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Article

Systemic Supports for Antiracist Practice in International Baccalaureate Classrooms  

Whitney M. Hegseth

When considering how to (re)build educational systems for equity, one might explore the potential of a system’s supports to facilitate changes in perceptions and pedagogy in classrooms, so that both become increasingly antiracist. A disciplinary incident in an International Baccalaureate (IB) elementary classroom in Washington, D.C., helps illustrate how the IB system’s educational infrastructure can support teachers in (re)framing and responding to problems in their classrooms. The infrastructure that may support such (re)framing includes system-level guidance around (a) outcomes, (b) instructional methods, and (c) the use of local resources. Although the IB system is not yet an antiracist system, its educational infrastructure can support a transformation in perception and pedagogy for IB teachers. This existing infrastructure, then, has the potential to help IB teachers and schools move toward increasingly antiracist practice. Exploring such a synergy between infrastructure and antiracist practice may help the IB system, and other educational systems, in their efforts to (re)design system supports to redress long-standing inequities in schools and society.

Article

Transformational School Leadership to Dismantle Inequitable Systems  

Deirdra Preis

A key reason for the failure of U.S. school leaders to challenge systems of inequity is the lack of exposure to the theory and skill development needed to manage the resistance and political challenges that inevitably occur when interrogating unjust traditions of practice. As preparation programs aim to improve their candidates’ future success in addressing inequitable educational access, it is critical that they develop in their students the self-efficacy around relational practices and strategies needed to manage the micropolitics of transformative work. Examining how transformative K–12 school leaders effectively challenge structural inequities and manage to sustain their leadership positions during turbulent times can help to inform such curricular and instructional revisions. Some of the key practices identified by successful transformative K–12 leaders include engaging in reflection around their positionality, developing racial literacy, effectively facilitating shared visions and collective responsibility for social justice advocacy, building the capacity of stakeholders, developing critical alliances through transparent and authentic community involvement, and participating in supportive professional peer networks that offer ongoing reflection, study, and support. By providing such content and skill practice, and ensuring that instruction and mentoring are provided by faculty who are experienced in transformative leadership, leader candidates can be better prepared for the realities of this challenging work, increasing the likelihood that they will act transformatively upon assuming school leadership roles.

Article

Race and Institutional Effectiveness in Higher Education  

Karen T. Jackson

Race influences our approaches to developing and defining measures of effectiveness in higher education. Identification of gaps in processes from different race perspectives is imperative for goal alignment and mission success. Institutional structural decisions such as recruitment of faculty, staff, and students; hiring of faculty and staff; performance measures for faculty and staff; decisions about fund allocation; and choices made during strategic planning each influence and define the implementation of programs and interpretation of policies, and ultimately affect student achievement. These decisions are all driven by race-based expectations. Data used in institutional effectiveness can decrease the power of minority groups, and institutional practices can create inequitable environments by reinforcing narratives and privileges of one group above all others. Using collective and collaborative systems to gather data and make sense of data from different race-based perspectives to call attention to equity gaps and to understand problems and what is contributing to inequities are ways to address issues of race that influence institutional effectiveness in higher education.

