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The SAGE Guide to

and Management
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The SAGE Guide to

and Management

Fenwick W. English
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Associate Editors
JoAnn Danelo Barbour
Gonzaga University
Rosemary Papa
Northern Arizona University
Copyright 2015 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

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List of Figures, Tables, and Sidebars xvii

About the Editors xxi
Contributors xxv
Acknowledgments xxxiii
Introduction xxxv











Appendix: Getting Started in Your Educational Leadership Career:

Associations and Journals 487
Index 491

List of Figures, Tables, and Sidebars xvii

About the Editors xxi
Contributors xxv
Acknowledgments xxxiii
Introduction xxxv


1. Unraveling the Leadership/Management Paradox 3
Ira Bogotch
Uncertainty and the Language of Scientific Management 3
A Century of Scientific Management 5
The Dimensions and Behaviors of School Managerial Control Explored 6
Standards Versus Developing Standards: Murphys Two Laws Centered? 8
Improving Schools From Within 10
Managerial Virtues of Necessity: Little Things and Big Things 13
What Are the Odds That Little Comes Up Big? Big L Versus Little l 13
The Challenge of Reclaiming Our Voices and Our Ideals 15
Conclusion: Keeping Uncertainty and Risk in Our Sights 15
Key Chapter Terms 16
References 16
Further Readings 18
2. The Emerging Wisdom of Educational Leadership 21
Fenwick W. English and Rosemary Papa
Parsing Out the Leadership/Management Opposites 22
The Concept of Accoutrements as Artful Leadership and the Key for Imagination 25
Machine Metaphors and Unrealistic Expectations 28
The Lenses of Practice 29
How to Discern Best Practice From Ordinary Practice, Common Sense, and Kitsch Texts 30
Key Chapter Terms 33
References 34
Further Readings 35
3. Understanding How the Bureaucratic Maze Works 39
Autumn Tooms Cyprs
Welcome to Wonderland: A Primer on Bureaucratic Networks 39
Back to the Beginning: How Networks Are Formed 40
What Does Fit Have to Do With Membership in Networks? 41
The Family Trees Where We Fit: A Look at n/networks and N/networks 42
Navigating Networks by Understanding the Panopticon and the Johari Window 42
Conclusion 47
Key Chapter Terms 48
References 49
Further Readings 50


4. What Makes a Good Teacher? Models of Effective Teaching 55
Jennifer Prior
Classroom Management 55
Teaching Strategies 58
Building Family Partnerships 61
Making a Plan for Family Involvement 63
Reflective Teaching 66
Conclusion 67
Key Chapter Terms 68
References 68
Further Readings 69

5. Overcoming Learning Barriers for All Students 71

Jane Clark Lindle and Beth Parrott Reynolds
Learning Barriers and Their Sources 73
Resources for Overcoming Learning Barriers 81
Key Chapter Terms 82
References 85
Further Readings 85

6. Response to Intervention and Its Impact on Classroom Performance 87

Alicia Valero-Kerrick
RTI and Systemic Reform 87
Components of Response to Intervention Programs 88
Expanded Roles in RTI 90
RTI and English Language Learners 92
RTI in Middle and High School 93
RTI Impact on Classroom Performance 94
The Future of RTI 94
Conclusion 97
Key Chapter Terms 98
References 99
Further Readings 100


7. Multiculturalism Versus the Common Core 103
Fenwick W. English
An Earlier Conflict With a Common Curriculum 104
The Contemporary Common Core Movement Briefly Reviewed 105
Flash Points: Pushback, Problems, and Politics With the Common Core 109
Curriculum Alignment 114
Conclusion 115
Key Chapter Terms 116
References 116
Further Readings 117

8. The Growing Hispanic Population in U.S. Schools: Challenges and Solutions 119
Claudia Sanchez
A Decade of Continued Growth 119
Latinos and Education 120
Solutions and Strategies for School Leaders 122
Conclusion 129
Key Chapter Terms 129
References 131
Further Readings 132

9. The Continuing Search for Best Practices in Classroom Instruction 135

Kimberly Kappler Hewitt
Best Practice Defined 135
Looking Backward: From Where Does the Concept of Best Practice Come? 136
Best Practices: A Critique 136
Best Practices for the Use of Best Practices 142
Best Practices 144
Field-Specific Best Practices 146
Approach-Specific and Technique-Specific Best Practices 146
Conclusion 147
Key Chapter Terms 147
References 148
Further Readings 149
10. What Is This Test Really Testing? Validity, Reliability, and Test Ethics 153
Launcelot I. Brown
Ethics and Testing 154
The Scientific Method 155
Conclusion 164
Key Chapter Terms 165
References 165
Further Readings 166
11. Achievement Gaps: Causes, False Promises, and Bogus Reforms 169
Connie M. Moss
Achievement: Misunderstandings and Misconceptions 169
Fifty Years of Reforms Yield a Widening Achievement Gap 171
No Child Left Behind: 21st-Century, High-Stakes, Test-Driven Accountability 174
Race to the Top: Competitive Grants for Educational Innovation 177
Test or Invest? 178
Conclusion 180
Key Chapter Terms 182
References 182
Further Readings 183

12. Cheater, Cheater, I Declare: The Prevalence, Causes, and Effects of,
and Solutions to, School Cheating Scandals 185
Gail L. Thompson
Prevalence 185
The Worst Cheating Scandal in U.S. History 186
Causes 187
Effects 189
Solutions 191
Conclusion 192
Key Chapter Terms 192
References 193
Further Readings 194


13. The Expanding Wireless World of Schooling 199
James E. Berry
Disruptive Innovation: Decentralization of Learning 200
The Infrastructure of Global Learning 200
The Future School 202
Flattening Education Through Technology 202
The Locus of Learning: Individualized and Personalized Learning in a Digital School 203
Individualized and Personalized Learning: Opportunity and Access 205
Learning: A Global Commodity 205
Ubiquitous Learning 206
Conclusion 207
Key Chapter Terms 208
References 209
Further Readings 210
14. The Opportunities and Challenges of Online and Blended Learning 211
Brad E. Bizzell
Background 211
Growth of Online and Blended Learning 212
Defining Online and Blended Learning 212
Online and Blended Learning: Benefits and Concerns 213
Productivity of Online and Blended Learning 217
Planning for Online and Blended Programs 218
Conclusion 221
Key Chapter Terms 221
References 222
Further Readings 223
15. Social Media and Texting: The Law and Considerations for School Policy 225
Theodore B. Creighton and M. David Alexander
Students 226
Teachers 231
Conclusion 235
Key Chapter Terms 235
References 236
Further Readings 236


16. Understanding School Finance Laws and Practices 239
Eric A. Houck
The Context of School Funding 240
Trends in School Finance: Moving Toward Resource Allocation 240
Competing Values in School Finance 241
Understanding School Finance Laws 242
Using Educational Funds at the District and School Level 249
Does Money Matter? 250
Conclusion 252
Key Chapter Terms 252
References 254
Further Readings 255
17. Expectations Exceeding Revenues: Budgeting for Increased Productivity 257
William K. Poston, Jr.
Some State Funding Structures Inhibit Equity and Disregard Inflation 257
Funding Trend, Expectations Progression, and New Assessments 258
The Nature of Budgeting 258
Functions of Budgeting in Improving Productivity 260
Expectations and Results of Performance-Based Budgeting 270
Conclusion 270
Key Chapter Terms 270
References 271
Further Readings 272
18. A Free Public Education for All: Rediscovering the Promise 273
Fred C. Lunenburg
Misconceptions About U.S. Public Schools 273
Equal Educational Opportunity 274
The Achievement Gap 275
Privatizing Education: Can the Marketplace Deliver Choice,
Efficiency, Equity, and Excellence? 280
Conclusion 282
Key Chapter Terms 282
References 283
Further Readings 285


19. Todays Compelling Issues in Public School Law 289
M. David Alexander, Patricia F. First, and Jennifer A. Sughrue
Bullying/Cyberbullying and Student Free Speech Rights 290
Seeking Justice 292
Guidelines for Preventing and Responding to Harassment and Bullying 296
Search and Seizure and Student Privacy Rights 296
Conclusion 303
Key Chapter Terms 303
References 304
Further Readings 305
20. Transportation, School Safety, and Dealing With Bullies 307
Jennifer A. Sughrue and M. David Alexander
School Transportation 308
Safety While Students Are at School 313
Bullying 321
School Safety Implications for School Administrators 324
Key Chapter Terms 325
References 326
Further Readings 327
21. Charter Schools and the Privatization of Public Education:
A Critical Race Theory Analysis 329
Abul Pitre and Tawannah G. Allen
Origin of Charter Schools 330
Evolution of Charter Schools 331
Arguments Advanced for Charter Schools 331
Using Critical Race Theory to Analyze the Intersection of Race and Education 334
Conclusion 337
Key Chapter Terms 338
References 338
Further Readings 340


22. Student Conduct, Attendance, and Discipline: The Troika of
School Safety and Stability 343
Claire E. Schonaerts and Pamela Jane Powell
Transformational Leadership 343
Why Be Concerned With Conduct, Attendance, and Discipline? 346
Supporting Positive School Conduct, Discipline, and Attendance 350
The Final Charge 354
Key Chapter Terms 355
References 356
Further Readings 357

23. Homeschooling: Parents Rights and the Public Good 359

Jennifer A. Sughrue
The History of Homeschooling 361
The Look and Feel of Contemporary Homeschooling 362
Legal and Policy Issues Involved in Homeschooling 365
Conclusion 369
Key Chapter Terms 370
References 371
Further Readings 372
24. Emerging Trends in Student Services and Counseling 373
Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle and Shannon Dickson
Trends in General Student Services 373
Emerging Trends in Counseling 377
The Emerging Trends in Action 381
Conclusion 382
Key Chapter Terms 382
References 383
Further Readings 385


25. Establishing a Climate of Performance and Success 389
Matthew T. Proto, Kathleen M. Brown, and Bradford J. Walston
Leadership in Turnaround Schools 389
Establishing a Climate of Performance and Success in North Carolina Turnaround Schools 390
Conclusion 398
Key Chapter Term 399
References 399
Further Readings 400
26. Secrets of Creating Positive Work Cultures: The Work Lives of Teachers 401
Frank Davidson
What Is Culture? 402
The Current Context 403
The Interplay of Culture and Leadership 404
A Changing Workforce and Cultural Implications 406
Five Secrets of Creating Positive Work Cultures 407
Conclusion 410
Key Chapter Terms 411
References 412
Further Readings 413
27. New South Realities: Demographics, Cultural Capital, and Diversity 417
Tawannah G. Allen and Dionne V. McLaughlin
North Carolina as a Microcosm of the Changing Complexion of the United States 419
African American and Latino Underachievement Through the Lenses
of Cultural and Social Capital 419
Descriptions of African American and Latino Underachievement 421
Effectively Educating African American and Latino Students 423
Appendix A: Interview Questions for Assistant Superintendents 428
Appendix B: Interview Questions for Principals 429
Key Chapter Terms 430
References 430
Further Readings 431


28. School Leadership and Politics 435
Catherine Marshall, Darlene C. Ryan, and Jeffrey E. Uhlenberg
Power, Conflict, and Leaders as Political Actors 435
Societys Wicked Problems Land on Principals Shoulders 435
Power, Principals Roles, and the Organizational Realities of Schools 436
The Actors in the Dramas of School Politics 441
Politics and the Career 445
Challenges for Women and Minorities in Administration 447
Exercising Power While Promoting Instruction, Democracy, and Community 447
Politically Astute Communications 448
Politics and Leadership for Social Justice 448
Wicked Problems Revisited 450
Key Chapter Terms 451
References 451
Further Readings 453
29. Producing Evidence: Overcoming the Limitations of the Market,
Competition, and Privatization 455
Christopher Lubienski, Janelle Scott, and Elizabeth DeBray
Markets, Competition, and Privatization in Education 456
The Promise of Incentivism 457
Empirical Evidence on Incentivist Policies 458
A New Political Economy of Research Evidence? 459
Patterns of Strategic Efforts in Advocacy for Incentivist Policies 460
Toward a Theory of Advocacy Coalitions in Advancing Education Reforms 463
Conclusion: Caveat Emptor 465
Key Chapter Terms 466
References 466
Further Readings 470
30. The Changing Nature of Teachers Unions and Collective Bargaining 471
Todd A. DeMitchell
Beyond the Wisconsin Budget Repair Act: Money, Power, and Relevance 472
What Unions Do 472
The Role of Union Member and Professional Teacher 475
The Industrial Labor Model 477
Good Faith and Disputes 478
Enforcement of Rights and Responsibilities: Grievances and Unfair Labor Practices 479
The Future of Unions and Collective Bargaining 481
Key Chapter Terms 482
References 482
Further Readings 483

Appendix: Getting Started in Your Educational Leadership Career:

