In this mixed-methods study, we examine the degree to which district-and building-level administrators accommodate teacher-quality and test-based accountability policies in their hiring practices. We find that administrators negotiated local hiring goals with characteristics emphasized by federal and state teacher-quality policies, such as knowledge of the subject and teaching skills. While district administrators and principals largely "bridged" to external certification requirements, some principals "buffered" their hiring decisions from the pressures of test-based accountability. Principals who bridged to test-based accountability gave greater weight to subject knowledge and teaching skills. We find that bridging and buffering differs by policy and cannot be easily applied to accountability policies. Specifically, separating the indirect effect of external accountability from other policies influencing principal hiring is difficult. Our analysis also highlights tensions among local, state, and federal policies regarding teacher quality and the potential of accountability to permeate noninstructional school decision making.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/william_ingle/1/