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Jsl Vol 4-N2

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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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Editorial: A Practitioner’s Perspective

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Almost since the inception of public education in the United States, Americans have been alternately searching for an intellectual North-west Passage,1 deliberating over their destination, or even questioning the value of the journey. Efforts to reform (or at least, re-form) the schools seem to have begun while the sound of the first school bell still reverberated in the air. Far more than 95 theses have been written in this country’s ongoing, yet apparently futile attempts at school reformation. Why has so much time, expense, and energy shown so little effect?

Over 150 years ago, Tocqueville remarked: “I do not believe there is a country in the world where, in proportion to the population, there are so few ignorant and at the same time so few learned individuals” (1835/1945, p. 54). Although the second half of this assertion is likely to meet with little disagreement, the first half has lost its ring of truth: “Fully 17 percent of American seventeen-year-olds are functionally illiterate” (Reich, 1991, p. 227). “A middling standard is fixed in America for human knowledge” (Tocqueville, 1835/1945, p. 55). Again and again, American students come in last or near the bottom in comparisions with students in foreign lands (see Stevenson and Stigler, 1992).

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“. . . and justice for all:” Critical Perspectives on Outcomes-Based Education in the Context of Secondary School Restructuring

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COLLEEN A. CAPPER1

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine a high school significantly involved in school restructuring to determine if and to what extent restructuring serves particular values and interests and silences others. The conceptual framework for the study was a combination of critical and poststructural theories which examine how power is exercised and the potential for change via the interactions and contradictions among subjectivity, power, language, and unquestioned, underlying assumptions. The design of this study was based on qualitative inquiry, and procedures included interviews, classroom observations, and document analysis within one small rural high school. Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of this restructuring was the lack of consideration given to social power issues and student identity (subjectivity), both in terms of “structural power”— students, parents, and community—and “social power”—such as social class, gender, race, and other areas of difference. The basic elements of the school’s restructuring work—outcomes, success, all students—were embraced without discussion concerning power issues and their obligation to students for their participation in a democratic society. This aspect of restructuring represented the largest gap between the school’s socialization of their students into American culture via such routines as the morning pledge to the flag, their motto of “success for all,” and their actual practices.

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Women’s Perceptions of the Superintendency

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MARILYN L. GRADY1 *

THERESA OURADA-SIEB1

LINDA H. WESSON2

ABSTRACT: The majority of students enrolled in graduate programs in educational administration are women. However, few of these students aspire to be superintendents. This study was undertaken to identify the sources of job satisfaction, the benefits of the job, the sources of self-fulfillment, and the personal strengths that women bring to the superintendent’s role. The study results are based on interviews with 51 women superintendents from rural and urban settings. For individuals considering assuming a superintendent’s position, the findings offer a positive portrait of the superintendency from the perspectives of the women interviewed.

The literature concerning the superintendency is based on the experiences of men in that role. Because the majority of the students enrolled in graduate programs in educational administration are women and because there are a number of women superintendents in the United States, it is important to develop a portrait of the superintendency from the perspectives of women in that role.

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Empowered Leadership: Realizing the Good News

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CAROLYN SHIELDS1

EARLE NEWTON2

ABSTRACT: As we began our study of four schools’ participation in a major School Improvement Program (Saskatchewan, Canada), we were particularly interested in examining the practice of leadership and the lessons that might be learned from both successful and less successful change initiatives concerning leadership for positive educational change. We analyzed our data from two perspectives: the technical, political, and cultural frames advanced by Corbett and Rossman (1989), and the disciplines of the learning organization identified by Senge (1990). Findings suggest that provincial guidelines discuss but do not define leadership and that leadership as practiced most frequently consists largely of disconnected decisions, behaviors, and actions. The dual analysis provides support for our contention that a view of leadership that emphasizes the development of shared vision and systems thinking, and which encourages constant learning, renewal, and increased empowerment for all participants might provide more consistent momentum and more positive results.

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Diversity, Power and Influence: Multiple Perspectives on the Ethics of School Leadership

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ULRICH C. REITZUG1

ABSTRACT: The intersection and clash between prevailing norms of schooling and increasing sensitivity to diversity raises a host of previously ignored ethical considerations for school administrators. These ethical issues remain largely invisible to many school leaders and thus are addressed only minimally or inadequately. This paper explores ethical issues of diversity, power and influence that are embedded in leadership and school practices. Ethical criteria suggested by various perspectives are examined and an argument is presented that ethical issues can be more thoroughly addressed by using criteria from multiple perspectives. It is only when ethical issues of diversity are explicitly addressed that leadership and schools can become moral and empowering.

In today’s schools, there is an increased sensitivity to diversity. Sensitivity to diversity recognizes cultural differences due to race, ethnicity, gender, and class, as well as opinion differences due to varying beliefs concerning appropriate educational practice. Evidence of sensitivity to cultural diversity is found in practices such as multicultural curricula, while evidence of sensitivity to diversity of belief is found in shared decision-making interventions such as site-based management. In many ways, however, schools continue to operate in the same manner they always have. Cultural norms of school policies and practices remain those of the white, middle-class culture, and empirical data on site-based management implementation points to a continuation of top-down principal leadership (see Reitzug and Capper, 1992).

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Home v. School: Issues for School Leaders in Reporting Child Abuse

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CAROLYN L. WANAT1

LELIA В. HELMS1

JANE E. ROSIEN1

ABSTRACT: Reporting of child abuse occurring in the home and reporting of abuse occurring in school settings are two separate and distinct issues requiring different responses by school administrators. However, the laws mandating reporting by educators do not differentiate between these two sources of abuse. The different sources of abuse result in different incentive structures for reporting by educators and in many of the present obstacles to compliance with the law. Development of more appropriate strategies to enhance reporting of child abuse depends upon an understanding by school leaders of this distinction and its impact upon practice.

School personnel have a moral and legal responsibility to help students who suffer from child abuse and neglect by parents and guardians. An extensive body of professional literature informs administrators, teachers, and other school personnel about characteristics of abused children. Through daily contact with children in the classroom, lunchroom, and playground, teachers and other school personnel are well-positioned to identify child abuse. Yet, the educational and legal literatures consistently describe the failure of teachers and school personnel to fulfill their legally mandated responsibilities to report known or suspected cases of child abuse and neglect.

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