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Jsl Vol 3-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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9 Articles

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Creating Successful Schools for All Children: A Proven Step

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C. M. ACHILLES1

B. A. NYE2

J. B. ZAHARIAS3

B. D. FULTON3

ABSTRACT: Research on class size in early primary grades (K–3) is showing the efficacy of small classes (p ≤ .01) of 1:15. Application of these early experimental results in 17 poor counties was followed by a major rise in the average rank of the 17 systems among the state’s system. Additional studies show the lasting benefits to pupils through grade 5 of having been in 1:15 classes during K–3.

Professors should disseminate these results, and administrators should actively apply these—and other—research results in their quest for successful schools for all children.

The rush for “new reform” initiatives, perhaps as exemplified by the New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC), may overlook solid research that identifies approaches that have shown their efficacy in creating schools that work well for all children. The growing influx to the schools of children who will need special services as part of their education (Hamburg, 1992; Hodgkinson, 1991) and the growing diversity of those whom public education must serve (e.g., ethnic and language differences) require that those in education continue to seek improvements in the education process and to apply professionally serious research results instead of holding blindly to conventional folk wisdoms of by-gone eras. In seeking improvement, educators must work through the thorny thicket that grows from the garden of success. The more successful educators are educating a literate, questioning population, the more educators can expect questioning of current practice and, concurrently, an underlying change-resistant attitude of “why change it, it worked fine for me.” The prior conundrums describe the position of this article–relying on something old such as reduced class sizes in primary grades (folk wisdom) as a strategy for education improvement. A major difference between this suggestion and many other folk remedies, however, is the extent of the underlying research base supporting the idea.

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An Investigation of School Superintendents’ Views of School Funding Problems and School Finance Reform in Tennessee

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MARILYN A. HIRTH1

ABSTRACT: Current or potential legal challenges have forced many states to scrutinize and reform their existing school finance structures. Many states are experiencing similar school finance problems; therefore, in an effort to provide information that may be beneficial to other states and superintendents, school funding, tax reform, and education reform in Tennessee are examined. It was the purpose of this study to request information from superintendents concerning the extent and impact of budget cuts for 1991–1992, solicit their opinions on tax reform, ask their impression of the small school system lawsuit (Tennessee Small School Systems v. McWherter, 1988), and assess the effect of proposed Basic Education Program (BEP) requirements on special education programs in their local school district.

A crisis situation in the funding of public schools is evident throughout the United States. Augenblick, Fulton and Pipho (1991) recount that many state policy makers are disturbed that, recently, plaintiffs in Montana, Kentucky, Texas and New Jersey have been successful in their school finance litigation. Tennessee policy makers are equally concerned that school funding in Tennessee is at a critical stage. In Tennessee’s first round of school finance litigation, Tennessee Small School Systems v. McWherter (1988), a Chancery Court decision in favor of small school districts ruled that the current system of school funding is not uniform, and is therefore in violation of the “equal protection” provisions in the Tennessee constitution. The judge assigned responsibility to the state legislature to reform school finance before June 30, 1992. However, the case is now under appeal to Tennessee’s Supreme Court and due for trial.

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Parent Education: Key to Successful Alternative Education Programs

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CHARLES D. BUROKER1

PHILLIP E. MESSNER2 *

B. CHARLES LEONARD2

A major determinate of effective schools is the involvement of parents in their children’s learning and schooling. This is especially true for districts with a significant program population of at-risk students. It is accepted generally that parental involvement helps influence educational achievement. Some schools, however, are hesitant to find or develop constructive means to involve parents in their educational programs (Cole, Kelbley, Messner and Ryan, 1990). Historically, parent involvement in their children’s schooling is as American as apple pie. Local control (i.e., parent involvement) has been the cornerstone of the American public educational system. However, changing demographics and ever-increasing levels of poverty in families of school-age children have required schools to seek out parents and encourage them to reenter the schoolhouse door and once again become active in their child’s education program. The purpose of this article is twofold: (1) to examine the relationship between parental involvement and alternative education programs; and (2) to report the results of a highly successful parent education program.

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Emerging Perspectives on Planning and Change Processes

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ROBERT H. BEACH1

ABSTRACT: The development of ideas in planning and change has been affected by empirical studies from practice. Historical theories relative to planned change are being modified by this impact and are shifting toward more flexible and people oriented processes, better tailored to the unique conditions found in schools. An overview of planning and change theory is presented with a discussion as to how observations from practice are being integrated with this theory. The implications of this merging of theory and practice for the educational leader contemplating change are considered in the context of an evolving knowledge base informed by practice.

Educational planning as a profession and as a field of study dealing with practice has evolved, perhaps even matured, over the last two decades. Old traditional ideas have been tested and new concepts have emerged. Theory has informed practice; however, to a far greater extent, practice has forced theory into a more field-oriented posture. The intent of this article is to provide those responsible for implementing school reform–educational leaders–with a synopsis of current planning and change theory, to discuss how professional practice has informed that theory, and to suggest how emerging perspectives on educational planning and change might be applied best in the present period of school improvement.

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Mentoring and Shadow Consulting: Keys to Enhancing Novice and Veteran School Administrator Training

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MARIA M. SHELTON1

JERRY J. HERMAN2

ABSTRACT: Countless school administrators will soon be retiring, and as a result, school systems must proactively help novice administrators quickly “learn the ropes.” Two ways to assist novices are: (1) mentoring, and (2) shadow consulting. Mentoring entails coupling a respected, experienced administrator with the novice and moving the novice to higher levels of productivity and effectiveness. Shadow consulting places a shadow consultant with the novice who monitors the individual’s daily routine, provides the individual with performance feedback, and helps the individual develop a personal improvement plan. Mentoring and shadow consulting are excellent vehicles for “bringing novices on board” and “improving veteran administrators’ skills.”