Associations and Journals 487
Index 491

Table 1.1 Murphys Developing Standards

Figure 2.1 Resolving the Paradoxes Between Management and Leadership
Table 2.1 A Comparison of the Papa Accoutrements of Leadership to Lessons of Leadership
Sidebar 2.1 The Nature of Leadership Accoutrements
Figure 2.2 The Context of Midlevel Managerial Decision Making
Sidebar 3.1 How to See n/networks
Figure 3.1 The Johari Window
Sidebar 3.2 Jon Thomas, the Panopticon, and the Johari Window
Sidebar 4.1 Teaching Strategies and the Common Core
Figure 4.1 Ecological Systems Theory
Figure 4.2 Sample Parent Newsletter
Sidebar 4.2 Working With Divorced Parents
Sidebar 4.3 Sample Parent/Child Activity
Sidebar 5.1 Do You Have These Barriers in Your School?
Table 7.1 Standards and Curriculum
Table 7.2 What Do Educational Leaders Need to Know?
Figure 7.1 The Requisite Curriculum Alignment for Any Plan of Accountability
Table 8.1 Number and Percentage of the Hispanic Population in the United States in 2011
Sidebar 8.1 Teaching With Dichos
Sidebar 9.1 Flipped Instruction: Possible Emerging Best Practice
Sidebar 10.1 Determining a Tests Validity
Figure 10.1 A Model of Construct Validity
Figure 11.1 An Absolute Continuum of Quality
Sidebar 11.1 Analyzing Assessments
Sidebar 12.1 How to Prevent Adult-Led Cheating on Standardized Tests
Sidebar 14.1 Online Course Standards
Figure 16.1 Current Instruction Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education,
by Object and State or Jurisdiction: Fiscal Year 2009

xviiiList of Figures, Tables, and Sidebars

Table 16.1 2013 Marginal Tax Rates for Citizens Filing as a Head of Household
Table 16.2 Comparison of Characteristics of Different Taxes
Sidebar 16.1 Values in Conflict
Table 16.3 Funding Weights and Corresponding Per-Pupil Amounts for the State of Georgia, Select
Categories, 2009
Figure 17.1 Lawrence Schools State Aid Drop 2009 Graph
Figure 17.2 Economic Confidence
Table 17.1 Incremental Budget Modules (Music Example)
Table 17.2 Comparing Budget Levels to NCES Objectives
Figure 17.3 Budget Unit Decision Package Sample
Table 17.3 Package Ranking Example
Table 20.1 NASDPTS Stop Arm Violation Survey 2013
Figure 20.1 Broward County Public School Districts New Discipline Flow Chart
Table 20.2 Percentage of Public Schools That Used Safety and Security Measures: Various School Years,
19992000 Through 20092010
Figure 20.2 Percentage of Students Ages 12 to 18 Who Reported Being Bullied at School During the Year,
by Selected Bullying Problems and Sex: 2011
Figure 20.3 Percentage of Students Ages 12 to 18 Who Reported Being Cyberbullied Anywhere
During the School Year, by Selected Cyberbullying Problems and Sex: 2011
Sidebar 21.1 Ten Questions on Charter Schools
Sidebar 22.1 Maintaining Good Student Conduct
Sidebar 22.2 Building School Community
Table 23.1 Percentage of Homeschooled Students, Ages 5 Through 17 With a Grade Equivalent of
Kindergarten Through 12th Grade, by School Enrollment Status: 1999, 2003, and 2007
Figure 24.1 Trends in Student Services
Figure 24.2 Systems Perspective of Student Services
Sidebar 24.1 Examples of Warning Signs of a Poorly Run Student Services Program
Sidebar 24.2 Steps Administrators Can Take When Encountering Student Services Programs
That Are Run Poorly
Sidebar 25.1 Challenges and Conditions at School
Sidebar 25.2 How Do Your Actions Compare?
Table 25.1 A Summary Overview of the Principals Actions Intended to Establish a Climate of
Performance and Success
Figure 26.1 Culture, as Viewed by Peterson (1999) and Schein (1992)
Figure 26.2 Sergiovannis Hierarchy of Leadership Forces
Table 27.1 Shares of Net Population Growth, by Region, 20002010
Table 27.2 Growth of Latino Population in Six North Carolina Counties
Figure 27.1 North Carolina Fourth-Grade Reading Score Gaps, by Race
Sidebar 27.1 A Checklist for Working With Minority Students and Their Families
List of Figures, Tables, and Sidebarsxix

Table 28.1 Assumptive Worlds of School AdministratorsThe Rules

Sidebar 28.1 Political Realities: Who Controls Personal Days?
Sidebar 28.2 Political Realities: Parents as Lobbyists
Sidebar 28.3 Political Realities: Navigating Assumptive Worlds Rules
Sidebar 28.4 Several Strategies for Changing Beliefs and Behaviors
Sidebar 28.5 A Social Justice Advocacy Leader Is More Than Just a Good Leader
Sidebar 29.1 When Research Raises Red Flags
Sidebar 29.2 Habits of Highly Effective IOs
Sidebar 30.1 Subjects of Bargaining
Sidebar 30.2 Teacher Perceptions of Unions
Figure 30.1 Outcomes of Collective Bargaining
Sidebar 30.3 Duty to Bargain in Good Faith

General Editor Administration and Management). In 2013 he

received the Living Legend Award for his career-long
Fenwick W. English is the R. Wendell Eaves Senior work in educational leadership from the NCPEA.
Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership in Dr. English has conducted on-site research on
the School of Education at the University of North educational management and leadership issues in
Carolina at Chapel Hill, a position he has held since England and Australia and published in academic
2001. Dr. English has served in practitioner settings in journals in those countries as well as on the European
California, Arizona, Florida, and New York as a K-12 continent. He was editor of the 2005 SAGE Handbook
public school teacher, middle school principal, central of Educational Leadership, which was issued in a
office coordinator, assistant superintendent, and super- second edition in 2011; general editor of the 2006
intendent. He has worked in the private sector as a SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and
partner in the then Big Eight accounting firm of Peat, Management (two volumes); and general editor of
Marwick, Mitchell & Co., in the Washington, D.C., the four-volume Educational Leadership and
office of the firm where he was practice director of Administration (part of the SAGE Library of
North American Elementary and Secondary School Educational Thought and Practice series), a compila-
Consulting. He was also an associate director of the tion of the most outstanding scholarship in educa-
American Association of School Administrators tional leadership and administration in the past
(AASA). In higher education Dr. English has been a 40 years in North America, the UK, Australia, New
department chair, dean, and vice-chancellor of aca- Zealand, and Hong Kong. His recent sole authored
demic affairs at the University of Cincinnati and Indiana books include The Art of Educational Leadership:
University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Balancing Performance and Accountability, pub-
Dr. Englishs scholarship includes more than lished by SAGE in 2008, and the best-selling
35 books, 25 book chapters, and over 100 articles Deciding What to Teach and Test, issued in a third
published in both practitioner and academic/research edition by Corwin in 2010.
journals. He has been recognized by his academic
colleagues as a leader in his field, having been elected
to the presidency of UCEA (University Council for Associate Editors
Educational Administration) in 20062007 and as
president of NCPEA (National Council of Professors JoAnn Danelo Barbour is associate professor and
of Educational Administration) in 20112012. His department chair of the Doctoral Program in
research and scholarship have been presented not Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University.
only in North America at UCEA, AERA (American Professor Barbour has a PhD (administration and
Educational Research Association), and NCPEA, but policy analysis) and MA (anthropology) from
internationally at BELMAS (British Educational Stanford University. Prior to coming to Gonzaga
Leadership Management Association Society) and University, Barbour was for 22 years professor of
CCEAM (Commonwealth Council of Educational education administration and leadership at Texas

xxiiAbout the Editors

Womans University, where she taught courses for practices, organizational theories and practices, orga-
future school principals and superintendents, nizational culture, qualitative research courses,
chaired to completion over 100 masters theses and designing conceptual frameworks, ethics, and critical
professional papers, served a stint as department and political philosophies/theories courses. While
chair, and served one year as faculty intern in the teaching is a joy, the most sublimely gratifying part of
offices of provost and chancellor. While at Texas Barbours academic career continues to be working
Womans University, Barbour was awarded the with doctoral and masters students on their research
Mary Mason Lyon Award for Excellence in projects from the inception of the research questions
Scholarship, Teaching and Service, the universitys to the completion of the thesis or dissertation.
highest award for a junior professor; the Ann Uhlir
Endowed Fellowship for Higher Education Rosemary Papa is the Del and Jewel Lewis Endowed
Administration; and in 2012 the Outstanding Chair in Learning Centered Leadership and professor
Faculty Award for Research Mentor, College of of educational leadership in the College of Education
Professional Education. In 2013 the university at Northern Arizona University, a position she has
awarded Barbour status of Professor Emerita. held since 2007. In 2000 she founded the eJournal of
Formerly chief editor of Academic Exchange Education Policy, one of the first open access, free,
Quarterly, Barbour created and for several years blind-peer-reviewed journals in the world, and serves
edited the topic Teaching Leadership/Teaching as its executive editor. She founded the Sacramento
Leaders for the journal. Former International Heart Gallery, an organization to provide adoption
Leadership Association (ILA) Leadership Education for older children in foster or group homes, in 2005,
Special Interest Group Chair, Barbour coedited two and in 2012 she founded Educational Leaders
ILA volumes in the Building Leadership Bridges Without Borders, an organization focused on chil-
(BLB) book series: Global Leadership: Portraits of dren not in school and on the role of economic, cul-
the Past, Visions for the Future (2008) and Leadership tural, and political influences on schooling worldwide.
for Transformation (2010), and was chief editor of Dr. Papas record of publications includes 14 books,
Leading in Complex Worlds (BLB 2012). Her publi- more than 80 refereed journal articles, and numerous
cations include 10 entries in the Encyclopedia of book chapters and monographs. She has been an ele-
Educational Leadership and Administration and sev- mentary and junior high school teacher, served as a
eral journal articles and chapters in leadership texts, principal and chief school administrator for two dis-
including recently the chapter Critical Policy/ tricts in Nebraska, and in higher education served as
Practice Arenas Predicting 21st-Century Conflict in California State University system level assistant vice
The SAGE Handbook of Educational Leadership chancellor for academic affairs, vice president for
(2nd ed., 2011), and, with Claudia Sanchez, A Sylvan Learning, Inc., faculty director of a university-
Critical Approach to the Teaching and Learning of based Center for Teaching and Learning in California,
Critical Social Science at the College Level in and founded two joint doctoral programs in educa-
Critical Qualitative Research Reader (2012). tional leadership with University of California and the
Additionally, Barbour has presented over 30 papers at California State University.
professional conferences. Her research interests are In 19911992, Dr. Papa was elected as the first
qualitative in nature and include critical, philosophi- female president of the National Council of Professors
cal, experiential, multidisciplinary, and artistic of Educational Administration (NCPEA) and cur-
approaches to the study of leadership, organizations, rently serves as the organizations first international
and teaching. Currently Barbour is exploring the ambassador. She has received the NCPEA Living
philosophical and practical underpinnings and Legend Award and has been invited to present their
approaches to authentic leadership. Barbour has Walter D. Cocking lecture on two separate occasions.
taught in Florence, Italy, and plans to teach more She has worked internationally in China,
courses there in the future. Courses she enjoys teach- Singapore, Korea, and West Africa, bringing adult
ing include any in the area of leadership and leader- learning practices and multimedia technology train-
ship studies, but especially: leadership theories and ing to their university classrooms. She is a noted
About the Editorsxxiii

educator with expertise in leadership skills and char- Publications; coauthor of Educational Leadership at
acteristics, accoutrements, mentoring, adult learning, 2050: Conjectures, Challenges, and Promises (2012),
and multimedia technology. In recent years, she was and The Contours of Great Educational Leadership
the editor of Technology Leadership for School (2013), both published by Rowman & Littlefield;
Improvement (2011), Sage Publications; associate and editor and chapter author, Media Rich Instruction:
editor of the Handbook of Online Instruction and Connecting Curriculum to All Learners (2014),
Programs in Education Leadership (2012), NCPEA Springer Publishing.

