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Professional Administrators for America's Schools

reviewed by David B. Austin - 1960

coverTitle: Professional Administrators for America's Schools
Author(s): American Association of School Administrators
Publisher: John Wiley, New York
ISBN: , Pages: , Year:
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Two chapters of this, the final yearbook of the AASA, deserve the attention of all thoughtful educators. They point strongly to some of the most critical strengths and weaknesses of American public education. The first chapter, "A Board Seeks a Superintendent," is a disguised true report of the process whereby an actual (and probably superior) group of lay leaders searched for an executive officer to head their schools. The second chapter reports an extensive study appropriately called "Profile of the Superintendent."

The remainder of this volume suffers from many of the usual limitations of writing done by a commission rather than by a skilled individual. There are internal inconsistencies and vexatious voids. It is pertinent to canvass practicing superintendents concerning their judgment about the values and limitations of their programs of preparation and then to ignore certain major specifics of their responses in developing a proposed program for the preparation of future superintendents. Is the superintendent the only school administrator about whose professional preparation we should be concerned? The wording of parts of this text, as well as the findings of some of the studies reported, reflect a vague concern for "the administrator" in the educational scene. But the superintendent, important as he is, is still numerically of minor significance when one responds to questions such as "Does your college maintain a program for the preparation of school administrators?" There is really a remarkable number of principals abroad in the land!

Nevertheless, we have here some stimulating reading for those concerned with the professionalization of the superintendency, for those who help select candidates for this position, and for those who themselves hope one day to become chief administrator in a public school system. Evident, too, is compromise between differing positions represented by the membership on this commission, as well as the usual bias, championing of causes, and high-level careful study of the real potential of the superintendency as a unique and strategic role in the future of American free public education.

The commission is to be commended for its objectivity and its preparation of a reasonable document which may provide significant help in "making school administration the profession its leaders covet and often claim." In turn, the Association is to be commended for its decision to abandon this type of yearbook. Its weaknesses are too great in contrast to other forms of professional publications sponsored by this and other educational associations.


Teachers College, Columbia University

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 62 Number 3, 1960, p. 254-254
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 3233, Date Accessed: 11/29/2021 3:21:10 PM

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