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Jsl Vol 10-N6

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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4 Articles

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A Case Study of Democratic Accountability and School Improvement

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CAROL A. MULLEN
THOMAS H. GRAVES

ABSTRACT: This case study examines ways to improve schools through “democratic accountability.” The study investigated strategies that were used by a principal to increase staff and student expectations in a low-performing middle school. Information was collected through interviews and surveys with school stakeholders at all levels of involvement. The article concludes by raising issues for leaders regarding building the capacity of schools to sustain improvement.

I would have never thought this school could be turned around so quickly.

(Superintendent, school climate survey)

This school was the “wild west” when the new principal arrived. I thought it would take years to get under control—boy was I wrong! With great enforcement of rules for both teachers and students, with a facilitative structure of leadership, and with everyone (students, teachers, and parents) knowing what was expected, life became very good!

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Educational Policy in a Media-Driven Age: The Rise of PRolicy

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CATHERINE A.LUGG

ABSTRACT: This article analyzes the rise of PRolicy (Public Relations public policy), as it relates to educational policy, by examining the first Reagan administration and its use of media manipulation to shape public perceptions of its educational policy agendas. The article explores how PRolicy shapes both educational policy and strengthens borders and uses the legacy of the first Reagan administration as an example that continues to affect current educational policy. The article concludes with a discussion of PRolicy and implications for educational policy researchers, teachers, and administrators.

We are trying to mold public opinion by marketing strategies.

—Reagan Administration Advisor Bill Henkel (Smith, 1988, p. 418)

It has become quite the academic vogue to examine the boundaries that divide students and U.S. society along lines of race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. This exploration is undertaken in hopes of improving educational and administrative practices to facilitate better outcomes for those students who have been historically deemed as “other.” Educators are now supposed to “teach to transgress” (hooks, 1994) and “cross borders” (Giroux, 1992) in the quest of ensuring that public education becomes a liberating tonic for historically disenfranchised groups (Lugg, 1997).

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School Bureaucracies That Work: Enabling, Not Coercive

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WAYNE K. HOY
SCOTT R. SWEETLAND

ABSTRACT: Two conflicting views of the consequences of bureaucracy emerge from the literature. Some studies demonstrate that bureaucracy alienates and frustrates, while other research finds that bureaucracy increases satisfaction and innovation. This analysis is an attempt to reconcile these two theoretically opposing perspectives by creating and testing a new construct, which we call “enabling bureaucracy.” The empirical results are encouraging and suggest that schools can be designed with formalized procedures and hierarchical structures that help rather than hinder. Indeed, teachers report that some rules help rather than constrain and some hierarchies facilitate teaching and learning. In such schools teacher alienation is reduced and trust among colleagues is fostered.

Virtually all modern organizations are bureaucracies; that is, they have the classical bureaucratic properties (hierarchy of authority, division of labor, impersonality, objective standards, technical competence, rules, and regulations) described by Weber (1947) in his seminal analysis of organizations. In practice, the word bureaucracy takes on many connotations, most of them negative. But Weber claims that “Experience tends to universally show that the purely bureaucratic type of administrative organization … is, from a purely technical point of view, capable of attaining the highest degree of efficiency” (1947, p. 337). Yet, contemporary criticisms of bureaucracy are rampant. For example, Scott (1998) describes four bureaucratic pathologies—alienation, overconformity, unresponsiveness, and relentlessness—each of which is pervasive and has negative consequences for participants. Feminists attack bureaucracy and argue that it is fundamentally a male invention that rewards masculine virtues and values such as competition, power, and hierarchy (Ferguson, 1984; Martin & Knopoff, 1999). And school executives criticize state bureaucracies for impeding local control of schools and preventing them from delivering educational programs that meet community needs. What most of these criticisms have in common is the human frustration and aggravation with hierarchy, technical procedures, and unfair and restrictive rules (Hirschhorn, 1997).

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Money Isn’t Everything: Teaching School Finance in a Leadership Development Program

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MARGARET L. PLECKI

ABSTRACT: This article describes an approach for preparing school-based educational leaders in school finance. In this approach, finance is treated as a learning opportunity that can assist school leaders in addressing the moral, ethical, political, and resource-related tensions that they face in their daily enactment of leadership responsibilities. The article begins with a brief overview of the general leadership challenge and discusses the particular matter of preparing school leaders to effectively manage resources and resource-related decision-making at the school site. The article then presents a conceptual framework and an instructional approach for teaching school finance in a leadership development program. In this framework, school finance serves as a forum for wrestling with the challenge of making difficult choices among competing interests in a manner that advances the school’s capacity for improvement. Finally, some observations from school leaders who have participated in such an approach are provided to illuminate the main argument of the article.

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