With the knowledge that numerous school leaders will be retiring within the next five years, it is imperative that school districts develop well-thought-through systems of assisting their replacements, who are inexperienced, with immediate and continuing assistance. Coupling the new principal, assistant principal or other category of administrator with a mentor is the preferred structure to ensure that this assistance is available.

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Women and Minorities in Educational Administration: Programs and Processes That Work

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SANDRA TONNSEN* 1

VALERIE TRUESDALE2

ABSTRACT: This article reviews two studies that sought to identify strategies and programs that increase the likelihood that women and minorities will become school administrators. It ends with recommendations for school districts and school administrators, for educational administration training programs, and for women and minorities themselves.

The percentage of women and minorities in the policy making positions of public school administration (K–12) is extremely low. In 1905, when 97.9% of elementary teachers were women, 61.7% of their principals were women. In 1984–85, women held only 16.9% of the elementary principalships. The percentage of female secondary principals dropped from 7.9% in 1928 to 3.5% in 1984–85. The percentage of female superintendents has increased only slightly, from 1.6% in 1928 to 3% in 1984–85 (Shakeshaft, 1988) to 3.7% in 1988 (Jones and Montenegro, 1988).

Minorities fare no better. In 1978, only 11.5% of all administrative positions were held by minorities: 8.1% by minority men and 3.4% by minority women (Haven, Adkinson, and Bagley, 1980). Only 15% of the principals in this country are minorities. Furthermore, only 3.1% of the superintendents nationwide are minorities (Jones and Montenegro, 1988). Due to the paucity of women and minorities in school administration, two studies recently have been undertaken to identify strategies that improve opportunities for these two groups. One study sought to identify employment practices and procedures at the district level that enhance the probability that women will obtain secondary principalships. The other study, funded in part by the Southeastern Educational Improvement Laboratory (SEIL), sought to identify successful administrator training programs for women and minorities in the southeastern United States.

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The Administrative Role in an Accountability Network: A Developmental Conceptualization

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DONALD F. DeMOULIN1

ROBBIE KENDALL2

ABSTRACT: Americans have always viewed education as an instrument for the common good as well as for individual enhancement. Today, with chronically low student achievement scores, this view has been questioned by the populace. School leaders have come under close scrutiny concerning district and/or building operations. Local citizens have not only called for teacher accountability in the classroom, but have also increased the accountability call for administration as they demand evidence of school excellence amidst increased property taxes. Although educators have received the brunt of the accountability exchanges, basically a function of increasing educational expenditures and decreasing student achievement scores, responsibility for educational success or failure does not rest solely on the shoulders of educators. Citizens need to acquire a true understanding of accountability and become part of an effective accountability network. The administration must then assume the critical role in establishing a workable accountability network to initiate continuity of operations leading to school success. The questions then become: (1) What is accountability in education? (2) What is an effective accountability network? (3) What leadership role does the principal play in the accountability process?

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Teacher Leader Program: Meeting the Graduate Education Needs of the Classroom

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J. A. KISCH1

E. JEAN HARPER1

PHILLIP E. MESSNER1

America’s elementary and secondary school teachers are rapidly becoming “thirty something” and older. This trend is likely to remain constant into the 21st century. High school seniors who plan to pursue teaching as a profession were asked how many years they planned to teach. Only 13 percent planned to spend one to three years, and 34 percent planned to spend four to nine years teaching. However, the majority, 53 percent, expected to spend from ten to twenty years in the teaching profession (Kemper and Mangieri, 1987). These trends have implications for the planning, development and delivery of graduate education programs. The number of females in the work force generally, and specifically, the number of females choosing to teach, is on the increase. Traditionally, more than 50 percent of the bachelor degrees conferred in education have been awarded to females (National Center for Education Statistics, 1985). The graduate education student is likely to be a veteran classroom teacher who attends graduate school after a long day of teaching and leaves graduate school to return home to the responsibilities of raising and caring for a family. An understanding of the demographics, plans and problems of teachers entering graduate school will enable graduate school educators to provide better quality programs, to tap the under-utilized talent of the mature classroom teacher, and to have a direct impact on the improvement of academic achievement for students in the K–12 sector. Classroom teachers who believe that their needs are being met will experience enhanced learning (Krupp, 1982) and be able to use their professional talents more effectively. They will be more inclined to enroll in and complete a master’s program in education that offers challenges based on the appropriate application of adult learning theory.

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The Assistant Principal: Neglected Actor in Practitioner Leadership Literature

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GARY N. HARTZELL1

ABSTRACT: Both principals and assistant principals are site level administrators, and both are charged with leadership responsibilities in the school. Nonetheless, the organizational contexts in which they each attempt to fulfill those responsibilities differ in substantial and important ways. There are at least three reasons for this: (1) principals and their assistants are at different levels in the hierarchy; (2) they perform different duties; and (3) they are perceived differently by their subordinates. Because they work in differing contexts, principals and assistant principals face different leadership challenges.

While there clearly are leadership consistencies to be found across contexts, there are also significant differences to be discerned between them. An examination of the principal’s position as a first-level leader in contrast to the assistant principal’s position as a second-level leader points to these differences, and supports the notion that it is in the best interests of both research and practice to address them. These contextual differences have implications for educational leadership researchers, for beginning administrator training programs, and for the development of principals as first-level leaders.

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