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Jsl Vol 8-N4

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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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Organizational Climate and Student Achievement: A Parsimonious and Longitudinal View

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WAYNE K. HOY1, *

JOHN HANNUM2

MEGAN TSCHANNEN-MORAN3

ABSTRACT: Health and openness metaphors are used to develop measures of organizational climate. In addition to socioeconomic status, Environmental Press, Collegial Leadership, Teacher Professionalism, and Academic Press are aspects of climate that make significant, independent contributions to student achievement in basic skills and explain a substantial amount of the variance. Moreover, the influence of school climate on achievement is enduring over several years. The proposed climate framework underscores important linkages between the institutional, managerial, technical, and client levels in service organizations such as schools.

Organizational climate has a rich history in the study of educational organizations. Most of that research, however, has focused on elementary schools (Halpin and Croft, 1963), secondary schools (Hoy, Tarter, and Kottkamp, 1991) and colleges and universities (Pace and Stern, 1958). The current research examines the climate of middle schools; its purpose is to identify those attributes of middle school climate that explain levels of student achievement in reading, mathematics, and writing. More specifically, this paper reviews two major views of organizational climate, synthesizes and develops a parsimonious perspective of school climate, and demonstrates the usefulness of this new perspective in predicting school achievement over time.

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A New Breed of Educational Leadership Faculty Members

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MARTHA M. McCARTHY1, *

GEORGE D. KUH1

Critics of the American K–12 educational system agree on at least two things. First, student learning should drive school improvement efforts. Second, school leaders are responsible in part for student and school performance. One experience that virtually all school leaders have in common is their graduate study, because completion of educational leadership courses is required to obtain state certification as a K–12 administrator. For this reason, it is both curious and irresponsible that the role of the educational leadership professoriate is all but overlooked in most discussions of school improvement efforts.

Reviews of the quality of educational leadership programs are typically done by faculty members themselves. Despite strident criticisms from some professors who have championed changes in preparation programs (Achilles, 1994; Griffiths, 1988; Murphy, 1993), the majority of educational leadership faculty members continue to rate their own programs as good or excellent and express satisfaction with their students and programs (McCarthy and Kuh, 1997). This is problematic, because altering the form and substance of educational leadership preparation programs cannot be done unless faculty members change how they think and what they do. Simply put, if educational leadership faculty members are satisfied with the character of their programs and with their roles, meaningful preparation program reform is unlikely.

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School Board Chairmen and School Superintendents: An Analysis of Perceptions Concerning Special Interest Groups and Educational Governance

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ABE FEUERSTEIN*, 1

V. DARLEEN OPFER2

ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the perceptions of Virginia school board chairmen and superintendents as they relate to local governance issues. These perceptions provide great insight into the problems faced by Virginia school boards—both elected and appointed—in the aftermath of a 1992 law allowing communities to shift from appointed to elected school boards. All superintendents and school board chairmen in the state were surveyed on the following topics: their perceptions concerning school board members’ orientations toward their role as representatives (trustee vs. delegate), their personal attitudes concerning the electoral process, their assessment of interest group involvement in district decision making, their feelings concerning the public’s support of school district policies, and their evaluation of the level of tension between the superintendent and the school board.

School boards are one of the most accessible and familiar forms of representative government available to citizens. Most individuals, by virtue of their extended contact with schools as students and parents, understand the role school boards play in representing communities’ interests. Recently, however, school boards have come under much criticism for hindering school improvement (Danzberger, Kirst, and Usdan, 1992). This criticism, in part, stems from the perception that school boards “increasingly look like collections of special interests” rather than public trustees (Cibulka, 1996). Is this perception correct? If so, things have changed since the early 1970s when Zeigler and his colleagues (1974) found that school board members, while sensitive to the conflicting demands of interest groups, often shared the same views as their constituencies (Zeigler, Jennings, and Peak, 1974). Today the situation appears to be different. Recent studies show that special interest groups are gaining greater influence in local school governance (McCarthy, 1996; Danzberger, 1994; Arocha, 1993).

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The Values of School Administration: Preferences, Ethics, and Conflicts

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PAUL T. BEGLEY1, *

OLOF JOHANSSON2

ABSTRACT: This article reports the findings of two studies focussed on the personal and professional values of school administrators. Two themes were employed as general organizers for the research: the influence of personal preference and trans-rational principles on the problem solving actions of school administrators and the value conflicts that administrators experience in their work. One study was conducted in Umea (Sweden), the other in Toronto (Canada). The conceptual framework integrates Hodgkinson’s (1991) values theory with information processing theory. Action research methods were adopted as a way of overcoming the special problems associated with conducting research on values. Findings suggest that administrators’ personal values are significant influences on problem solving. Specifically, the rational value types of consensus and consequences predominate in the valuation processes of school principals, personal preferences are infrequently articulated, and trans-rational principles are employed under particular circumstances.

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