Our goal in this paper is not to undertake an exhaustive review of the literature on school improvement, but rather to frame or perhaps reframe this work. Specifically, we stand back from scholarship that falls under the school improvement rubric and develop a conceptual scaffold for thinking about this line of research and its relation to teaching and learning in schools.
What would it mean for democratic community to be the center for educational leadership in schools, and how would this choice re-culture the profession?
Researchers and leaders for social justice,
then, seek to define the theories and practices of leadership that are
vital to creating greater freedom, opportunity, and justice for all citizens—citizens
who, through public education, are better able to participate
in and sustain a free, civil, multicultural, and democratic society.
We begin with a brief historical review describing the evolution of teacher leadership
since the early 1900s. Then we examine teacher research as a form of
teacher leadership. We explore several models of distributive school
leadership. Finally we consider self-managed teams as means of teacher
leadership and substitutes for administrative leadership.
This chapter begins with an identification of how work roles have
changed, and are changing, in the 21st century. This change is represented
primarily by greater complexity in how work is performed. In
light of this change, the remainder of the chapter focuses on the internal
and external complexities that contribute to reshaping the principal’s
In this chapter, we seek answers by examining the discourse of the superintendency to try to determine what has shaped the role previously and what is likely to shape it in the future.
The chapter begins by examining the natural tensions that exist among groups, both lay and professional, that have different local, state, and national perspectives and responsibilities. It then explores the potential of lay volunteers in altering
school culture for the better, and the role of laypeople in formally
defined roles on school boards and advisory councils. The chapter concludes
with a proposal for repositioning lay leadership to better meet
the needs of our increasingly diverse public.
The organizing framework for this chapter is school improvement,
democratic and collaborative community, and social justice and how
educational leadership preparation programs can meet these collective
challenges. Specifically, the authors discuss the needed content and
instructional focus of preparation programs, as well as various preparation
program design elements, such as program structure, field experiences,
and faculty and students.
This chapter discusses the professional development of principals
as it exists and as it might be. We begin by examining the problems
and paradoxes traditionally associated with the professional development
of principals. Next, we propose a new conceptual framework to
enhance the continuous learning of school leaders.
To explore the gendered construction of educational management, two metaphors--mother and visionary--are deconstructed to expose gendered assumptions in these alternative images of leadership.
The author describes his own mixed feelings regarding The American School Superintendent: Leading in an Age of Pressure.
How do values of "learner-centeredness" get
played out in schools? How do leaders work within their schools to
build community? How are norms and structures built and sustained
that keep a school focused on students' lives and their learning? What
does it take to build commitment and motivate teachers to become an
inquiring community? How do leaders think about and act on their
own individual interests and concerns while dealing with the collective
work of running a school? How do they cope with the distractions of
daily problems as they struggle to improve the quality of life and
learning in the school?
To find answers to these questions we held individual and group
interviews with both the current and past school directors, made a series
of observations in their schools, and studied the documents produced by
the schools. These research efforts provided us with an opportunity to
learn not only about issues of leadership, but also about how these
schools were created, and how norms, values, and practices have been
maintained through successions of leadership and variations in style.
Thomas Edison Elementary School in Sacramento
is a prototype of the California challenge. Edison is one of fifty-one
elementary schools among the eighty-nine schools in the San Juan
Unified School District. Edison's early success in meeting its challenges are due to a major
transformation of the school that has been undertaken by Edison staff,
students, and parents. Edison is one of the growing number of schools
that are following the Accelerated Schools process to bring all students
into the academic mainstream by the end of their elementary
schooling and to give them further support at the middle and secondary
Despite the failure of SDM to live up to its hype, there is something intrinsically appealing about the notion that school administration derives its just powers from the consent of the governed, at least the adult governed. At a time when industry has moved toward greater worker participation in management, it seems only fair that teachers, too, have a say in conditions that affect their work lives.
The purpose.of this chapter is to show how teacher leadership
emerges, what teacher leaders do, and how teacher leaders think about
themselves as they take on new roles. Data for the study were collected
through written responses to questions, interviews, observation,
and analysis of documents.
In this chapter I report on Aguilar Elementary School's rather remarkable story,
using numerous quotations taken from taped records of my group
sessions with the faculty. Then I reexamine teacher leadership
through the lens of Aguilar; its case offers fresh insights on the
problems and possibilities for educational change.
In this volume, the authors wrestle with the changing contexts that
surround the work, the roles, and the responsibilities of educational
leaders for the next generation of children and youth. What we have
learned and are learning about children, their families, their teachers,
their schools, their communities, and about how children learn and
how they are taught is important for how we plan to organize and
administer tomorrow's schools. The focus is on how educational
leadership relates to ideological, institutional, and individual transformations
that occur in abundance as society evolves. It is a volume
where the authors audit some dimensions of the human condition
relevant to teaching and learning and extract meaning and significance
for those who expect to lead and administer our schools.
