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Jsl Vol 5-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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5 Articles

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Curriculum Revision in Educational Leadership: An Institutional Case Record and Retrospective Commentary

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EDDY J. VAN METER1
SUSAN J. SCOLLAY2

ABSTRACT: A great deal of attention has been focused recently on the issue of how best to restructure school leadership preparation in order to meet the educational challenges anticipated over the next decade. In response to this concern, a number of universities have within the past several years initiated school leadership preparation reforms at the Master’s degree, professional certificate, and doctoral degree levels. Often a written record of these program reform initiatives has also been prepared and published so that others might learn from the experience. This article adds to this program restructuring literature by describing how a doctoral studies reform initiative was conducted at one higher education institution, the University of Kentucky. The initiative was supported by the involvement of the University of Kentucky as a participant in Cycle IV of the Danforth Program for Professors of School Administration. The case record as it is presented is enhanced by a concluding reflective commentary that describes additional program refinements developed after the curriculum revision was implemented over a two-year period.

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Perceptions of Ethical Problems Among Senior Educational Leaders

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KEITH D. WALKER1

ABSTRACT: This article describes the ethical problems characterizing the moral wrestlings of senior educational executives. The leaders’ perceived ethical problems are categorized, described and elaborated as ethical misdeeds and quandaries. Ethical misdeeds are described as transgressions against the core ethical values (caring/respect, fairness, professional conduct, resource stewardship, integrity, loyalty, honesty and citizenship) held by these educational administrators. Ethical quandaries are delineated as “grey area” type problems confronting educational administrators in both particular situations (divided interest, value conflicts, means and ends conflicts and “willing but constrained conflicts”) and more systemic problems (scarcity of resources, inequities, employment concerns, student welfare and general leadership challenges).

The field of educational administration has only rarely researched the nature of ethical decision making by senior educational leaders. Leithwood and Musella (1991) were able to locate only thirty-eight studies on the superintendency. Leithwood (1992) has suggested that researchers have tended to focus attention on leader practices in relation to goals, culture, and roles, but that much less attention has been given to the leaders’ internal processes, attitudes, values, and beliefs. “Obviously,” he says, “what leaders do, the roles they practice, is a function of how they feel and think. It makes sense, then, that future research . . . ought to devote more energy to understanding the attitudes, values, beliefs, traits and dispositions of leaders” (p. 179). In the external environment and within the educational system, problems arise that provide daily challenges for educational leaders. Schein (1985) categorized leaders’ response processes to these problems under the headings of “external adaptation” and “internal integration,” Writers such as Sergiovanni (1994, 1992, 1990), Bergquist (1993), Jackson, Boostrom, and Hansen (1993), Quinn (1992), Senge (1990), and Vaill (1989), to name only a few, have suggested that non-mechanistic and non-traditional means are required for examining important realities in human organizations, including everyday ethical problems.

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Reconstructing the Teacher-Administrator Relationship to Achieve Systemic Change

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WENDY POOLE1

ABSTRACT: The transition from hierarchical to collegial relationships between teachers and administrators is examined within the context of a school district that implemented a new model of teacher supervision and evaluation. This new model called for teachers to assume responsibility and accountability for their individual professional growth, and it called for administrators to facilitate and coach teachers to become self-directed and self-evaluating. This transition required teachers and administrators to reconstruct meanings about the teacher-administrator relationship. Meanings constructed by teachers and administrators are examined, along with the interpretive process through which individual and shared meanings developed. Several implications for research and practice are provided.

A constructivist image of schools has recently emerged, within which students and teachers are viewed as active constructors of their knowledge. Within educational leadership theory, the constructivist perspective generally has focused on studies of school culture, and most of these have presented an integrationist perspective (Martin, 1992) which describes school administrators as cultural leaders. Few studies have focused on cultural change-in-action within schools that includes teachers as active participants in the interactive process that leads to the construction and reconstruction of meaning within schools. As a result, cultural leadership is often portrayed as the craft of manipulating cultural understandings to promote the administrator’s personal vision within the school. Such an image overestimates the influence of school administrators, and falsely depicts teachers as relatively passive participants in the construction of meaning.

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The Micropolitics of RE:Learning

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ROBERT L. HAMPEL1

ABSTRACT: From Janice’s journal: Our attempt at integrating curriculum? I taught outlining, and communicated what I was doing to my team. If they could do it too, what great reinforcement, I thought. I even gave out materials so they knew what I had done. All three thought the idea was great. So they said! Pam began to outline her material. Dave ignored it. Last week my kids told me that outlining is now used as a punishment in Steven’s science class. “Be good or you outline two chapters!” HELP!

Not everyone took the chance to innovate and lead, as Janice did in her middle school. Quite a few were like Pam, watchful, cautious, waiting until they knew and saw more. Some were as indifferent and apathetic as Dave, and several scorned the innovations, as Steven did.

Each of those teachers represents one of the four different factions which arose within the member-schools of the Delaware RE:Learning initiative. This article explores the traits of those four perspectives, looks at how the groups ran “steering committees,” and considers the impact of factionalism on the changes the school made.

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Toward a Grid and Group Interpretation of School Culture

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EDWARD L. HARRIS1

ABSTRACT: Mary Douglas’s typology, using grid and group dimensions, provides a means to classify and compare social environments in terms of their differing cultural constraints on individual autonomy. This article uses the Douglas typology to examine the grid and group characteristics of four diverse schools to determine the framework’s applicability to educational settings.

The term “culture” is in vogue in many educational circles. However, there are still conceptual problems that plague cultural researchers including semantics, proper modes of research, and the relationship among the social context, individual cultural members, and educational practice (Frost, Moore, Louis, Lundberg, and Martin, 1985; Sergiovanni, 1991). Firestone and Wilson (1985) pose that the most problematic tasks in cultural research are to identify cultures and to develop means of comparing them as sources of social constraint on individual behavior. Mary Douglas (1982) has developed a typology that has been used to interpret and compare social environments. The purpose of this article is to examine the applicability of her typology to selected educational contexts.

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