Report: Education Field Provides Top Leadership Opportunities

A new report finds that the education field is a rewarding place for America's top talent, including young people and professionals of color.

According to The Invisible Lever: A Profile of Leadership and Management Talent in Education, bright managers (many with backgrounds and professional degrees outside of education, such as business, finance, law and technology) who have worked in the education field view the nearly $600-billion sector as a worthwhile, fulfilling place to apply their knowledge and skills.

The report-which is based on a survey of 1,300 professionals who entered a broad range of education leadership jobs beyond the school building-finds that many education organizations, including school districts and charter management organizations, are willing to offer significant management opportunities to young leaders that are on par with, and often exceed, those in the private sector. The report was made possible with support from MetLife Foundation.

Young education leaders are twice as likely to have high-level management responsibility (managing managers or entire functions, groups, or organizations) (23 percent vs. 12 percent). These trends-high rates of employment and significant management responsibility-also hold true for young leaders of color in education. Black and Latino leaders are four times as likely to manage a group as their peers in the private sector (20 percent vs. 4 percent).

Participants in the survey included more than 80 percent of the alumni of Education Pioneers, a national education nonprofit that increases the supply of leadership and management talent in key education organizations such as reform-minded school districts, high-performing charter school networks and innovative education organizations.

Since its founding a decade ago, more than 1,600 Education Pioneers Fellows have brought their unique skill sets to more than 180 education organizations nationwide through the Fellowships. More than 70 percent of those alumni in the workforce have remained in the education sector, representing a significant and forward-thinking segment of emerging educational managers and leaders who guide the work of public schooling in school districts and other organizations.