Article

Governance in Higher Education  

Jung C. Shin and Glen A. Jones

Governance has become a commonly used and studied concept within the scholarship of higher education, in large part because the term is defined broadly to include the relationships between institutions and the state, the development of system-level policies and the influence of external stakeholders, as well as institutional decision-making arrangements and structures. The concept is therefore understood as involving both multiple levels of power and authority and multiple agents and actors. It has increasingly been used as an umbrella concept in the analysis of major policy changes and reforms that are central to the study of higher education, including funding, quality assurance, and accountability. Neoliberalism and the adoption of New Public Management have transformed the governance structures and arrangements within many systems by valorizing the role of markets, strengthening the role of institutional managers as the state-centered systems decentralize elements of authority, focusing attention on institutional performance measures, and linking performance to state funding mechanisms. Government coordination of higher education has become increasing complex given the development of multiple institutional types (institutional diversity) and the positioning of higher education as a core component of national research and innovation systems. In many systems, coordination now includes multiple agencies. Institution-level governance has also been transformed in many jurisdictions with structural arrangements that reinforce the importance of central management operating under the oversight of a corporate board representing external interests and stakeholders. There has been a general decline in the influence and authority associated with traditional collegial decision processes. Research has highlighted challenges related to the understanding of governance effectiveness and the relationship between governance reform and institutional performance. There has also been an increasing interest in comparative international scholarship to identify common trends, although there is also an increasing recognition of how governance has been influenced by differences in the history, traditions, and sociopolitical contexts of national systems. A multitude of issues are deserving of greater attention within governance scholarship, including the influence of major political shifts within national governments, international rankings, and the quest for the improvement of institutional performance on system- and institution-level governance.

Article

Evangelical Christian School Movement  

Vance Everett Nichols

Education founded on belief in Jesus Christ and grounded in the teachings of the Scriptures began in the 1st century. In the ensuing two millennia, Christ-centric forms of education proliferated, with three distinguishable movements arising during that time: The Early Church Christian Schools period (70-590 ce), The Reformation Christian Schools period (1517-1850), and The Associated Christian Schools period (1950-present). Nearly 1,000 years after the conclusion of the first movement, the second movement was birthed, in Europe. Impacted by leading theologians and academics who preceded him, such as John Wycliffe, John Huss, and William Tyndale, Martin Luther led a seismic theological and educational paradigm shift that transformed much of how the Western world thought, with biblically based education as a centerpiece. A hundred years after the end of the second movement, the present movement arose, emerging in the United States. Although evangelical Christian schools have faced significant challenges in the early years of the 21st century—including inconsistent school leadership, economic pressures and uncertainty, accelerating cultural changes, the global COVID-19 pandemic, repetitive inaction at the school-site level to deal with organizational dangers and warning signs, a subsequent crisis of school closures in the United States, wars and civil unrest in diverse places (including the Russian invasion of Ukraine), and violence and repeated threats of violence aimed specifically against Christian schools on campuses outside of North America (particularly in regions of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East)—the movement has nevertheless remained resilient and influential in both the United States and abroad.

Article

Improving Student Learning Through Professional Learning Communities  

Angelo Paletta

This paper aims to understand how the Professional Learning Community (PLC) helps to improve student learning. We refer to a research project was conducted in Italy on lower secondary education in an effort to understand how the Professional Learning Community (PLC) helps to improve student learning. The data used to operationalize the theoretical construct of PLC were collected via a questionnaire completed in 2018 by the school principals of the Emilia Romagna Region (in the Northeast of Italy). Data were also leveraged from the INVALSI (the National Agency that administers the standardized tests) to capture the students’ learning, their economic, social, and cultural status, and other background characteristics. The results indicated that that PLC has a small but statistically significant effect on students’ learning in mathematics and English, even when considering students’ socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. This is particularly relevant in light of the well-known international issue of students suffering learning deterioration when transitioning from primary schools. Based on these results, the organizational traits of a PLC make it an effective model for promoting a quality and equitable education in middle schools.

Article

NCPEA to ICPEL: Professional Organization of Educational Administration Leadership  

Rosemary Papa, Theodore Creighton, and James Berry

The story of the creation of the field of educational administration, management, and leadership from the 19th to the 21st century is best understood through the lens of the first professional organization founded for school leaders, formerly known as the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA), now the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership (ICPEL). The mission of the ICPEL is to advance the field of educational leadership/administration/management through research, teaching, and service as a means to better prepare aspiring and practicing educational leaders/administrators. The difference between the NCPEA of 1947 and the ICPEL of 2022 can best be summed up as the same intent to improve K–12 education by training school leaders but a different organizational structure to deliver member services.