Tawannah G. Allen is an associate professor at to School Policing, a publication of the Education

Fayetteville State University (FSU). She earned her Law Association. He has also written numerous
doctorate in education degree from the University of research reports and articles, many of which have
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to her role at been presented at regional, national, and international
FSU, she served as a human resources administrator meetings.
with Wake County Public Schools in Cary, North
James E. Berry is a professor in the Department of
Carolina, and as executive director of human
Leadership & Counseling at Eastern Michigan
resources and professional development with Bertie
University. He has served as an assistant principal,
County Schools. Earlier she served as director of
principal, assistant superintendent, department head,
elementary education and professional development
and associate dean. He was an American Council on
with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Dr. Allen
Education fellow in 2001. He presently serves as the
has facilitated trainings and presented at many con-
executive director of the National Council of
ferences and lecture series pertaining to the chal-
Professors of Educational Administration. Berry has
lenges African American and Latino male students
conducted research and written in the area of K-12
face within the public school sector. Many of these
school reform with a focus on change leadership and
discussions focused on understanding how theoreti-
the use of technology.
cal perspectives such as resiliency, critical race, and
successful pathway theories are imperative when Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle is a university profes-
educating students of color. Her most recent schol- sor with over 20 years of experience. Her research
arly article on the achievement of minority males was interests include motivation and resilience in stu-
The Resilient Ones: Voices of African American dents who are at risk because of family income level,
Males, in the Journal of Urban Education: Focus on stressful life circumstances, ethnic minority status,
Enrichment, 1(1), 2131. learning English as a second language, and/or being
a student with a special need. She is especially inter-
M. David Alexander is a professor in the Department
ested in the education and socialization of these
of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies,
children. She has coauthored a textbook, written
School of Education, at Virginia Polytechnic
more than 12 peer-reviewed articles, and presented at
Institute and State University. He received his
more than 30 peer-reviewed conferences. At
EdD in educational administration from Indiana
Sacramento State University, she teaches students
University in 1969, and joined Virginia Tech in 1972
who want to advocate for, teach, and/or work with
after having taught at Western Kentucky University.
children and families in some capacity.
Dr. Alexander was a math teacher, coach, and school
board member in the public schools of Kentucky Brad E. Bizzell is an assistant professor and program
and Virginia. He is coauthor of five books, one of area coordinator for the educational leadership pro-
which, American Public School Law, is currently in gram at Radford University. Radfords educational
its eighth edition and is a leading graduate textbook leadership program uses a blended learning model
on education law. He is a coauthor of The Challenges that includes a combination of synchronous and


asynchronous online and face-to-face instruction. Tech. Dr. Brown is a former teacher, special educator
Bizzell completed his PhD in Educational Leadership for students with emotional and behavioral difficul-
and Policy Studies at Virginia Tech in 2011 where he ties, and a former principal of a school for deaf chil-
also earned a Master Online Instructor Certificate. dren. He has served on many national educational
Prior to his current position, he worked for 25 years boards in Trinidad and Tobago, including the National
in public education as a teacher, principal, and school Advisory Committee on Special Education. His
improvement specialist with the Virginia Department research interests are in the areas of school leader-
of Education. His experience includes work at all ship, student achievement, national assessment, and
levels of education in rural, suburban, and urban teachers use of assessment data, with a focus on the
school districts. English-speaking Caribbean. In conducting his
research, he utilizes both quantitative and qualitative
Ira Bogotch is a professor of school leadership at
methodologies. Dr. Brown has been an invited
Florida Atlantic University. In the 1990s, he facili-
speaker and presented his work at several interna-
tated the development of leadership standards in
tional, national, and regional conferences. He served
Louisiana. In 2014, the International Handbook of
as an associate editor for the journal Educational
Educational Leadership and Social (In)Justice was
Measurement: Issues and Practice from 2006 to
published by Springer, coedited by Professor Carolyn
2009 and is an active member of the Comparative &
Shields and Ira. He also serves on a number of edito-
International Education Society, the American
rial boards including the SAGE journal Urban
Educational Research Association, and the National
Education, as well as The Scholar-Practitioner
Council on Measurement in Education.
Quarterly, The Professional Educator, and the
Journal of Research in Leadership Education. He is Theodore B. Creighton was a professor of educa-
the associate editor of the Journal of Cases in tional leadership and policy studies at Virginia Tech
Educational Leadership, published in association prior to his retirement in 2011. He has served as a
with the University Council for Educational teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District
Administration, and the International Journal of and as a principal and superintendent in Fresno and
Leadership in Education. Professor Bogotch has also Kern counties, California. Creighton is widely pub-
held short-term visiting professorships in Malaysia, lished in the areas of school leadership and the use of
Scotland, and Australia. data to improve decision making in K-12 schools. He
currently serves as publications director for the
Kathleen M. Brown currently serves as professor of
National Council of Professors of Educational
educational leadership and policy at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests
include effective, site-based servant leadership that Autumn Tooms Cyprs is the chair of the Department
connects theory, practice, and issues of social justice. of Educational Leadership in the School of Education
Her most recent book, Preparing Future Leaders for at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a for-
Social Justice, Equity, and Excellence, was published mer school principal whose research examines the
as part of the Christopher-Gordon School Leadership politics of school leadership and school reform. Her
Series. Kathleen received a bachelor of arts degree in contributions as a principal include the desegregation
psychology and theology with an elementary educa- of a school and the implementation of a schoolwide
tion concentration from Immaculata College, a mas- dual language program. Autumn served as the 50th
ter of arts in educational administration from Rowan president of the University Council for Educational
University, and her EdD at Temple University. Administration, and her work can be found in jour-
nals for scholars and practicing school leaders such
Launcelot I. Brown, PhD, is the Barbara A. Sizemore
as Educational Administration Quarterly, Kappan,
Professor of Urban Education at Duquesne University,
and Educational Leadership. She received her doc-
associate professor of educational research, and chair
torate from Arizona State University in 1996.
of the Department of Educational Foundations and
Leadership. He earned his PhD in educational Frank Davidson is the superintendent of the Casa
research, evaluation, and policy studies from Virginia Grande Elementary School District in Casa Grande,

Arizona, a position he has held since 1997. He has law and labor relations in education and over
served as a teacher, principal, and assistant superin- 160 book chapters, law review articles, peer-reviewed
tendent for curriculum and instruction. He received journal articles, professional education articles, and
his doctorate in education at the University of case and policy commentaries. Prior to joining the
Arizona in 2005. He coauthored Contours of Great faculty at the University of New Hampshire, he spent
Leadership, published in 2013. He received the 18 years in the public schools of California, holding
Superintendent of the Year Award for Large School such positions a substitute teacher, elementary school
Districts from the Arizona School Administrators in teacher, assistant principal (K-6), principal (K-8),
2000 and was the Arizona nominee for National director of personnel amd labor relations (K-12), and
Superintendent of the Year, presented by the American superintendent (K-8). He served as the chief negotia-
Association of School Administrators in 2006. tor for two school districts and consults with school
districts and teachers about collective bargaining and
Elizabeth DeBray is a professor in the Department labor relations issues.
of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy in
the College of Education, University of Georgia. She Shannon Dickson is a university professor and a
received her EdD in administration, planning, and licensed psychologist in part-time private practice in
social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Sacramento, California, where she provides psycho-
Education in 2001. Dr. DeBrays major interests are educational assessments and individual psychother-
the implementation and effects of federal and state apy services to adults and youths with a special
elementary and secondary school policies and the focus on children, adolescents, and families. As a
politics of education at the federal level. She is member of the Sacramento Multicultural Counseling
author of Politics, Ideology, and Education: Federal and Consulting Associates (MCCA) she provides
Policy During the Clinton and Bush Administrations consultation services, workshops, and trainings in
(Teachers College Press, 2006), which analyzes the K-12 schools in such areas as culturally responsive
politics of the reauthorization of the Elementary and service delivery, crisis intervention, and recognizing
Secondary Education Act in the 106th and 107th trauma response in children. She has coauthored two
Congresses. She was a 2005 recipient of the National book chapters and written several journal articles
Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral and has presented at two international conferences
Fellowship, which supported her research on educa- and a host of national and local conferences. Her
tion interest groups, think tanks, and Congress. With research interests include responses of youths and
Christopher Lubienski and Janelle Scott, she is the families of color to traumatic experiences (e.g., child
coprincipal investigator on a William T. Grant abuse and intimate partner violence) and culturally
funded project on how intermediary organizations responsive mental health treatment of children and
promote research on incentivist policies (charter their families.
schools and teacher pay for performance) in three
school districts and at the national/federal level. Patricia F. First is the Eugene T. Moore Distinguished
Professor of Educational Leadership at Clemson
Todd A. DeMitchell is the John and H. Irene Peters University and Director of the UCEA Center for
Endowed Professor of Education at the University of Leadership in Law and Education. Dr. Firsts research
New Hampshire. He was named distinguished pro- and teaching are focused on the legal and policy
fessor of the university in 2010 and was selected as issues of the education system, particularly those
the Lamberton Professor of Justice Studies from issues intersecting with ethical leadership furthering
2010 to 2013. He earned graduate degrees from the justice for children, the role of school boards and the
University of La Verne (American intellectual his- financing of education. She is the author of
tory), University of California at Davis (philosophy Educational Policy for School Administrators, and
of education), and the University of Southern School Boards: Changing Local Control. She has
California (education). In addition, he completed his written numerous legal monographs, book chapters,
postdoctoral study at Harvard University (school law and articles in scholarly and practitioner journals
and policy). He has published six books on school and has presented education law topics nationally and

internationally. Her current work focuses upon the equity and access. His current work examines
legal and ethical rights of immigrant children. Dr. First organizational responses to competitive conditions in
received her EdD at Illinois State University and her local education markets, including geo-spatial analy-
JD at The University of Dayton School of Law. ses of charter schools and research on innovation in
education markets. Lubienski was recently a Fulbright
Kimberly Kappler Hewitt serves as assistant pro-
Senior Scholar for New Zealand and continues to
fessor of educational leadership at the University of
study that countrys school policies and student
North Carolina Greensboro. She earned her PhD in
enrollment patterns. He is principal investigator of a
educational leadership from Miami University. Her
multiyear project on intermediary organizations
books include Differentiation Is an Expectation: A
ability to influence the use of research evidence in
School Leaders Guide to Building a Culture of
the policymaking process with Elizabeth DeBray and
Differentiation (2011) and Postcards From the
Janelle Scott. He has authored both theoretical and
Schoolhouse: Practitioner Scholars Examine
empirical papers, including peer-reviewed articles in
Contemporary Issues in Instructional Leadership
the American Journal of Education, the Oxford
(2013). Her research focuses on the ethical and effi-
Review of Education, the American Educational
cacious use of educational data. She served as a
Research Journal, Educational Policy, and
school and district administrator for 8 years in Ohio
the Congressional Quarterly Researcher. Lubienski
where she worked to cultivate and interrogate best
is the author of The Charter School Experiment:
practices in classroom instruction.
Expectations, Evidence, and Implications (with Peter
Eric A. Houck, is an associate professor of educa- Weitzel, Harvard Education Press, 2010) and The
tional leadership and policy at the University of Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his doc- Outperform Private Schools (with Sarah Theule
toral degree from Peabody College of Vanderbilt Lubienski, University of Chicago Press, 2014).
University. Dr. Houck is a specialist in school
Fred C. Lunenburg is The Jimmy N. Merchant
finance, having published in an array of journals on
Professor of Education at Sam Houston State
such topics as equity and efficiency in state educa-
University, where he teaches graduate courses in
tion funding systems, and the resource allocation
educational leadership. He has taught at the University
implications of district level policies such as student
of Louisville and Loyola University Chicago. In
addition, he has served as a high school English
Jane Clark Lindle, PhD, is Eugene T. Moore teacher, principal, superintendent of schools, and
Professor of Educational Leadership at Clemson university dean. He has authored or coauthored
University. She has developed innovative leadership 25 books and more than 200 journal articles. His best
development programs for aspiring and practicing known books include: Educational Administration:
school leaders in rural schools. She has prepared Concepts and Practices (1991, 1996, 2000, 2004,
parents and community members for their decision- 2008, 2012), Creating a Culture for High-Performing
making roles in school governance. Lindle has expe- Schools (2008, 2012), Writing a Successful Thesis or
rience as a principal in two states and as a teacher in Dissertation (Corwin, 2008), The Principalship:
five states. She has served as a special education Vision to Action (2006), Shaping the Future (2003),
teacher in secondary schools. Her recent publications The Changing World of School Administration (2002),
include work on school safety and cognitive coach- and High Expectations: An Action Plan for
ing of experienced and midcareer school leaders. Implementing Goals 2000 (Sage, 2000).
Christopher Lubienski is a professor of education Catherine Marshall is the R. Wendell Eaves
policy and the director of the Forum on the Future of Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership
Public Education at the University of Illinois and Sir and Policy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel
Walter Murdoch Adjunct Professor at Murdoch Hill. Her ten books include Designing Qualitative
University in Australia. His research focuses on edu- Research, Reframing Educational Politics for Social
cation policy, reform, and the political economy of Justice, Leadership for Social Justice, The Assistant
education, with a particular concern for issues of Principal, and Activist Educators. Marshall was

president of the Politics of Education Association and Abul Pitre, PhD, is professor and department head
vice president of politics and policy of the American of educational leadership and counseling at Prairie
Educational Research Association. Awards include the View A&M University, where he teaches graduate
Stephen Bailey Award for Shaping the Intellectual and courses. His current research interests are in the areas
Research Agendas of the Field of Politics and the of multicultural education for educational leaders,
Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award for contribu- critical educational theory, and the educational
tions that changed the leadership field. philosophy of Elijah Muhammad.
Dionne V. McLaughlin, author of Insights: How William K. Poston, Jr., is an emeritus professor of
Expert Principals Make Difficult Decisions, is an educational leadership and policy studies at Iowa
assistant professor at North Carolina Central State University in Ames, Iowa, where he served
University. She is a British-born Jamaican educator from 1990 to 2005. He taught school finance and
and an experienced bilingual high school and ele- school business management and managed the Iowa
mentary school principal. Dr. McLaughlin has School Business Management Academy, sponsored
13 years of experience as a principal and assistant by the Iowa Association of School Business Officials.
principal, five years of experience as a K-12 director, He is the former superintendent of schools in Tucson
and four years of experience as a program director and Phoenix, Arizona, and in Billings, Montana. He
for a Latino community-based organization. was the youngest elected international president of
Additionally, she has nine years of experience teach- Phi Delta Kappa, selected as an outstanding young
ing. Her doctorate of education in educational leader- leader in American education in 1980. He has
ship was earned from the University of North authored numerous professional articles and
Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed her masters published over a dozen professional books.
in education from the Harvard Graduate School of
Education. Her most recent scholarly article on Pamela Jane Powell spent over two decades as an
effective teachers of African American and Latino elementary school teacher prior to coming to Northern
high school students was Inside Our World: How Arizona University. Now, she is dedicated to helping
Administrators Can Improve Schools by Learning teachers learn to utilize current, inclusionary, and
From the Experiences of African American and developmentally appropriate practices in their class-
Latino High School Students, in the National rooms to promote learning for all students. She serves
Council of Professors of Educational Administration as chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning
(NCPEA) Education Leadership Review Special in the College of Education at NAU. Interested in
Issue (2013),14(2), 2840. education policies that affect students in public school
settings, she has studied the practice of grade reten-
Connie M. Moss, an associate professor and director tion and is interested in studying the high correlation
of the Center for Advancing the Study of Teaching of grade retention to subsequent high school dropout,
and Learning (CASTL) at Duquesne University, transitions, and subsequent life trajectories.
earned her EdD at Duquesne. Her research, pub-
lished in books, chapters, and journal articles, occurs Jennifer Prior is an associate professor of literacy
at the nexus of classroom assessment, social justice, and early childhood in the Department of Teaching
student learning and achievement, teacher effective- and Learning at Northern Arizona University. She
ness, and educational leadership. Her most recent received her PhD in curriculum and instruction
book, coauthored with Susan Brookhart, is Formative from Arizona State University. Her research inter-
Classroom Walkthroughs: How Principals and ests include early literacy, family involvement in
Teachers Collaborate to Raise Student Achievement education, and teacher preparation. She is the author
(ASCD, 2015). The book advances a learning target and coauthor of over 70 books and articles for
theory of action to help principals and teachers use teachers, including Environmental Print in the
evidence from what students produce during daily Classroom: Meaningful Connections for Learning
lessons to develop assessment capable students, to Read, Family Involvement in Early Childhood
increase the effectiveness of teachers and administra- Education: Research Into Practice, and Curriculum:
tors, and raise student achievement. The Inside Story in Curriculum and Teaching

