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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Management of Education

I have made a conscious effort over the years of this Blog to offer insight into the educational arena and prevent posts from slipping into a series of rants. With that said, I must extend a perception of education that will threaten that vow.

Although there are needs for specific protocol that dictate uniformity (i.e. procedures during safety drills,...) and conformity (i.e. compliance with appropriate regulations) the reach of such practices and expectations has extended itself to the point it begins to permeate the environment of a growing number of school districts. Without getting into the politics and competing perspectives on the Common Core, I would present that collection of learning standards as evidence of contrived compliance through the leverage of federal funds (Race To The Top money) made available as incentives to states (at a time when they are experiencing budget shortfalls in education) that accept the learning standards.

As the federal government has increased their influence over education at the local level (through regulations in special education, Title I, Title IX, the Homeless Children and Youth Act, No Child Left Behind,...) the impact of district influence has decreased in an inverse relationship. The more the federal and state departments of education have seeped into the school buildings, the less impact the locally appointed school leaders can exercise on instruction. Similarly, local decisions are becoming more muted and Boards of Education find themselves complying more with external regulations and creating less in terms of tailoring programs and practices to meet  needs and expectations unique to the local community.

In other words, we are moving closer to the management of education and away from the leadership of education. In sum, as a school leader who has valued innovation and imagination in developing programs and practices, I am glad that I'm nearer to the end of my educational leadership career than the beginning.

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