Reading 1: Munro Issue 10; Article 10.1. Marx, G. (n.d). Using trend data to create a successful future for our students, our schools, and our communities.
Summary: This entire section addresses the various means by which educational leaders can respond effectively to emerging social, economic, and political trends. The first reading by Marx is about using trend data. Trends are broad patterns that are sometimes difficult to perceive when we are in their midst. Likewise, trends are not confined to one area. They can include changes to social norms, technologies, and demographics. Once the trends are recognized, though, we also need to respond to those trends and what they imply for education. Effective responses require good leadership, and the type of leadership needed most now is connected and collaborative.
Reflection: Although Marx does not specifically address â€œtrend dataâ€ as the title promised, the article does show how educational leaders of the future need to be aware of trends, open to new ideas, and flexible in their responses. Educational leaders need to think about the â€œbig pictureâ€ issues. As a future leader, I am trying to shift my attention away from the micro-management concerns and more towards the grander scheme of things. Issues like ethics, social responsibility, and creative problem solving are on my mind more. Applying a Biblical worldview is an ideal method of encouraging a big picture point of view, as we remember to keep in mind the overarching ethical values and principles that guide our decision-making, what we prioritize in our work, and how we work with others in a shared leadership, community-based education system. The challenge of educational leadership in a diverse society can be overcome when we work within team that is empowered to enact evidence-based solutions to our most pressing problems.
Reading 2: Article 10.2. Smith, M.S. (n.d.). Whatâ€™s next?
Summary: No Child Left Behind and similar legislation designed to improve school accountability is still necessary, but educators need more. Children are still being left behind. Rather than abandoning standards altogether, we need to radically reconstruct what a school looks like and how it functions. Greater attention needs to be paid to the best ways of reducing achievement gaps, and making performance standards more meaningful. The author recommends four main steps: broadening goals for schooling, addressing inequities and inadequacies in school financing, creating a habit of continuous improvement, and deliberately supporting experimentation. Also, leaders need to understand that changes like these take time and require the motivation of educators and students alike.
Reflection: This article addresses the shortcomings of rigid standards. I agree that standards will remain important; otherwise, there would be no way to gauge whether schools and their educators are teaching students what they need to know and whether inequities are being addressed. However, the standards need to be more realistic and focused. Educators need more leeway and need to be empowered and motivated. I believe this can be achieved via good leadership at every level of education. Broadening educational goals is important, especially by encouraging more team-based pedagogical practices. Leaders need to take the initiative to inspire environmental and curricular changes that motivate both teachers and students. Biblical principles of ethics and equity also need to be incorporated systematically and meaningfully into decision-making, and leaders need to refrain from resting on laurels by collecting data from each semester or even each class and acting accordingly. Finally, it is important that leaders recognize the diverse needs of parents and respect their differences by providing accommodations and innovative solutions.
Reading 3: Article 10.3 Grogan, M. (n.d.) Echoing their ancestors, women lead districts in the United States.
Summary: The teaching profession has long been feminized but women have long been systematically excluded from positions of power and leadership. Rather than focus their leadership skills on domestic and private activities, women need to become more visible at the upper echelons of education: at the level of policy and politics, school design and curriculum programming. Women have made strides and now occupy more positions of superintendency and other leadership positions, but there is still room to more. The author claims that women are especially suited for educational leadership positions because they have spent more time in the classroom, and are more prone to professional development and continuing education. Women can also help inform a more meaningful curriculum that promotes educational achievement for all students.
Reflection: There is a dearth of women in leadership positions in all sectors, and is somewhat surprising that this is also true in education. To achieve gender parity in education, it will be important to alter the organizational culture and climate. The author is correct that women need to change the organizational culture themselves. In my experience, women become easily frustrated when they recognize that the organizational culture in educational administration resembles that of other male-dominated institutions. Women need to work together, creating collaborative workgroups and teams that subvert and usurp the outmoded models of leadership that have become entrenched in education. Drawing from Biblical principles, female leaders can recognize that upsetting the status quo can be frightening and even dangerous in some cases. Speaking up, calling out injustices, and pointing out where time and resources could be better spent are all challenging when resistance to change prevents strong leaders from realizing their goals. Support, cooperation, and servant-leadership models may be helpful in education.
Reading 4: Article 10.4 Bottery, M. (n.d.). Educational leaders in a globalizing world.
Summary: In this article, the author distinguishes between local, national, and global focuses in education. Each of these are important, but American schools have for too long ignored the importance of a global perspective, focusing too much on provincial or national issues and worldviews. Educators need to be cognizant of the interrelationship between globalization and their work, both in terms of educational policy and in terms of curriculum. Educational spending may in fact be directly linked to public attitudes and beliefs about government spending and the role of the United States in the global arena. The author recommends the ecological leadership model, which takes into account global forces that impact each individual. Doing this, educational leaders ask their staff and students to feel empowered and take responsibility for their role.
Reflection: This is an ambitious article that attempts to connect educators with broader social and political trends. It is important that leaders like me understand and internalize what the author is saying, to provide the big picture view that is needed for visionary leadership. We do need to have an ecological view, because our educational communities are not isolated from one another. The world is interconnected, and that means that our actions do affect people around the world, especially due to the continued influenceâ€”both soft and hard powerâ€”wielded by the United States. A Biblical perspective can help provide solid ethical guidance but ultimately, educational leaders need to build trust in diverse communities, changing their roles from a transactional managerial function to one that is driven by vision, values, and ethics. Interestingly, I believe this also entails building bridges with the private sector in new and transformative ways.
Reading 5: Razik Chapters 13-14
Summary: Chapter 13 addresses systemic change in educational institutions and Chapter 14 addresses educational leadership in a â€œflat world.â€ All organizations contend with change; educational institutions face both internal and external pressures to change. Change is not about one-time events, or reactively responding to crises, although some change does proceed in that way. Rather, change is systemic, meaning change entails change to the overall systems, structures, and paradigms. Change in education could be driven by changes to educational policy, or changes in social norms. One of the biggest drivers of change in education is the economy. As the authors point out in Chapter 14, the current school system is sorely outdated. American schools are still operating as if it was a hundred years ago. American schools need to respond to changes in the global market economy, the â€œflatâ€ world that demands more people be taught to have cultural competency and mastery of the information-based economy. To accomplish the goals of the next generation, schools need systemic changes that radically alter their fundamental vision, their structures, and their leadershipâ€”not just changes to curriculum.
Reflection: The authors are absolutely correct. Many educators are well aware of what the â€œflat worldâ€ implies and wish they had the freedom to provide students with the tools they need to succeed. Yet educators are constrained by decisions made beyond their control. Principals can make small alterations but nothing as sweeping as the types of reform we actually need to prepare students for success. As a future educational leader, I want to help promote the type of systemic change needed. I believe in the power of transformational leadership, whereby we empower educators and our partners in other schools or districts to spearhead initiatives or make suggestions. I also believe in the importance of moral leadership, fused with Biblical ideals of social justice and ethics. The schools of the future need to become more democratic in nature, something that could even be considered revolutionary in scope. I hope to be a part of the dramatic change in the way schools operate, and to the role they play in our communities.
Bottery, M. (n.d.). Educational leaders in a globalizing world.
â€œEducational Leadership in a Flat World.â€
Grogan, M. (n.d.) Echoing their ancestors, women lead districts in the United States.
â€œHow Will Educational Organizations Be Led in the Future?â€
Smith, M.S. (n.d.). Whatâ€™s next?
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