Fundamental Concepts of Educational Leadership (2nd Edition)

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9780130144911: Fundamental Concepts of Educational Leadership (2nd Edition)

This comprehensive book introduces readers to the general principles of leadership and management as they apply to educational institutions. Written from a systems perspective, it offers the broadest treatment of educational leadership available in a single volume. Major topics discuss systems thinking, leadership contexts, leadership from reform, schools as learning organizations, communication and human interaction, generation and use of information in a learning organization, inquiry, evaluation, strategy formation and implementation, allocation of resources, the impact of technological advances, decision making and change, and leaders for the new millennium. For educational administrators and practitioners.

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From the Inside Flap:

Preface Perspective

If there was ever a time when educational institutions required effective leadership, it is now. This is the first time in the history of the United States that the quality of the education provided for our citizens has been recognized politically as being strategically important to national success and survival. Educational issues are among the major concerns of voters; therefore, not surprisingly, they are debated vigorously by candidates for public office at all levels of government and they are covered regularly on the front pages of major newspapers.

Today's educational leaders need to possess a broad variety of skills that enable them to function comfortably and effectively in changing environments and under highly politicized conditions. In these new circumstances, change is the only constant. The mission of this book is to foster understanding of this reality among those preparing for careers in leading educational institutions and to help develop skills necessary for working competently within them. For better or for worse, this is a dynamic and exciting period in human history. Because of the fluidity of the situation, it is a period of unparalleled opportunity and of potential danger. To capitalize on the opportunities and to minimize the dangers demands extraordinarily wise leadership in all sectors and in all enterprises, including education.

While pervasive social change affects persons in all walks of life, there is bound to be greater impact upon those in positions of great social visibility and concern—such as persons holding administrative and supervisory responsibility for educational systems. Society has a right to expect adept performance from people in those positions. Under these conditions, proficient leadership cannot be a matter of copying conventional behavior. To advance education, there is a clear need for educational leaders to have and exercise: the ability to comprehend the dynamics of human affairs as a basis for relevant action under novel conditions; a better understanding of issues and processes in educational institutions; and greater originality and collaboration in designing strategic policies. Their approach to the opportunities and problems confronting them must remain hypothetical and open-ended so that more may be learned by what is done.

Graham (1999) saw the accomplishments of the new public schools during the first quarter of the twentieth century concentrating on assimilating the flood of immigrants pouring into the country. The middle years focused on broadening the curriculum, especially at the secondary level, to include vocational subjects and courses in social and personal adjustment that enabled secondary schools to address the educational needs of most of the student population. The 1960s and 1970s addressed issues of equity and access among genders and ethnic groups. During the first three-quarters of the century, Graham concluded, the schools were much more successful in enrolling students than in teaching them (emphasis added). This practice is no longer acceptable. Schools must now set out to correct the situation by focusing on raising the achievement levels of all students.

Past assumptions used by educators in designing schools and school curricula no longer hold across the board. Children are less likely to come from majority backgrounds, they are more likely to be members of nontraditional families, and they are more likely to be poor. Education through high school and beyond is essential if graduates are to be employed in other than menial jobs and to enjoy comfortable standards of living. Well-paying employment opportunities increasingly require sophisticated intellectual skills. Educational leadership is being challenged to design new curricula that recognize the multicultural nature of students, provide institutional support for those at risk, and link schooling to employment and citizenship. Solving our "educational" crisis will require coordination of schools' efforts with those of other social agencies in the community.

Not only will school leaders of the future be working with a student body markedly different from that of the past, the organizational structures and professional and political relationships will also be quite different. These changes will produce a new climate for school organizations that demands a transformational rather than hierarchical leadership. Parents and community members are likely to have greater influence on the organization and operation of schools through membership on school councils or through parental choice of schooling. The relationships between teachers and administrators are likely to be collegial, not authoritarian. Principals and teachers are likely to have greater professional discretion as many decisions formerly made at the district, state, and federal levels are left to schools. Nevertheless, local, state, and federal authorities will continue to set certain parameters. We can expect states, in particular, to set achievement standards, to design curricula to meet those standards, and to administer examinations to identify schools failing to meet those standards.

