiative

Dr. Eva Chiang and Anne Wicks detail the necessary conditions for policy change.

Report by Eva Chiang, Ph.D. and Anne Wicks July 6, 2021


Educators, policymakers, philanthropists, and others have worked for decades to improve education by implementing new policies and practices to better serve students. But the desired improvement has been elusive – more sporadic (and anecdotal) than systemic. Success can be difficult to sustain, and what works in one school may not work on the campus down the street.

Research-based initiatives should drive what happens in classrooms and schools. However, too often we see that new education initiatives fade away or have mixed results over time. Commonly, the “what” – the new program or initiative – gets most of the attention. But “how” that change will happen gets too little focus.

Why? What is missing?

Our recent research with four district partners revealed certain conditions that need to be in place for practice and policy change to occur. While our research is specific to Principal Talent Management (PTM), what we describe as the practices and policies for recruiting, supporting, and retaining effective principals, we believe these conditions may also apply to other efforts to improve schools for students and families.

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