Dialogue, 14(1/2). She has 12 years of teaching education at Texas A&M University-College Station.
experience in elementary classrooms. Her publications explore culturally appropriate strate-
gies for the instruction of English language learners in
Matthew T. Proto currently serves as assistant dean kindergarten through fifth grades and family involve-
of admission at Stanford University. Previously, he ment of Spanish-speaking Hispanics in public schools.
served as director of selection for the Morehead-Cain
Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Claire E. Schonaerts taught 35 years in the
Chapel Hill, associate director of admission and col- PreK-12 school setting and served in the area of
lege counseling at Choate Rosemary Hall, and assis- school administration before spending the last
tant director of undergraduate admission at Yale decade in higher education. She has brought her
University. Matt received a bachelorof arts in history years of experience and passion for teaching and
from Yale University, a master of arts in liberal stud- learning to teacher-candidates as an associate clini-
ies from Wesleyan University, and his EdD at the cal professor at Northern Arizona University. Her
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. work with pre-service teachers is fueled by her
desire to support their knowledge, skills, and pro-
Beth Parrott Reynolds, PhD, is the executive direc- fessional dispositions. Supporting childrens early
tor of the National Dropout Prevention Center at literacy development and acquisition in the United
Clemson University. She is a former English teacher, States, Asia, and Europe is an enduring interest that
high school principal, and assistant superintendent propels her research and outreach. Her work with
with more than 30 years of experience in leading teachers and administrators to support the survi-
schools and districts to develop the internal capacity vors of devastating typhoons in the Philippines has
to drive change for student and organizational suc- provided opportunities for mutual understanding
cess. In addition to keynote speeches, Reynolds is and professional development in a cross-cultural
often asked to lead deep work with schools and dis- setting.
tricts in areas including standards, assessment,
instruction, and grading. She is a coauthor on two Janelle Scott is an associate professor at the
books about assessment. University of California at Berkeley in the Graduate
School of Education and African American Studies
Darlene C. Ryan is the principal of Glenwood Department. A former elementary school teacher,
Elementary School, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and her research explores the relationship between edu-
formerly served as the math-science coordinator. She cation, policy, and equality of opportunity through
completed her bachelors, masters, and doctorate three policy strands: (a) the racial politics of public
degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel education; (b) the politics of school choice, marketi-
Hill with a dissertation on principal mentoring. Ryan zation, and privatization; and (c) the role of elite and
currently serves as the president of the National community-based advocacy in shaping public edu-
Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA) cation. She was a Spencer Foundation Dissertation
and has served as North Carolina Science Leadership Year Fellow and a National Academy of Education/
Association (NCSLA) president. The UNC-CH Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. With
School of Education honored Ryan with the Christopher Lubienski and Elizabeth DeBray, and
Distinguished Alumni AwardExcellence in funding from the William T. Grant Foundation, she
Teaching, and NCSLA honored Ryan with the is currently studying the role of intermediary orga-
Herman Gatling Distinguished Service to Science nizations in research production, promotion, and
Education Award. Ryan recently completed the North utilization in the case of incentivist educational
Carolina Principal and Assistant Principal Association reforms.
Distinguished Leadership in Practice Program.
Jennifer A. Sughrue is director and graduate coordi-
Claudia Sanchez is associate professor of bilingual nator for the Ed.D. program in educational leadership
education and English as a second language at Texas and professor at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Womans University. She earned a PhD in educational Her areas of instruction include law, policy, ethics,
psychology with an area of emphasis in bilingual politics of education, history of American schooling,

comparative education, social justice in education, published in Education and Urban Society (2002).
and leadership for diverse populations. Her areas of He is currently enrolled as a doctoral student at the
research focus primarily on law and policy, including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
special education. She writes and presents exten-
Alicia Valero-Kerrick is a university lecturer at
sively on the federal constitutional rights of students.
California State University, Sacramento, and a
Gail L. Thompson, Fayetteville State Universitys school psychologist. She has worked as an evalua-
Wells Fargo Endowed Professor of Education, has tion coordinator, a training coordinator, and a
written six books, including the award-nominated The private educational consultant. Her interests include
Power of One: How You Can Help or Harm African early literacy development, best practice for stu-
American Students, and the critically acclaimed dents with special needs, and the professionaliza-
Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know tion of educators in the field of early childhood
But Are Afraid to Ask About African American Students. education to promote advanced learning and devel-
Yes, You Can! Advice for Teachers Who Want a Great opment experiences for young children. She has
Start and a Great Finish With Their Students of Color, coauthored a textbook, Early Childhood Education:
a book for beginning teachers that she coauthored Becoming a Professional, and presented at various
with her husband, Rufus Thompson, was published by conferences. She has delivered staff development
Corwin. Her work has also been published in newspa- and training for early childhood education teachers
pers and journals nationwide. She has given hundreds working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and
of presentations and workshops, and has appeared on kindergartners. She has knowledge of effective
television and radio programs. Thompson earned a instruction, consultation and coordination, mental
doctorate from Claremont Graduate University. health, behavior, school organization, prevention,
and program evaluation.
Jeffrey E. Uhlenberg currently serves as an elemen-
tary school principal in Greensboro, North Carolina. Bradford J. Walston is principal at Providence
He has also been a middle school principal and assis- Grove High School in the Randolph County School
tant principal, and an elementary and middle school System in Central North Carolina. He earned his BA
teacher. Uhlenberg holds masters degrees in school in history from East Carolina University, and he
administration from the University of North Carolina holds a master of arts in school administration and
at Chapel Hill and in elementary education from the an EdD from the University of North Carolina at
University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Chapel Hill. His research interests are in exploring
Uhlenberg coauthored an article titled Racial Gap in school turnaround as well as the adaptive leadership
Teachers Perceptions of the Achievement Gap capabilities of school-based administrators.

T he general editor acknowledges the encour-

agement and support of three deans in the
School of Education at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2001: Madeleine
Grumet, Thomas James, and Bill McDiarmid. Thank
Thanks also to Robert Eaves Jr. for endowing
the School of Education with funds to support
research and development in educational leader-
ship in the memory of his late father Robert
Wendell Eaves Senior, who served as executive
you for making it possible to serve as general editor secretary of the National Association of
of the first and second editions of the SAGE Elementary School Principals from 1950 to 1969,
Handbook of Educational Leadership (2005, 2011); and who was my professor of educational admin-
the Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and istration at the University of Southern California
Administration (two volumes) in 2006, and the four- in 1964. He was a remarkable national educational
volume Educational Leadership and Administration, leader.
part of the SAGE Library of Educational Thought
and Practice major works series, in 2009. Fenwick W. English, General Editor


The SAGE Guide to Educational Leadership practice, specifically aimed at the school site admin-
and Management: A Living Reference istrator and students at the masters degree level.
Situated in Practice

Welcome to the third component of SAGEs unique Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk:
tripartite approach to improving educational leader- About the Chapter Authors
ship and management practice in the schools. It is
called a guide to differentiate it from other reference A quick look at the chapter authors of The SAGE
works such as SAGEs A-to-Z Encyclopedia of Guide to Educational Leadership and Management
Educational Leadership and Administration, released shows that some currently are practicing school
in 2006, and The SAGE Handbook of Educational administrators. A larger number are former practitioners
Leadership, published in 2005 with a second edition turned professors, who currently reside at more
in 2011, all of which were edited by Fenwick W. than 20 different institutions of higher education in
English. The encyclopedia is very broad and includes 13 different states. The universities represented by
interdisciplinary terms and concepts that have the chapter authors range from public research giants
impacted school leadership over a century, while the such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-
handbook is designed to take the reader deeply into Champaign, the University of North Carolina at
contemporary research. The concept of a guide, how- Chapel Hill, and Virginia Commonwealth University
ever, has a very different design and purpose. in Richmond, Virginia. Others are more regionally
The SAGE Guide to Educational Leadership and prominent such as Sam Houston State University in
Management is designed to be a highly readable, Texas, Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff,
practical, and brief treatment of foundational knowl- Arizona, Sacramento State University in California,
edge and information about current leadership and and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti,
management issues in the schools. While research is Michigan.
not ignored and is included where relevant, the Guide There are also authors from historically Black col-
is meant to distill research and good practice rather leges and universities such as Prairie View A&M in
than to become involved in purely research or meth- Texas and Fayetteville State University in North
odological issues. So this book is not a review of the Carolina, as well as smaller private, religiously cen-
research about leadership and management, nor tered institutions such as Duquesne University in
about how to conduct research about leadership and Pittsburgh. The institutions in which our authors
management. It is about how to improve the practice work are located in densely populated California,
of leadership and management by providing exem- Texas, and Florida, and in smaller, more rural states
plars, models, perspectives, and criteria by which such as Iowa and New Hampshire. In short, there is
practice can be redefined, reshaped, and reimagined. great diversity represented by our chapter authors,
The Guide is a reference work, but it is more than not only in their own personal experiences and
that. It is a living reference situated in contemporary careers as educational leaders, but in their places of


work. Readers can be sure that our authors talk the However, the guide can also be used in a more tradi-
talk because most have walked the walk. Thats tional way and read sequentially. The logic of the
why they were approached to contribute to this book chapter flow does reflect how the editors conceptual-
by the general editor, Fenwick W. English, and the ize the most important aspects of leadership at the
two associate editors, Rosemary Papa and JoAnn school site level. The context for the chapters is dis-
Danelo Barbour. tinctively American and located within the American
social, cultural, and legal systems. This is not to say
that educators in other nations do not have similar
The Layout of The SAGE Guide to problems; they too might find the chapter contents
Educational Leadership and Management interesting and useful. It simply acknowledges that
the focus of the book is centered in the American
The layout for the Guide consists of 30 chapters clus- experience. We now review the 10 book themes and
tered into 10 broad, intersecting themes within the the chapters within each theme.
practice of educational leadership and management
in the schools. We briefly review them here and give
an overview of each section and its contents. We
The Themes and Chapters of the Guide
should say at the outset that the reader can expect
some overlap and blurring among the chapter con- Theme 1: Leadership and Management
tents inasmuch as the job of managing and leading
schools is an interdisciplinary endeavor. The creation The initial three chapters of the Guide present the
of conceptually pure categories to try and provide a core notions of leadership and management that pro-
more singular focus for presentation and discussion vide a conceptual framework for the remainder of the
is therefore elusive. For example, cyberbullying is a book. The initial chapter, Unraveling the Leadership/
matter of school safety, but also an emerging area of Management Paradox, by Ira Bogotch of Florida
school law. Digital learning laps over several catego- Atlantic University, confronts the paradox of whether
ries relating to practice. Practical problems almost improving schools is an issue for management or for
always lap over more than one academic discipline or leadership. He observes that American school admin-
category. That is to be expected, and confronting istration was, and remains, in thrall to the tenets of
these problems depends on how one sorts them out. scientific management and specifically to the ideas
If the problems in educational leadership and man- of Franklin Bobbitt. Dr. Bogotch indicates how these
agement are interdisciplinary, then so must be texts tenets are reflected in leadership standards, but prof-
that purport to solve them. Each chapter ends with fers the notion that leadership cannot be improved
key terms defined and further readings recom- without a reengagement in school management and
mended. Links are also provided for websites, blogs, that is the paradox to be confronted in improving and
and other types of electronic references, so that the reforming schools.
reader can quickly learn more. The second chapter, The Emerging Wisdom of
Here, we present the general flow of the book. We Educational Leadership by the guides Editor
did not assume that a reader would sit down and Fenwick W. English of the University of North
chronologically read it from Chapter 1 to Chapter 30. Carolina at Chapel Hill and Associate Editor
Rather our assumption was that readers would jump Rosemary Papa of Northern Arizona University, picks
into some chapters as the need for such a resource up the themes developed in Chapter 1, and posits that
arose in their practice of school leadership, and per- both leadership and management are required to
haps not read other chapters because there were no improve schools. It is not a choice to be captured by
problems in that area. So the context of the book is one or the other, but rather a dynamic dyad that must
one that may be called need or problem based be taken together. The chapter then examines six
reflecting the old adage that, If it aint broke, dont dimensions of this dyad and explores the concept of
fix it. Graduate programs using a case study approach artful leadership within Dr. Papas concept of accou-
to learning school administration would be especially trements as a perspective regarding how experience
apt to use the text, as would school practitioners. and knowledge are woven together to improve actual