For several years, the authors co-taught an introductory course for students of educational administration. We sought in vain to find an appropriate text that would be comprehensive in coverage, yet have sufficient depth to lead students to a fundamental understanding of relevant issues. We wanted a text that was eclectic, not ideological, in approach, and that would emphasize an "action-research" perspective, compelling readers to consider critically the theoretical underpinnings of current educational practice and motivating them to seek practical alternative approaches. Not finding such a text, we set out to create our own: Fundamental Concepts of Educational Leadership is the result.

The careful reader will quickly detect that we do not subscribe entirely to any particular philosophy of education. We attempt to report the best of what has been produced by researchers regardless of their paradigm and orientation. We view the study of leadership as a multiple-perspective activity. Theories of leadership should not be viewed as competing with one another in the quest for the "one best view" (Sergiovanni, 1984). Each approach, each theory, has inherent strengths and weaknesses. Each theory is better able to illuminate and explain certain aspects of each concept. Taken together, a more complete understanding of the concept is possible through the power of triangulation and perspective. New to This Edition

The second edition continues to set forth principles undergirding the knowledge base of educational leadership, updated to address new and evolving thinking, learning, and organizational paradigms that are in a significant period of transformation. The book is still highly applicable to introductory courses in programs that prepare educational administrators, but is also recommended as a basic guide for all educational practitioners. As with the first edition, leadership principles are presented within a systems framework. The second edition maintains the thorough coverage of relevant theory of the first, but is more consistent in relating that theory to practice.

In the previous edition, we defined leadership as influencing the actions of others in achieving desirable ends. While that definition is historically based on a significant and important body of knowledge, new definitions reflect a major rethinking of the concept. Today, leadership is also thought of as an overall action/change orientation—a transformation occurring in and across numerous educational environments. Leadership in this new arena of transformation becomes less role-specific in the traditional sense, while it amasses broad new elements that expand its overall character.

Today a leader (in whatever situation that might involve) can be thought of as a teacher, steward, facilitator, pathfinder, aligner, empowerer, appraiser, forecaster, enabler, and/or advisor. As this incomplete list expands to engulf a multitude of possibilities, you begin to sense the critical themes that further define leadership for the educational practitioner today. Under evolving conditions, leadership takes on an action-rich perspective. Leadership becomes the capacity to generate, operationalize, and evaluate a continuously changing environment—to build feedback into environments in the process of continuous improvement.

With these new considerations becoming more apparent, we have reorganized the divisions of the book as our examination of the various aspects of leadership unfolds. Part One, whose title remains "Leadership in a Period of Dynamic Change," presents the current and projected contexts of educational leadership and discusses systems theory and leadership theory, which continue to serve as the undergirding concepts of the book. Parts Two, Three, Five, and Six carry new titles reflecting added content and different organization and emphases: "Schools as Learning Organizations: Communication and Human Interaction," "The Generation and Use of Information in a Learning Organization," "Strategy Formulation and Implementation," and "Leadership for a New Millennium."

In Chapter 7, addressing processes of inquiry and analysis, more attention is given to naturalistic and action research orientations, supplementing the already strong discussion of quantitative approaches that appeared in the first edition. Theory development is de-emphasized relative to the first edition, while greater application is developed to provide a stronger connection to ongoing organizational functioning.

Chapter 8, focusing on evaluation, is an updated version of the original chapter with a significant new section giving the essence of the quality movement and its relation to program evaluation, student achievement, and staff evaluation. Another addition is a section of commentary about national and state standards and assessment activities.