I am interested in how images of loss, belonging, and becoming are
shaping social policy and school reform in late twentieth-century
America. In particular, I want to explore what challenges the collusion
and collision of these three themes place on educational leaders for
tomorrow's schools. Thus, this chapter is organized as follows: (a) a
critical explanation and examination of loss, belonging, and becoming
as central themes in human development and social policy for public
education; (b) a look at the implications of these three themes on how
we govern, administer, and operate public schools; and (c) a
discussion of how recent social policy and school reform responses to
loss, belonging, and becoming relate to the sociohistorical pursuit of
educational equity and excellence.
The current fragmentation across children's
services represents a fundamental failure to confront the comprehensive
needs of children, youth, and adults. Those responsible for
providing services to children have neglected to begin with the simple,
provocative question: What is it like to be a child who needs help? The current top-down policy approach operates from the organizational
perspective of the multiple providers. We outline here the changing
conditions and needs of children to form a basis for analyzing the
effectiveness of the current services delivered to them. We then move
to the conditions of the services as they presently exist, and to
prescriptions for improving and reconceptualizing policies and
administrative approaches. Finally, we delineate the role of the schools
in this new conceptualization.
We believe there are
problems in how schools relate to different family structures, in how
schools fit into diverse communities, in how schools perform their
roles, and in what the proper roles are. Thus this chapter is a critical
essay rather than a comprehensive review of research literature on
families, communities, and their relationships with schools.
Essentially, three questions guide our excursion on the nature and
status of school, family, and community relations.
I. Where did our current conceptions of the family and the
community originate, and how do these idealized concepts relate to
the political, social, and demographic realities of the 1980s and 1990s?
2. What are meaningful indicators of family, community, and
3. What is meant by the terms "school-community relations" and
In this chapter, we will assess the prospects for school reform by
examining the evidence on the nature of effective schools and their
relationship to teachers and school leaders. We will argue that the
effectiveness research, although a sound beginning for understanding
successful school practices, moved from the laboratory to the real
world before research elucidated more precise yet context-driven
procedures of effective practices.
This chapter is based on the assumption that the relationship
between teachers and principals is at the crux of school restructuring)
Moreover, it is assumed that the notion of "principal" will not
disappear in the immediate future. The American public school
system is too much a conservative social institution to expect a radical
departure from traditional structures of authority and accountability.
However, it is assumed that the concept of educational leadership will
evolve dramatically over the next decade. In other words, tomorrow's
schools will have principals, but the schools will be led in a much
The purposes of this chapter are to (1) describe the fundamental
public sector management strategies and their historic application to
United States education; (2) analyze assumptions contained in the
currently dominant, bureaucratic management strategy and specify
why those assumptions increasingly may fail to make sense; (3)
speculate regarding the models that appear to be evolving to compete
with pyramidal bureaucracy as a dominant mode of school
management; and (4) project the consequences of a shift in
management strategies for administrator practice and preparation and
systematic inquiry about educational administration.
A high school administrator adopts a feminist approach to administration.
This article considers the implications of teacher empowerment for school leadership.
Using faculty recollections of Burton Blatt's tenure as Dean of the School of Education at Syracuse University, this article considers how Blatt was able to have such a powerful impact on his faculty, and what can be learned about the concept of leadership of academic organizations from his legacy.
Curriculum workers, supervisors, and others in leadership roles
are frequently daunted by essentially political forces and pressures that
call for compromise of professional standards or ethics or the diversion
of energies intended to benefit children to other and less legitimate
activities. In some cases, the pressures take the form of mandates or
their equivalent from state governments, state agencies, or other
powerful entities seeking to accomplish certain broad social or
political goals through the instrument of public education. In other
cases, the pressures are more localized and originate with parents, both
individually and collectively, with boards of education, or with the
administrative officers of the local school district. On occasion the
pressures come from prestigious persons, organizations, or other
opinion-influencing entities such as the media. Whatever their origins
or their merit, such pressures sometimes pose enormous problems for
supervisors and eventually dilute, alter, or imperil the overall quality
of educational services. In this chapter we examine these pressures and
consider how curriculum workers are affected by and deal with them.
This chapter is devoted to an explication of how
school principals would promote curriculum work if the metaphor of
teacher as classroom executive were used as a basic guide for
leadership. Research evidence to support the use of this metaphor is
included. The chapter ends with a set of recommendations about how
principal preparation programs might be reconceptualized to make the
use of the classroom executive metaphor more prevalent in schools.