leadership practice. Effective decision making rather than a deficit, approach. One of the keys is the
involves balancing three factors: personal risk, idea of a community audit, which is described in
uncertainty, and emotionality in context. detail.
Chapter 3 is Understanding How the Bureaucratic Chapter 6 is Response to Intervention and Its
Maze Works, by Autumn Tooms Cyprs of Virginia Impact on Classroom Performance, by Alicia Valero-
Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Kerrick of California State University at Sacramento.
Dr. Cyprs opens this chapter by dealing with the As Dr. Valero-Kerrick explains, Response to
negative halo surrounding the term bureaucracy Intervention (RTI) is an innovative service delivery
and moves to present the organizational complexity model designed to help all students succeed aca-
facing school site leaders by substituting the term demically. It is a tiered intervention framework
network for it. School site leaders (principals, where students are provided with research-based
assistant principals, department or grade-level chairs, instruction, and evidence-based interventions that
and instructional coaches) have to leverage their are student unique. RTI addresses long-standing con-
change agendas within formal and informal net- cerns with educating students with learning chal-
works, collectively referenced as a kind of lenges, including English language learners, students
stammbaum, a German term for network or family from impoverished backgrounds, and students with
tree. The notion of political fit is explored as a way learning disabilities. Since all 50 states allow RTI as
to consider membership in a network and to success- a method for learning disability identification, this
fully negotiate school system networks. chapter is timely and relevant everywhere in the
United States.
Theme 2: Teaching and Learning
Theme 3: Curriculum and Instruction
Teaching and learning are the heart of the school
and its raison dtre. The three chapters (Chapters 4, Practical concerns with matters pertaining to cur-
5, and 6) within this theme concentrate on issues and riculum and instruction are the theme of Chapters 7
practices central to teaching and learning. Chapter 4 to 9. Chapter 7, first under this theme, is Fenwick
is What Makes a Good Teacher? Models of Effective Englishs Multiculturalism Versus the Common
Teaching, by Jennifer Prior of Northern Arizona Core. As the nation moves toward a common cur-
University. The components of being an effective riculum with a common set of tests for the first time
teacher are carefully reviewed and include classroom in its history, several important issues have emerged.
management, teaching strategies, building family The first is the question, Whose common curricu-
partnerships, and reflective teaching. The need for lum is common? The enormous cultural diversity of
differentiated instruction is discussed along with the the U.S. school population means that some children
concept of building family partnerships. would inevitably find the idea of knowledge that is
Chapter 5 is Overcoming Learning Barriers for common to all not to be true of their different cultural
All Students, by Jane Clark Lindle and Beth Parrott experience. The idea of multiculturalism is severely
Reynolds from Clemson University in South Carolina. challenged with a one size fits all assumption behind
The framing for the chapter is a bio-ecological under- the Common Core State Standards. Other issues with
standing of students worlds, which offers a lens for the Common Core revolve around the control of the
attending to multiple aspects of the learners ecology curriculum, which up to this time has been reserved
(social, cultural, political, institutional, interper- to the respective states. Will there end up being a
sonal, and individual). This broader approach common national curriculum, and will this be uncon-
requires analysis of four ecologies in the following stitutional?
order: (a) social, cultural, and economic, (b) policies Chapter 8 is The Growing Hispanic Population in
and rules, (c) teaching strategies, and then (d) learn- U.S. Schools: Challenges and Solutions from
ing strategies for individual students use. When Claudia Sanchez, a professor of bilingual education
school leaders confront barriers to learning, they at Texas Womans University. The author identifies
have multiple resources in their school ecologies. the four main challenges facing school leaders as a
The key is to confront the barriers with an optimistic, result of the growth in the numbers of Hispanic

students, along with five potential solutions that University. Dr. Brown differentiates between tests
include strategies school leaders can use to overcome and assessments, indicating that assessment is the
them. The challenges are the importance of respond- process of documenting, describing, quantifying, and
ing to school enrollment projections, the need to interpreting the data from a test to retrieve the infor-
educate children of poverty, the urgency of meeting mation hidden therein about an individuals learning,
the needs of language minority children, and the attitudes, and beliefs. The overarching questions
need to reduce dropout rates and increase college posed in this chapter are, Is the test really capturing
completion rates. Among the many program options the data it was designed to capture? and Is the test
for English language learners, bilingual education is being used with the appropriate population? The
more effective than all-English approaches (submer- answers to these questions address issues of the reli-
sion, structured English immersion, ESL), especially ability of the data generated by the test and, as a
in cases where ELLs native language is stronger consequence, the validity of the conclusions drawn
than their second language. Dr. Sanchez concludes from the test. But, foundational to each question is an
with an exploration of the critical assumptions ethical concern. Thus issues of reliability and validity
behind effective programs for non-English language are ethical issues and are integral to the code of ethi-
speakers. cal standards that delineate the social responsibility
Chapter 9 is by Kimberly Kappler Hewitt, a pro- that guides a profession and the personal responsibil-
fessor of educational leadership at the University of ity of practitioners within the profession.
North Carolina at Greensboro, who explores the Chapter 11 is Achievement Gaps: Causes, False
topic of The Continuing Search for Best Practices in Promises, and Bogus Reforms, by Dr. Connie
Classroom Instruction. The concept of best practices M. Moss, also from Duquesne University. In the first
reflects the 17th- and 18th-century Enlightenment part of this chapter, Dr. Moss discusses the question
notion of betterment through change grounded in What is achievement? The answer is not obvious.
scientific knowledge. Dr. Hewitt indicates that while Achievement can have numerous definitions depend-
the concept of best practices has notable merits, there ing on content, grade level, and expectations for suc-
are also substantive concerns about it that fall into cess. The chapter examines the historic achievement
four broad categories: theoretical challenges, issues gap over several decades and offers a wide and pen-
of social justice and equity, challenges of practice, etrating review of the adequacies and inadequacies of
and misuse of best practices. Among the most serious the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) as well as
is that best practices work toward oversimplifying Race to the Top (RTT). Various types of gaps are also
and ultimately deskilling teaching. Dr. Hewitt says discussed, including those attributed to race,
that when considering best practices, we must ask, opportunity, and competency.
Best for whom, in what context, under what condi- In Chapter 12, Cheater, Cheater, I Declare: The
tions, for what goals/ends/purposes and best as deter- Prevalence, Causes, and Effects of, and the Solutions
mined by whom, using what criteria and evidence, to, School Cheating Scandals, Dr. Gail L. Thompson
and selected over what alternatives? Context is key of Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North
and includes historical, social, political, and cultural Carolina, discusses causes of the escalating cheating
elements. There is no best practice that serves all scandals, which appear to be becoming more preva-
students needs at any given time in any given setting. lent. Described are scandals in Atlanta, Georgia,
Washington, D.C., and El Paso, Texas, and the draco-
Theme 4: Testing and Assessment nian approaches of the chief school administrators in
these school systems who had allegedly created a
There are few more heated issues in education climate of fear and retribution to the point where
today than matters concerning testing and assess- educators engaged in unethical behavior rather than
ment and their use in accountability and pay for face being punished or humiliated for low test
performance schemes. Three chapters in this theme scores. In El Paso, Texas, a superintendent was even
(Chapters 10, 11 and 12) explore these issues and sent to federal prison for schemes to defraud the
more. Chapter 10 is What Is This Test Really district and federal government that included his
Testing? Validity, Reliability, and Test Ethics by involvement in inflating student test scores. Dr.
Launcelot I. Brown, a professor at Duquesne Thompson closes by presenting some of the

solutions that can be pursued by school leaders and most ubiquitous social media tools, Facebook,
teachers to counteract the new pressure to improve Myspace, and Twitter. The authors of this chapter use
test scores. existing case law to help teachers and principals in
the schools understand and utilize legal decisions
Theme 5: Technology, the Internet, related to social media in dealing with the enormous
and Online Learning impact social media is having in their schools. In the
past 10 years, there have been numerous cases
Educators are slowly becoming aware of the enor- involving students and electronic media or communi-
mous impact the digital world has had on students cation. These cases have involved student blogging,
and the schools. Chapters 13, 14, and 15 explore and Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, email, instant messag-
expose some of those impacts. In Chapter 13, The ing, and texting. The courts have been faced with
Expanding Wireless World of Schooling James E. numerous questions, such as, Do the student free
Berry of Eastern Michigan University characterizes speech cases apply to student activity off-campus?
technology as a disruptive innovation that has and Do the student free speech cases apply if the
already led to the decentralization and global expan- student uses his grandmothers computer to post
sion of learning. Dr. Berry examines the infrastruc- derogative statements about a principal or fellow
ture of global learning and how the traditional student? The authors review the most recent and
brick-and-mortar concept of schooling is being pen- important court decisions in the arena of social
etrated by digitally infused structures that challenge media and indicate that new rules are being written
conventional bureaucratic concepts. He then sketches for communication in cyberspace.
out the future school as an example of a disruptive
innovation in which education is flattened through Theme 6: Budgeting, Finance
technology. This development will create a much and Fund-Raising
more individualized and personalized type of learn-
ing that is still not the norm in conventional schools. Money for support of public education at all levels
Chapter 14 is The Opportunities and Challenges has never been tighter than in the years since the Great
of Online and Blended Learning, by Brad E. Bizzell Recession. Chapter 16 is Understanding School
of Radford University in Virginia. Dr. Bizzell Finance Laws and Practices by Eric A. Houck of the
observes that online learning is a fifth-generation University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Houck
distance learning technology, following mail, radio, first briefly describes the context of educational fund-
television, and videoconferencing. However, unlike ing and then introduces four values that frame discus-
the previous generations of distance learning, the sions of school finance issues and have implications
growth of online and blended learning is occurring at for school administrators: equity, efficiency, liberty,
a rapid pace. Online learning is defined as teacher- and adequacy. The chapter also introduces a concep-
led education that occurs entirely or mostly online. tual shift from school finance to resource alloca-
Online learning includes static content, multimedia, tion as a profitable framework from which school
and links to various resources in addition to the administrators may work, even in the face of the lim-
online delivery of instruction. Blended learning, also ited resources of tightly controlled school budgets.
referred to as hybrid learning, includes a mix, or Chapter 17, Expectations Exceeding Revenues:
blend, of online instruction with face-to-face instruc- Budgeting for Increased Productivity, is by William
tion. Blended learning is not simply the use of Web- K. Poston, Jr., of Iowa State University. He describes
based resources in the conduct of a traditional class; budgeting as an artspecifically the creation of a
rather, it occurs when a significant portion of the quantified financial strategy to implement organiza-
instruction is delivered in the online environment. tional plans and goals for a specified future account-
The chapter closes with a presentation of planning ing period. Moreover, it requires constraining planned
for online and blended programs. expenditures to no more than tangible revenues avail-
Chapter 15 is Social Media and Texting: The Law able for the allocation process. Included are the four
and Considerations for School Policy by Theodore basic steps for budgeting and an explanation of the
B. Creighton and M. David Alexander, both profes- new requisites. These requisites pertain to including
sors at Virginia Tech. The chapter focuses on the cost-benefit analyses, utilizing knowledge of the

results of budgeted activities, and implementing par- safe school? Safe schools are not only about physical
ticipatory decision making for organizational alloca- safety, but about emotional and psychological safety,
tions. The author concludes with a step-by-step as well. Child safety starts when a parent takes the
outline of how to implement performance-based youngster to catch the big yellow bus to school.
budgeting. More than 450,000 school buses transport approxi-
Chapter 18 is A Free Public Education for All: mately 25 million students per day, which represents
Rediscovering the Promise, by Fred C. Lunenburg over 55% of the K-12 enrollment. The chapter
of Sam Houston State University in Texas. reviews what the school site leader has to know
Dr. Lunenburg provides a unique perspective on regarding transportation, including why there was a
much of the current commentary about the alleged debate regarding the use of seat belts on school
failures of public education by declaring that all of buses. The authors also discuss the general matter of
the pronouncements about the crisis in education are school violence, including the major forms of school
largely a myth. He concedes, however, that there are violenceverbal, social or indirect, sexual, physical,
huge disparities for children who are poor and for and property-related violence; cyberbullying (also
African American, Native American, and Latino stu- discussed in the previous chapter); and corporal
dents, compared to White students and those from punishment. The need to reexamine so-called zero-
certain Asian groups. Dr. Lunenburg examines the tolerance policies is also part of this very practical
achievement gap, its causes linked to social class, chapter.
poverty, racial isolation, and child-rearing and health- In Chapter 21, Charter Schools and the
related barriers to school learning. He argues that Privatization of Public Education: A Critical Race
NCLB does not address education inequality, and Theory Analysis, Abul Pitre of Prairie View A&M
instead has had negative effects on schools. He closes in Texas and Tawannah G. Allen of Fayetteville State
the chapter by reviewing current means of privatizing University in North Carolina examine the growth of
public education in the form of school choice pro- the charter school movement through the lens of
grams, including tuition tax credits, vouchers, and critical race theory (CRT). Emerging in the mid-
charter schools. 1970s with the work of legal scholars who were dis-
tressed over the slow pace of racial reform in the
Theme 7: School Law, Safety, and United States, CRT attempts to provide a greater
the Limits of Regulation understanding of the intersection of race and educa-
tion. On the surface, charter schools appear to offer
Under this theme, the first chapter is Todays minority students a better educational option and
Compelling Issues in Public School Law, written by thus appear to be the great equalizer for historically
M. David Alexander of Virginia Tech, Patricia F. First underserved groups. As the authors illustrate, how-
of Clemson University, and Jennifer A. Sughrue of ever, analysis from an interest convergence perspec-
Southeastern Louisiana University. Chapter 19 high- tive reveals that the charter school movement serves
lights two important current areas: (1) bullying and the interest of the powerful and has very little to do
cyberbullying; and (2) search and seizure. These areas with education for the empowerment of disenfran-
are very important to the school site administrator for chised groups. The charter school movement and the
several reasons, but school safety is paramount. privatization of public education are not new in edu-
Bullying and cyberbullying have led to students cation. As this chapter illustrates, these movements
being injured and, in several cases, have been cited as have taken different names at different times, but the
at least one reason for victims committing suicide. outcome remains remarkably the same.
Knowledge of when search and seizure procedures
are permissible in schools is important for school Theme 8: Students, Parents, and
administrators since these procedures relate to the Special Populations
need to promote school safety through measures
such as removal of alcohol, drugs, and weapons from Chapter 22 is Student Conduct, Attendance, and
school property. Discipline: The Troika of School Safety and Stability,
Chapter 20, Transportation, School Safety, and by Claire E. Schonaerts and Pamela Jane Powell of
Dealing With Bullies, by Jennifer A. Sughrue and Northern Arizona University. The troika of positive
M. David Alexander, examines the issue of what is a student conduct, consistent attendance, and the