Chapter 9 approaches the topic of educational policy from an economic perspective as well as the political perspective of the first edition. The discussion of universal principles (Chapter 12) gives more attention to the importance of personal reflection by educational leaders and proposes professional platforms as a vehicle for doing so. In Chapter 13, the discussion of strategy formation and planning is essentially new, with greater coverage of school-based decision making. In Chapter 14, additional attention is given to school-based budgeting.

A new chapter (15) has been added, addressing the role of information and technology in a constantly changing environment. As the information age progresses, numerous traditional roles in schools may change. A discussion of this possibility devotes particular attention to the evolving nature of leadership as information and technology become more pervasive. Chapter Descriptions Part I: Leadership in a Period of Dynamic Change

Chapter 1, "The Context for Leadership," highlights some of the causes for concern over public education. The failure of the nation's public schools to meet the expectations set forth by Goals 2000 is examined, followed by an exploration of the future needs of the educational enterprise and the challenges they pose for reformers of today's educational environment. The chapter concludes with a presentation of the structure of precollegiate education in the :United States and a description of the problems that must be corrected.

Chapter 2, "The Power of Systems Thinking for Educational Change," presents a modified version of systems theory as a lens for perceiving the many facets of leadership and as a framework for understanding the interrelationships of those facets. It traces the history of systems theory, including creating significant detail about systems frameworks and properties in general terms. The discussion includes organizational implications of a systems perspective and speaks to issues surrounding the postindustrial paradigm.

In Chapter 3, "Leadership in a Reform Environment," theories of leadership are discussed, emphasizing leadership's many dimensions. Transformational leadership and other current theoretical models are explored to demonstrate the complexity and variety of components of leadership. Part II: Schools as Learning Organizations: Communication and Human Interaction

Chapter 4, "Schools as Organizational Systems," considers organizational theory and practice relating to educational enterprises. Depending on one's view, organizational activity may be linked to values, effectiveness, integration, and more. Metaphors are examined to help the reader envision the broad nature of how we think about, use, and evaluate organizational performance today.

Chapter 5, "Communication: The Breath of Organizational Life," examines this key ingredient of effective leadership: communication is the conduit for inquiry that develops understanding within and across environments. As the information age progresses, communication theory becomes increasingly important. This chapter explores communication concepts as applied to social systems, with particular emphasis on educational systems.

Chapter 6, "Human Relations: The Base for Educational Leadership," discusses human relations as the integration of people that allows them to work together productively and cooperatively. This chapter broadens the understanding of teamwork and team learning applications, and explains how mental states affect the human component of educational enterprises. Each individual's ability to work harmoniously and to understand the educational organization is a key to organizational effectiveness. Part III: The Generation and Use of Information in a Learning Organization

Chapter 7, "The Process of Inquiry and Analysis," presents theory-based quantitative and naturalistic approaches to inquiry and analysis. Common errors made in human inquiry are discussed, as is the development of safeguards to ensure that fundamental issues are considered and observed. Theory is developed with emphasis on practical applications intended to provide a strong connection to the effective functioning of organizations.

Chapter 8, "Evaluation in Education: Theories, Models, and Processes," discusses the means by which leaders pursue the process of mobilizing resources to enable organizations to function effectively. Judgments of effective functioning are based on monitoring outcomes and measuring them against established goals and objectives. The quality movement and its relation to program evaluation, student achievement, and staff evaluation are considered. Also included is a discussion of national and state standards and assessment activities. Part IV: Decision Making and Change

Policies are sets of rules for guiding the operation of an organization that have been formally adopted through a prescribed process. Chapter 9, "Educational Policy Formulation in a Mixed Economy," focuses on policy formulation as collective decision-making through the market (economics) and through governments (politics). A number of public policy models are described and critiqued. Special attention is given to assessing the impact of current proposals for decentralizing decision-making in education; placing more authority at the school level; and involving teachers, parents, and students.

Chapter 10, "Organizational Decision Making," focuses on decisions as made in school organizations. Decision making, the process of choosing among alt...

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