Article

Reimagining Student Leadership Development in Urban Schools  

Lawrence Scott, Donna Druery, and Ashland Pingue

Urban Teen Summit (UTS) is a program that gives high school students the opportunity to amplify the voices of young leaders in search of viable solutions for their school and community progression. These student leaders illustrate efficacy and agency by identifying areas of improvement for their community and proactively develop and implement a community-wide, student-led conversation with stakeholders. Since the advent of UTS in 2016, more than 300 student leaders of color have been trained, and more than 2,000 students, parents, and community leaders have participated. The focus of UTS is to recruit students aged 15–18 years from high-poverty and underserved communities and give them the opportunity to acquire leadership skills that will benefit their communities in real time.

Article

Community-Based Reforms in the Monitoring Architecture of Elementary Education in India  

Kiran Bhatty

Governance has emerged as a major factor explaining the decline in the quality of public education around the world, including India. Monitoring is an important element of governance, not just as a means of tracking performance but also for planning and policymaking. In recent years, it has gained greater relevance in light of the increased participation of the private sector in all aspects of education delivery. How the government monitors education depends on the structures and systems it has in place to collect adequate and appropriate information, process the information, and follow through with a feedback mechanism. However, for monitoring to be effective, not only is it necessary to get information to the government, but it is equally important to close the feedback loop by acting on the information in a timely fashion. The community can play an important role in this process by verifying official data and providing valuable information not collected by government sources on the functioning of schools in real time. What is required are platforms for sharing that information with the community and a mechanism for response from the government. The importance of community participation in monitoring education was given a boost in India with the passage of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, in 2009, which assigned the monitoring function to the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)—a body answerable to the Parliament of India. This separation of implementation and monitoring functions created an opportunity for the community to participate directly in the monitoring of the RTE Act through an exercise of community monitoring undertaken by the NCPCR. The impact of this exercise was wide-ranging—from creating awareness about the right to education to mobilizing the community to voice their concerns regarding schools, creating platforms of dialogue between the state and the citizens, building trust with teachers, and bringing concrete improvement in the functioning of schools. Unfortunately, the inability to get the process institutionalized with state structures led to its early demise.

Article

Elite School Education Group Policy and Low-Performing Schools in China  

Yu Zhang and Xuan Qi

Education inequality has been a challenging issue worldwide, and disparity across schools constitutes a significant proportion of total inequality. Effective policies to turn around low-performing schools (LPS) are therefore of great importance to both governments and students. The Elite School Education Group (ESEG) policy is an emerging one, and it has quickly become very influential in China, a country with one of the largest and most diversified education systems in the world. Under this policy, elite public schools (EPS), which have exceptionally enriched educational resources (i.e., high-quality teachers, strong principal leadership, excellent school cultures, etc.), are encouraged by the government to build school groups with LPS. Within the school group under the elite school brand, branch schools (i.e., the previous LPS) can share all kinds of resources from the EPS (including teachers and principals), and they may even utilize the prestige of the brand itself as a means to attract high-performing students. The ESEG policy enables the delivery of multiple turnaround interventions to LPS in an autonomous way, through building partnerships between EPS and LPS. While some LPS are successfully turned around, some are not. It depends on the effectiveness of the reforms undertaken in the branch schools. Of particular importance is the access to strong principal leadership, excellent teachers, and the school cultures from EPS. Incentives for EPS to participate in this reform include obtaining flexibility in personnel management, expanding school scale and influence, and mobilizing other resources. Despite the potential positive influence on the branch schools, the ESEG policy may have a more complex influence on the entire education ecology than initially expected. Indeed, there are now some concerns that the ESEG is creating new LPS, because more and more high-performing students are drawn out of normal schools and attracted to the ESEG-partnered schools during admission. Thus, the effectiveness of the ESEG policy should not be solely based on attracting high-performing students, but on improving overall education quality.