cultivation of self-discipline is a major challenge of a prominent responsibility for professional school

school site leaders. The ability to harness these three counselors as they influence and effect change in
essential student responsesconduct, attendance, ways that teachers and administrators cannot, given
and disciplineoften requires behaviors that demand their other responsibilities and duties. Counselors are
professional practice. At the heart of this challenge, trained to assess, identify areas of concern, and
school leaders must be motivators, communicators, develop strategies to address obstacles that hinder
and strategists; in short, transformational leaders. As children and adolescents academic success. Learning
this chapter illustrates, the school community that is to use the special talents and skills of a trained school
built on collaborative practices provides a frame that counselor is critical in accomplishing the overall
is both dynamic and stable. The chapter authors illus- mission of a school.
trate the need for systems building and the intersec-
tion of multiple systems to construct a true and Theme 9: School Climate, Culture,
reliable community school. and High Performance
Chapter 23 is Homeschooling: Parents Rights
and the Public Good, by Jennifer A. Sughrue of The first chapter under this theme (Chapter 25) is
Southeastern Louisiana University. Dr. Sughrue Establishing a Climate of Performance and Success,
explores the homeschooling movement and its cur- by Matthew T. Proto of Stanford University in
rent place in K-12 education across the states. The California, Kathleen M. Brown of the University of
chapter begins with a look at the recent growth in North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Bradford J.
homeschooling and a brief history of homeschooling Walston, a high school principal in North Carolina.
in the United States to provide some background for Of particular importance is the challenge for leader-
the debate on the subject. This is followed by descrip- ship of turnaround schools, that is, chronically low-
tions of some of the homeschooling options available performing schools that are mandated to generate
to home educators, and then by a discussion of the higher student achievement outcomes in very
legal debate over the rights of the parents versus the restricted time frames. Turnaround schools are placed
authority and responsibility of the state in the matter under federal, state, or district mandate to increase
of educating children. The author adds an overview student achievement within one to three years. If they
of the primary concerns associated with home- are unable to do so, the principal and other staff
schooling, such as socialization, civic and citizenship members often face strict accountability measures
education, and the impact of homeschooling as a (sometimes including the removal of the principal).
social movement. Many school turnaround efforts have significantly
Chapter 24 is Emerging Trends in Student increased student achievement while others have
Services and Counseling by Kimberly A. Gordon failed to generate positive results. The authors iden-
Biddle and Shannon Dickson of Sacramento State tify specific practices that have been shown to sig-
University. The authors review trends in student ser- nificantly impact transforming a school from a
vices, such as the focus on student mental health, the low-performing site to a high-performing site.
emphasis on gifted and talented students, and the Chapter 26 is Secrets of Creating Positive Work
increased emphasis on data collection and storage in Cultures: The Work Lives of Teachers by Frank
both elementary and secondary schools. More data Davidson, who is the superintendent of the Casa
are being archived, transferred, and communicated Grande Elementary School District in Arizona. He
electronically. Because such data are easily accessi- explains that teachers beliefs and attitudes are cen-
ble and permanent, issues have arisen concerning the tral to school quality. Additionally, despite the his-
privacy of the individual families and children tory of teaching as work that is independent and
involved. The authors also review the role of the autonomous, both researchers and practitioners agree
21st-century elementary and secondary (K-12) coun- that students experience greater success in schools
selor. Counselors today are involved in preparing and where teachers work together in meaningful ways,
supporting students academic readiness and overall sharing the responsibility for planning, carrying out,
school success, thus assisting in closing the ever- and assessing the outcomes of instruction. Creating
widening achievement gap. Additionally, they play a school workplaces where collaboration is an expected
major role in delivering mental health services to the norm must, of necessity, take into account the his-
students in their charge. Leadership is fast becoming torical and sociological reality of schools and the

organizational supports needed to foster a collegial clear solution and involve conflicting values, and
and collaborative environment. The author highlights perceived mistakes can carry serious consequences.
the impact of current school accountability policies The problems rarely go away because they come from
promulgated by those who want instant and simple chronic challenges, such as poverty, violence, and the
fixes and cheap solutions. These are often barriers to tendency for people to take care of their self-interests
establishing a true work culture based on collabora- and ignore others. To be politically wise and strategic
tion, which take a longer period of time and solid means actively engaging in the political environment.
transformational leadership to establish. The chapter To do this the authors identify three roles a politically
closes with an explanation of the five secrets of wise leader takes to manage issues and problems: the
creating positive work cultures. diplomat/negotiator, the political strategist, and the
Chapter 27 is New South Realities: Demographics, executive. The authors close with a discussion of
Cultural Capital, and Diversity by Tawannah G. the school leader pursuing social justice and the con-
Allen of Fayetteville State University and Dionne V. text and implications of the choices involved.
McLaughlin of North Carolina Central University. Chapter 29 is Producing Evidence: Overcoming
Racial and ethnic minority populations are growing the Limitations of the Market, Competition, and
in the United States. Projections generated by the Privatization, by Christopher Lubienski of the
U.S. Census Bureau indicate that members of minor- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Janelle
ity groups represented 37% of the population in the Scott of the University of California, Berkeley, and
United States in 2011 and are expected to reach 57% Elizabeth DeBray of the University of Georgia. One
by 2060. If current growth rates continue, the United of the current major national debates in the United
States will be transformed into a majority minority States concerns the appropriate role of the govern-
nation by 2043. This demographic projection repre- ment vis--vis the private sector in public education.
sents a sea change for public educational systems. This debate around schooling has become acrimoni-
The authors discuss the ways in which underachieve- ous, with participants making moral claims for their
ment by minority students is characterized and how perspectives on issues like choice and competition,
school site leaders can engage in the creation of or accusations about the unethical position of their
counternarratives for these students that will lead to opponents. The authors focus on issues for which
their academic success. The necessity of using cul- there are some emerging empirical insights. As they
turally relevant curriculum content and classroom point out, the empirical evidence itself not only is
practices is also discussed. often disputed, but frequently serves as the center of
a new political economy of knowledge production
Theme 10: Politics, Elections, for use in public policy making. At the center of the
and Accountability chapter is an analysis of what the authors call incen-
tivist policies in education such as the use of vouch-
The last theme of the Guide deals with big pic- ers, charter schools, merit pay for teachers, and pay
ture issues that impact school site leadership. for performance. This chapter will be of enormous
Chapter 28 is School Leadership and Politics by value to school site leaders seeking to understand the
Catherine Marshall of the University of North nature of the debate over incentivist policies and
Carolina at Chapel Hill and Darlene C. Ryan and practices, which are beginning to be mandated in
Jeffrey E. Uhlenberg, who are currently elementary state legislation and are already impacting school
school principals in North Carolina. The authors posit leaders in many states.
that school politics is mostly about manipulating and Chapter 30 is The Changing Nature of Teachers
bargaining over who gets whatand who controls Unions and Collective Bargaining, by Todd A.
who gets what. They argue that school principals who DeMitchell of the University of New Hampshire.
ignore politics, or perform as if school leadership Teachers unions are under siege. They have been
centers on technical competencies, will leave them- attacked as self-serving at the expense of the chil-
selves, their staffs, their parents and communities, dren. As Dr. DeMitchell notes, collective bargaining
and their students vulnerable. The most serious prob- is a creature of the law: created by law, changed by
lems are those that are characterized as wicked. law, and eliminated by law. Such laws are also under
Wicked problems have characteristics such as no attack. The struggle is really about money, power,

and influence. Dr. DeMitchell provides a concise his- Management. The editors had to keep one eye on how
tory of unionism and points out that the major conun- our academic disciplines sort out issues for analysis
drum for teachers is that while their union advocates and inquiry and the other eye on how such knowl-
and bargains for their self-interests, teachers are edge can be applied in practical school site settings.
professionals who provide a valuable service in the The tension between these two antipodes is palpa-
best interests of their students. Teachers tend to see ble and means that the boundaries of the disciplines
themselves and describe themselves as professionals. sometimes become blurred and the arena of prac-
Typically, they do not define themselves as union tice is not always in absolute alignment so that
members but become union members when threats to some advice or guidance does not always seem
their work, their livelihood, and their security arise. practical. In the end in balancing these two require-
The chapter focuses on how teachers deal with this ments we accepted the consequence that there is no
dilemma and how it plays out in schools. Upon the ultimate response that everyone will find 100%
resolution of this dilemma lies the future of unions satisfactory. This is another reason to view the
and collective bargaining. Guide as a living reference and one that will
inevitably be changed in the years ahead as the
A Final Note From the Editors nation continues to debate and resolve the continu-
ing dilemma of finding a form of schooling that
It has been a challenge to put together this initial provides justice, equality, and excellence for all of
SAGE Guide to Educational Leadership and its future citizens.



Florida Atlantic University

ne doesnt have to be a baseball fan to moral leadership and the managerial mystique,
believe that with every spring comes a Roland Barth on improving schools, even the lead
rebirth. Last years won-lost record is wiped editor of this guide, Fenwick English, on critique.
clean. Everyone has a chance to be this years cham- These are movers and shakers in the field of educa-
pion. So it is with books and articles on the topic of tional theory and practice, along with many individu-
leadership and management. There is always hope als cited and not cited in this chapter. But ones own
that the next book will open ones mind to new begin- experiences and instincts are the only arbiter of truth
nings and new insights to improve public education. about ones professional self.
That continuing search is represented in this chapter.
What is not needed is a recipe for success, for, even
if there were such a thing, it should be resisted, in Uncertainty and the Language of
part because context matters. We should follow ideas Scientific Management
grounded in our own experiences rather than slav-
ishly follow and deliver someone elses pet solution. According to English (1994), American educational
Wheels can be reinvented if done so smartly, building administration was captured by the language and
on the many good ideas of others who help us to see ideas of scientific management shortly after the
familiar things differently. beginning of the 20th century. These remain firmly
The truth is that most educational leaders work entrenchedif not in its theories, then in its practice.
under a lot of pressure and they want to be good and English wrote that scientific management promotes
make a difference; nearly all have the desire some- the illusion that leadership knowledge is objective
where inside themselves to change the world, for if and that there are specific managerial behaviors that
not, why would they struggle every day? Another produce results that are true and of value. The big
reality is that there is a whole lot written on leader- questions this raises are: (1) true for what purpose?
ship and management and wading through it, even and (2) of value for whom? (Bogotch, Miron, &
superficially, can be daunting. Its best not to accept Biesta, 2007).
anything written on education uncritically, whether Schools can be judged any number of different
Franklin Bobbitt on scientific management, Joseph ways. For example, they can be assessed on indices
Murphy on standards, Thomas Sergiovanni on the of financial efficiency, student attendance, student


