Skip to main content

Arkansas State University

Top Issues School Principals Are Facing Today

School principals are key figures in students’ lives and some of the most critical educational leaders in K-12 grades. As professionals who wear many hats every day, principals have adapted their role over the years to include increasingly more tasks and responsibilities. This position is changing so rapidly that professionals in the field will likely see their jobs completely transform over the next few years.

However, an advanced degree in educational leadership in principalship can equip professionals for school leadership roles. The following are some current issues principals deal with daily:

  1. Inequity

It would be naïve to assume that all schools in the country have the same access to funding and opportunities. However, the inequity between states, counties and schools is one of the biggest culprits of social disparity, particularly for public education.

“External forces, such as policy mandates without funding, implicit bias and low expectations, the political climate, racial and social injustice, etc., all manifest themselves in the schoolhouse each day,” middle school principal Dr. Sanée Bell writes for Education Week. “Leaders are responsible for ensuring that students are receiving an exceptional education in a supportive environment that promotes equity for all.”

  1. Individual Needs of Students

Poverty, classroom sizes, family background and race are among the top factors that contribute to inequity in the classroom. Other factors can, however, play an essential role in assuring the academic success of all students.

A 21st-century approach to education calls for more individualized teaching — particularly for special education students. In addition, more pupils have accessibility needs, which means principals must work together with other school leaders, such as curriculum specialists and teachers, to provide the tools each student needs to succeed. In order to be in touch with the latest resources and leadership tactics, many aspiring and current school principals choose to pursue an advanced degree focusing on educational leadership, for example.

  1. Students’ Mental Health

Another issue concerning the lives of pupils is mental health. Although bullying has always been an issue in schools (albeit only recently acknowledged as such), access to technology has complicated the principals’ jobs even more since it’s hard to pinpoint a situation that happens outside of school grounds on a virtual realm.

Grace Chen from Public School Review notes, “In addition to the growing numbers of cyberbullying complaints, the intensity of the behavior may be on the rise. Some students have transferred schools after the bullying simply became too widespread to deal with any longer. There have even been reports of student suicides that have been linked to various bullying tactics, including cyberbullying.”

Principals should work with teachers and parents to discuss bullying (including cyberbullying), respond to incidents with immediate consequences and work to avoid future harassment instances.

  1. Parental Involvement

One of the rising trends of the decade is the closer parent involvement in children’s education. With social media and society’s reliance on phones, parents can be more present and aware of their children’s behavior in school. Of course, there are pros and cons to increased parental involvement, but principals are encouraged to use the help of parents to guide students to do their best.

  1. Work-Life balance

While technology has benefits, it muddles the line between work and rest. Taking work home is common for many school principals, but it often costs one’s well-being and mental health in the long run. A school needs a healthy educational leader who will be at their best when making important decisions that affect many people’s lives.

In her article for Education Week, Denisa R. Superville suggests principals do the following to maintain a smooth work-life balance: “Empower administrative assistants to manage daily schedule, meetings, and flow of paperwork; commit to spending at least two days a week out of your office and in classrooms; delegate authority to the experts in your buildings.”

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, Principalship program.


Education Week:
Response: Challenges Principals Face & How to Respond to Them
‘I Want a Job and a Life’: How Principals Find Balance in All-Consuming Work

Public School Review: Should Public Schools Regulate Cyberbullying?

Related Articles

Request Information

Submit the form below, and an Enrollment Specialist will contact you to answer your questions.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Or call 866-621-8096

Ready to go?

Start your application today!
Or call 866-621-8096 866-621-8096
for help with any questions you have.
  • Choose All That Apply