enjoyment of education, future student participation organizations, especially, tend to define their suc-
in education, student aspiration, preparation for citi- cesses based on the needs of the systems hierarchy
zenship, and so on (Gorard, 2011, pp. 745746). and protocols, ignoring signals.
And of course they can be assessed using achieve- This, according to Sir Ken Robinson (2006), is
ment tests, which measure one dimension of within- one reason why alternative ideas in education remain
school learning. However, the critical issue with this on the margins as alternatives. Robinson has said
latter criterion is, as Elliot Eisner (2002) reminds us, many times that schools need to reframe alternative
the function of schooling is not to enable students to ideas that work in practice as the new norm. Silver
do better in school. The function of schooling is to explains why we dont; he says that our data are
enable students to do better in life (p. 369). based on what we know, not on what is unobservable
Sergiovanni (1992) said the reason we forget this or at present unknown. We narrow our thinking and
is due to (1) trained incapacities and (2) displacement choices to within-school variables on which we have
of goals (pp. 45). Trained incapacity is the ten- a whole lot of data, but about which we cannot make
dency to focus knowledge, attention, and skills so accurate predictions. While most of us can imagine
narrowly that principals and teachers become inca- better schools and better futures for students, we
pable of thinking and acting beyond their prescribed dont act on these imagined ideas because they repre-
roles (p. 5). And, through goal displacement, princi- sent an unknown. But Silver reminds us that they are
pals and teachers lose sight of their purposes, allow- really known unknowns.
ing instrumental processes and procedures to become So what does this have to do with management
ends in themselves (p. 5). Together, these two con- and leadership? Silver makes the case for analyzing
cepts make up the managerial mystiquea phrase existing data in order to establish probabilities of
Sergiovanni borrowed from Abraham Zaleznik outcomes, not certain solutions. In fact, probabilities
(1989) of the Harvard Business School (p. 3). admit that we are uncertain of the results. Or, in his
To counter this managerial mystique, we would words,
need to focus on personal and social development,
creativity, social justice, democratic awareness or Our brains process information by means of approxi-
lifelong learning, reminding us that different stake- mations. . . . With experience, the simplifications and
approximations will be a useful guide and will consti-
holders have varying expectations of what schools tute our working knowledge. But they are not perfect,
are and what they should, and should not, do and we often do not realize how rough they are. (Silver,
(Townsend, MacBeath, & Bogotch, in press). To 2012, p. 449)
which it could be asked, Do the numbers measure
the quality of teaching, learning, and leadership or School administrators instead select specific pro-
rather the frequency or correlated frequencies of grams and materials and put all their hopes for
behaviors? Do the numbers measure learning or per- school improvement on that set of practices sup-
formance on a multiple choice examination? ported by existing within-school correlational data.
(Bogotch et al., 2007, pp. 102103). To do otherwise might be mistaken for weakness,
The work of statistician Nate Silver is instructive and what we tell ourselves and the public is that we
here. Silver (2012) developed a system (PECOTA, need to have strong educational leaders. In other
Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test words, the problem comes when we mistake the
Algorithm) to forecast baseball performance. approximation for the reality (Silver, 2012, p. 450)
According to Silver, a lot of numbers are just noise and act accordingly. The progressive educator John
(i.e., random patterns) and only a few numbers signal Dewey (1909) asked us to make tentative hypotheses
meaningful events and actions to which we ought to and to learn from our mistakes. In many contexts,
pay close attention. For Silver, the signals are under- however, to do so might get an administrator relieved
lying truths behind a statistical problem. Nowhere in of his or her position. Further, it might stain the repu-
his book does he talk about education or school. tation of a school improvement researcher. What is
Nevertheless, Silvers argument is that we must inter- central to a status quo mindset is the belief that a
pret data in context, not just as patterns found in the product will lead to certain results in neat and easy-
data, but also in what is happening outside the data. to-follow steps (Thrupp & Willmott, 2003, p. 54).
All too often, organizations seek to maintain and Both administrators and researchers want to be
sustain themselves as they are. As a result, large viewed as being certain and right.
1. Unraveling the Leadership/Management Paradox 5

To help differentiate the issues involved, Silver management that have universal applicability
(2012) makes a distinction between two concepts (p. 8) regardless of organizational settings and con-
that all leaders face: risk and uncertainty. Silver says texts; and, therefore, educational administrators,
that risk is something that you can put a price on whom he considered to be rather backward (p. 8),
(p. 29), as in a bet in a poker game. In the game or in needed to learn the general principles from business
life, you know the odds and can account for them. lessons. His premise for both management and educa-
Uncertainty, however, is hard to measure because tion was an analogy that education is a shaping pro-
you have only some vague awareness of the cess as much as the manufacture of steel rails (p. 12).
demons lurking out there (p. 29). The problem Bobbitt (1913) instructed educational administra-
arises in all human endeavors when we mistake tors to learn to define standards in the most specific
uncertainty for risk. That is, we calculate that which and measureable terms. For so long as education is
is incalculableat present. Encouraging a school content merely to set the conditions of growth in a
leader to take a risk without calculating the odds of general way with reference to standards of growth,
success is dangerous advice, but that is precisely the educational supervisor . . . is in his turn relatively
what many authors, experts, and trainers do in the helpless (p. 14). Bobbitt cited the pioneering works
name of innovation and improvement. of university professors of educational administra-
This discussion of Silvers ideas on risk and tion and superintendents, among them, Clarence
uncertainty helps us see how scientific management Stone, Stuart Appleton Courtis, Edward Thorndike,
and similar approaches substitute certainty where and Leonard Ayres, educators who had all developed
there is none and why; for English, these approaches data-driven scales to measure student performance
create an illusion, if not also a deception. The illusion subject by subject, grade by grade.
is that each successive school reform will improve One set of scales, a Manual of Instructions
public education. In fact, existing data tell us that (Courtis, 1914), presented benchmarks for each sub-
there is a persistent pattern of sameness in public ject in each grade. Classroom teachers could, there-
schools across generations adding up to a century fore, be informed of their progress and then evaluated
that now inscribes sameness into the theories and based on how they were able to raise students per-
practices (including biases) that make up the field of formance based on these measureable standards.
educational administration. This putting of the educational product in the fore-
And yet, just maybe, our understanding of uncer- front of education means the establishment of a
taintiesalong with calculated risksmay also be continuous record of progress in the case of each of
the source for us to create opportunities to develop the products (Bobbitt, 1913, p. 23). Bobbitt
different strategic mindsets and new actions for included data charts along with instructions to read-
changesif and only if we are willing to struggle ers on how teachers should enter the data and inter-
against sameness and develop new alternative pat- pret the results. Thus, it is made clear to all which
terns, starting small and with ourselves as the pri- child is falling behind, which child is making nor-
mary unit of analysis. Thus, the ideas and concepts mal progress, and which child is above expectation.
presented here are meant to make the familiar, that is, The same procedures apply to measuring teachers
the sameness of public schools, strange so that we and supervisors.
can rethink and reposition ourselves as public educa- Bobbitt (1913) recognized the need to differenti-
tors to enhance social, political, and economic ate standards based on a childs native ability
opportunities and not just work hard to raise stan- (p. 26). A childs performance determines the stan-
dardized test scores (Duke & Landahl, 2011). dards that need to be measured and met. However,
such native ability was to be used in determining the
childs vocational and social destiny (p. 26).
A Century of Scientific Management In other words, schools should prevent any child
from entering any field of work (p. 27) not consis-
In 1913, Franklin Bobbitt, an instructor at the tent with his or her school performance. Thus, per-
University of Chicago, wrote that the fundamental formance standards are of value to teachers and to
tasks of management, direction, and supervision are their supervising principals in terms of how to
always about the same (p. 7). In other words, improve school grades. Without belaboring the obvi-
Bobbitt promoted the idea of general principles of ous, Bobbitts scientific management has provided

todays rationale for accountability systems under the This efficiency-effectiveness program described
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; that is, in detail by Bobbitt came directly from the research
writings of Frederick Taylor (March 20, 1856
with scales of measurement and standards of perfor- March 21, 1915), a mechanical engineer, whose
mance . . . , it is no longer possible for a principal to
hide behind the plea that he (sic) has an inferior social industrial ideas of scientific management were a
class in his school, and, therefore, high performance practical extension of Max Webers (April 21,
should not be expected of him or of his teachers. 1864June 14, 1920) ideal model for bureaucracy.
(Bobbitt, 1913, p. 29) At the time of Bobbitts essay, he estimated that
public education was a quarter of a century behind
This reads like a no excuses approach to manage- the world of machine shops. Using a general prin-
ment although it was written in 1913. ciple of bureaucracy, that is, the division of labor, it
In 1913, education already had subject area stan- is up to management to use science and for teachers
dards for every educational product, from English to put that science into practice (Bobbitt, 1913,
composition, spelling, handwriting, stenography, p. 53). To do so requires continued research con-
arithmetic, algebra, history, and science to the many ducted by practitioners and universities. Scientific
top vocations of the time. Our problem is simply the management requires cooperative research teams
replacement of vague, indefinite estimation with for the isolation of the two forms of organization
more exact methods of measurement, and the substi- is, in fact, disastrous to the efficiency of both. . . .
tution of definite standards of attainment for the It is time to get together (p. 61). And while even
uncertain, fluctuating ones now used (Bobbitt, today we continue to struggle in building partner-
1913, p. 44). ships between K-12 systems and higher education,
While the major work of the day was still to dis- Bobbitt followed up rhetorically not by citing any
cover the exact scientific methods of management, actual school-university partnership, but instead by
Bobbitt (1913) envisioned a day soon when the citing words he said were taken from a declaration
[cost and time] saving in teaching labor required that by an association of German brewers as his exam-
is affected by the one matter of continuous records ple for public education: science is the golden
will perhaps be very much greater than the increased guide-star of practice. Without it there is nothing
amount of labor necessary to make the records but blind groping in the unbounded realm of possi-
(p. 48). But for that to happen, Bobbitt understood bilities (p. 62).
and assured readers that the distance between stan- Clearly, by reading Bobbitts words, or what
dards and standardization would have to decrease, if English calls the language of scientific management,
not disappear. we can see how todays accountability movement
In other words, the need for standards on the training
essentially had been devised a century ago. We con-
side [will] serve as bases for standardizing costs in the tinue to promote and use business and management
field of physical administration . . . which will result principles for public schools, measurement standards
in great improvements in methods. . . . of placing edu- or benchmarks with grade-level scales, data and
cational money, in economy and in efficiency. . . . It is data-driven decision making, continuous record
but one step in the . . . direction of effective procedure.
keeping, monitoring of student progress, student and
(p. 48)
We cannot standardize teaching costs until we stan- teacher products, ideas of effectiveness and effi-
dardize teaching product. (p. 49) ciency, and the notion that benchmarks and standards
lead necessarily to standardization.
Bobbitt explicitly says that in order to accomplish
this standardization, all curriculum and classroom
lessons would have to be standardized grade by The Dimensions and Behaviors of School
grade, level by level, including the delivery of Managerial Control Explored
instructional materials. Thus, what is essentially an
economic argument used to justify cost efficiencies If this authors understanding of Bobbitt is correct,
in the manufacturing industry should now, analo- then standards and accountability are both manage-
gously, drive the curriculum and pedagogies of pub- rial process issues. Standards and accountability have
lic schools, from 1913 forward to 2014. been described as two of four behavioral processes
1. Unraveling the Leadership/Management Paradox 7

comprising a managerial control model, the other titles using the word management outnumbered the
two processes being information sharing and incen- book titles using leadership by 3:1 from 1900 to
tives (Bogotch, 1989; Bogotch, Williams, & Hale, 2007. During the early 1940s, books on leadership
1995). This model described how standards and almost caught up to those of management; but, from
accountability worked in concert with information the early 1960s on, management books took off dra-
and incentives, but differentiated how teachers inter- matically while the number of books with leader-
preted supervisory activities. ship in the title remained flat.
It was found that the four processes of standards, This ratio is somewhat peculiar given that the
information sharing, assessment/accountability, and field of educational leadership has been inundated
incentives were perceived by teachers as operating with leadership textbooks for quite some time. A
along two almost contradictory dimensions: struc- search for school management and school leader-
tural sameness versus discretionary differences. In ship in the Ngram Viewer shows a different picture.
other words, for each of the four managerial pro- In 1995, school leadership titles caught up to school
cesses, teachers could distinguish between by the management titles, and then in 2002, leadership
book administrative rules and regulations and the books surpassed management books for the first
distinctive qualities by which administrators related time. By 2005, there were almost twice as many
socially to them. For example, when it came to set- school leadership book titles as there were books
ting standards and enforcing accountability, teachers about school management. What does this language
paid more attention to how administrators communi- shift mean?
cated the messages and treated them. In fact, infor- Were schools before 1995, before national lead-
mation sharing and intangible incentives influenced ership standards, run by managers, while today, our
teachers more than either structural dimensions of schools require educational leaders? Did this switch
standards or assessment systems. The structural in terms between management and leadership actu-
dimensions of standards and accountability, at least ally lead to changes in the way schools operated?
in the 1980s and 1990s, were not particularly salient Can we put Franklin Bobbitt and scientific manage-
to teachers. Alas, how times have changed and how ment to rest or have schools become even more
we have reverted back to the 1900s and scientific managerial today (Thrupp & Willmott, 2003) even
management principles. as we are reading more books and articles about
Educational policymakers have used the two leadership?
behavioral processes of standards and accountability How words are used matters, and sometimes by
to externally drive school reforms going forward into repeating words, phrases, and talking points over and
the 21st century, although neither control mechanism over again, new realities are created. Thats certainly
had been shown to be robust nor rigorous enough to true for advertising and politics. But is this also the
move teacher performance prior to todays era of case for public education? Perhaps the authors expe-
accountability. Moreover, whenever we see the word rience with the development of leadership standards
standards, it is affixed to the term leadership, not in Louisiana may help to illuminate this issue.
management. The Interstate School Leaders A year or two after the ISLLC 1996 standards
Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) 1996 standards were circulated, the individual states were asked if
directed the school administrator to act across six they wanted to develop their own state leadership/
specific domains. By 2008, the Council of Chief principal standards or follow the national ISLLC
State School Officers (CCSSO), in concert with the standards as written; Louisiana opted to develop its
National Policy Board of Educational Administration own standards.
(NPBEA), revised these standards, changing school In one statewide meeting, a school district
administrator to educational leader for all six superintendent sitting in the back of a large audito-
leadership standards. rium in Baton Rouge asked whether or not the
This was not an isolated action. A search for the standards for school principals dealing with tech-
words management and leadership in Googles nology would apply specifically to his rural class-
Ngram Viewer, which allows users to search for the rooms (see Bogotch, 2002, p. 511). He emphatically
frequency of words in books and then see the corre- reminded his administrator colleagues (about 150
sponding book titles, found that the number of book were present that day) that most of his teachers still

considered blackboards, white chalk, erasers, and 4. collaborative voices of teachers, parents, and com-
students with pencils as his systems current level munity members participating in messy decision-
of technology. making processes;
At the time, he was assured that the interpretations 5. permission as well as freedom to break rules when
(meaning the subsequent actions to be taken by the necessary; and
State Department of Education) for all the leadership
6. the courage to lead. (p. 193)
standards would be flexible and adaptable to the
many different contexts and students. At that time,
the thought among those developing the standards Standards Versus Developing Standards:
was that they would be open to multiple meanings
Murphys Two Laws Centered?
and especially to local interpretations (Bogotch,
2002, p. 512). And we had solid educational change One of the principal architects of the original ISLLC
theories with empirical evidence to support this view Standards for School Leaders, Joseph Murphy, pre-
from a range of studies conducted by top researchers sented an invited lecture at the 1999 American
such as Paul Berman and Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin, Educational Research Association conference in
Michael Fullan, and Karen Louis. The understanding Montreal, Canada. He titled his talk The Quest for a
was that through negotiating, the tense change forces Center: Notes on the State of the Profession of
within schools and through mutual adaptations, edu- Educational Leadership (Murphy, 1999). Near the
cators would successfully overcome obstacles and end of the written version (on pp. 7273), Murphy
barriers to change and school improvement. However, listed seven developing standards (see Table 1.1).
a different reality emerged as soon as the develop- In both purpose and language, these developing
ment stage stopped. standards are very different from either the ISLLC
A follow-up study with the very same administra- standards of 1996 or the revised 2008 ISLLC leader-
tors told a different story. The same school adminis- ship standards. Murphy makes as powerful an argu-
trators who at first made enthusiastic comments such ment for school leadership to correspond to the needs
as: Id like to think Im already implementing these of communities through educational processes as did
standards. I put my professional growth plans to Ralph Tyler, a curriculum theorist, 50 years ago. In
guidelines of these standards every year, were now correspondence, these authors both meant that what-
saying how implementation processes were not cre- ever standards or objectives are developed in educa-
ative, joyful, growth oriented, or exciting. tion, they ought to correspond to life in society in the
A similar phenomenon occurred in a longitudinal present.
project sponsored by the University Council for Whereas Bobbitt asserted that education was a
Educational Administration called Voices From the good quarter of a century behind competent business
Field, with results published in a series of articles practices, Murphys quest for a center came 50 years
from 1999 to 2005 (Bogotch, 2012, p. 193). Nowhere after what became known as the Tyler Rationale.
in this large data set were the terms exciting, creative, Tyler eschewed the term standards and preferred to
stimulating, enjoyable, meaningful, and trusting as use the word objectives. Yet the parallels in language
used by the Louisiana participants in developing to scientific management are striking. According to
leadership standards. Instead, the dispositions of the Herbert Kliebard (2004), Tyler believed that stating
school administrators reflected what was referred to objectives was the crucial first step in the develop-
by them as if-only realities, as in the clause if only ment of a curriculum (p. 184).
administrators had the following:
Objectives, in other words, should not be stated in
vague terms such as knowing, appreciating, and
1. more latitude through government waivers;
understanding, but in terms that described in rather
2. more funding to meet the demands of mandated precise terms how the student would behave after a
programs; period of study. Moreover, the success of the pro-
gram would be determined by the extent to which the
3. more workplace autonomy to tap the creativity of behaviors embodied in the objectives would be
teachers and staff; achieved. (p. 184)
1. Unraveling the Leadership/Management Paradox 9

Quest for the Center Standards

1. It [educational leadership] should acknowledge and respect the diversity of work afoot in educational
administration yet exercise sufficient magnetic force . . . to pull much of that work in certain directions.
2. It should be informed by and help organize the labor and the ideas from the current era of ferment.
3. It should promote the development of a body of ideas and concepts that define school administration as an
applied field.
4. It should provide hope for fusing the enduring dualisms . . . that have bedeviled the profession for so long
(e.g., knowledge vs. values., academic knowledge vs. practice knowledge).
5. It should provide a crucible where civility among shop merchants in the big tent gives way to productive
dialogue and exchange.
6. It should be clear about the outcomes upon which to forge a redefined profession of school administration;
in other words, it should provide the vehicle for linking the profession to valued outcomes.
7. It should establish a framework that ensures that the standard for what is taught lies not with bodies of
subject matter (Kliebard, 2004, p. 72) but with valued ends.

Table 1.1 Murphys Developing Standards

SOURCE: Murphy, J. (1999/2000). The quest for a center: Notes on the state of the profession of educational leadership. In P. Jenlink (Ed.),
Marching into a new millennium: Challenges to educational leadership. The Eighth Yearbook of the National Council of Professors of Educational
Administration (pp. 1681). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Again, both the logic and language of Franklin should also be translated in the managing of school
Bobbitt are evident. According to Kliebard (2004), operations regarding other functions such as school
Tylers vision reinforces the argument of Bobbitt: budgeting, personnel, compliance, facilities, and so
on. The answer to these questions, according to
The idea that, in curriculum development, exact speci- Murphy (1999), would have to be found in the cor-
fications ought to be drawn up in advance and that respondence between society, the profession, and the
success would be measured in terms of the extent to purpose of schooling. Unfortunately, all of todays
which those blueprints were followed is derived from
the root metaphor of social efficiency, production, by school improvement models have emphasized a dif-
which educational products are manufactured by the ferent concept, one grounded in intercorrelations of
school-factory according to the particulars demanded within-school variables presenting a coherent picture
by a modern industrial society. (p. 185) of school improvement. In the literature, the word
comprehensive is substituted for coherent and what
In contrast, Murphys developing standards is ignored is correspondence with the needs of soci-
argued that while educational administration is an ety. As a result, coherent school improvement mod-
applied field, the processes by which it comes to els, while neat, internally reliable, and, therefore,
understand valued outcomes are more complex appealing on the surface, have delimited the pur-
than what either Bobbitt or Tyler called for. poses of schooling to within-school issues such as
Educational leadershipas a steward of moral raising test scores and establishing fair schoolwide
responsibilitieswould set criteria for determining disciplinary procedures. As for a model of school
valid research outcomes and for building communi- improvement that corresponds to the needs of soci-
ties in and beyond school buildings. ety, that is considered, by many, as outside the control
That said, the pragmatics of an applied field called of a school administrator.
for specifying management and leadership functions, The 2008 ISLLC Standards no longer list specific
that is, standards that should be translated into school indicators that ipso facto fixed standards to specific
building and school improvement practices. They behaviors and objectives, such that technology use in

classes would be the same across urban, suburban, and Most other fields have long ago made paradig-
rural school districts regardless of funding. At the matic shifts in thinking, attitudes, systems analysis,
same time, however, many of the 50 states in their and their everyday work. In organizational theory,
interpretations of standards have become more, not broad classifications of organizations document the
less, prescriptive. That is, precision indicators have transformations from simple structures to machine
actually increased exponentially, and implementation bureaucracy to professional bureaucracy to division-
within school districts has become even more restricted alized form (e.g., loosely coupled systems) to adhoc-
to the language and behaviors of specific indicators. racy (Carlson, 1996; Shapiro, 2013, p. 18). Public
Fast forward to the 2014 draft for public comment schools have not successfully been transformed
of the new ISLLC standards. Given the contradiction beyond the stage of machine bureaucracy. Can we
between developing standards and the root meta- take the 2014 ISLLC Standards on faith? Should we?
phor of standards for social efficiency, the ISLLC Nevertheless, Bobbitts predictions that the work
Standards Refresh Project of 2014 explicitly states itself would make teachers and principals more effi-
that it is to be used as a developing and implementa- cient and effective have not come true at all.
tion guidethe so-called North Star (p. 8)by each Administrators today report more time on the job,
of the 50 states for developing effective policies and more frustration, and feeling more stress
practices. The most noticeable revisions, according (Krzemienski, 2013). Englishs 1994 text called for a
to the authors, can be found in nouvelle critique (p. 233) where educational leader-
ship would develop theories from the study of his-
the leadership domains that pertain to a school's tory, literature, and biographies coupled with
instructional program, culture, and human capital man- administrative science. Similarly, Bobbitt called on
agement, and in the enrichment of the core dynamic of
educators to live in a family in natural human fash-
the Standards. Collectively, this prioritization can be
characterized as leadership for learning. This leader- ion; not in the isolation of the boarding- or rooming
ship for learning requires school leaders to primarily house (Bobbitt, 1913, p. 86).
focus on supporting student and adult learning. (p. 6)
[H]e must have the means for travel. If he is to have a
cultivated appreciation of the various humanities, then
However, coherence and alignment still define the
he must have money for the purchase of books and
system for school leadership as it moves from policy music and pictures. He must be able to attend the
to content, to performance to tools. To be sure, adapt- drama, the opera, the concert, the lecture. (p. 86)
ing, developing, and implementingwithin specific
contextsare called for. And clearly, the 2014 version Efficiency should lead to tangible incentives of
provides a more realistic district perspective of leader- time and space for privacy and quiet, for study and
ship development with a recognition that cultural rel- meditation (p. 86). Social and educational reformers
evance, the wider communities diversity, democracy, have always argued that separating school from soci-
advocacy, equity, and asset-based mindsets are all to ety is a mistake and not giving educators the time to
be built into a more inclusive school system. enjoy neighborhoods, communities, the arts, and
That said, the 2014 ISLLC Standards repeat the man- visiting schools, kept them isolated from the affairs
tra of high expectations without explaining how the of the world (Bruner, 1960). The 2014 ISLLC
expanded 11 standards can be transformed from noise to Standards shine a Dewey-like light, pointing educa-
signals (Silver, 2012). How exactly will leadership for tors to a door to a different future. But the emphasis
learning transform climates of fear, failure, and mistrust on coherence and alignment seems like a choral
when the systemic causes of such conditions have not response to closed system thinking (i.e., the noise)
been empirically tested or questioned? How will the and not a signal for a nouvelle critique.
inclusive and wider conceptualizations of Refresh be
translated into tools by monopolistic companies such as
Microsoft, Apple, and Pearson? Surely, the educators who Improving Schools From Within
participated in developing standards will not be offered
positions within these for-profit companies. And even if Some may recognize the heading for this section as
some were, how will their fingers shore up the dike the title of a 1991 book by Roland Barth, the founder
against global capitalistic profits and resulting policies? of Harvards Principal Center and active in developing
1. Unraveling the Leadership/Management Paradox 11

leadership learning through International Principal to clarify this difference and permit educators to
Centers. We are aware from experiences how exter- make adjustments based on rules and cultures, at least
nal authorities have deskilled public school educators after the first honk.
by delivering instructional materials as print and This same metaphor can be applied to the very
digitally with accompanying standardized tests. beginnings of the United States. Historically, James
Barth has been a staunch advocate for mining the Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay con-
talents of teachers within each school in terms of vinced the people of the 13 colonies to make a right on
visioning, leadership, and management. red based on evidence that the original governance
In this sense, Barth (1991) is on the same page as Neil model of the Articles of Confederation did not work
Shipman and Murphy (1996), that is, educators have to well locally or nationally. They wrote essay after essay
be enmeshed in the work (Shipman & Murphy, p. 8). persuading the populace to reconvene a new conven-
In todays parlance, we see this as job-embedded pre- tion and draft the U.S. Constitution. And in that
service and in-service learning. It combines the best of Constitution, public education was left to the states.
workshops, mentoring, clinical education, classrooms, Today, there are more than 13,000 school districts in
internships, and apprenticeships. It is the on-the-job the United States; but for some reason, maybe the
practice that brings together the multiple tasks of not dominance of scientific management or the emergence
only teaching and learning, but also budgeting, person- of an ideology that school control should be central-
nel, discipline, safety, and crisis management. ized, external authorities have not given superinten-
Improving schools from within begins with dents permission, nor do superintendents believe that
changes in our own leadership and management they have the power, to turn right on red or ask for
behaviors. It also requires a deeper knowledge of forgiveness in bending rules and regulations to fit local
U.S. history, U.S. culture, democracy with a small situations. As English has noted:
d (and leadership with a small l). One way to
consider potential changes in leadership behavior is The American superintendency was an especially vul-
nerable public position to the legacy of scientific man-
through the metaphor of turning right on red and agement. . . . [S]chool superintendents are especially
what it means to be the change we want to see in oth- prone to adapt new fads such as scientific manage-
ers, particularly in those we might consider our least ment in order to prolong their tenure; in the process, they
preferred coworkers. turn attention away from strictly personality-political
variables working against them by indicating they are
responsive to criticisms of cost and inefficiencies.
Right on Red: Local Customs (English, 1994, pp. 1920)

Many of us travel by car to different towns and Culturally, this vulnerability shouldnt have con-
cities. At one time or another, at an intersection tinued as it has. Many of todays educational leaders
where we have stopped in the right lane for a red at the very top of the educational hierarchy are from
light, we hear a horn honking. At first, we ignore it. the baby boomer generation, which coined phrases
But if it continues, we quickly understand that the such as question authority and you cant trust
person honking in the car directly behind us is signal- anyone over 30; but this generation of educational
ing for us to make the right turn. At first, we interpret leaders seems to have grown into perhaps the most
the honking as noise. It was only upon reflection and authoritarian, compliance-demanding generation in
awareness that the noise becomes a signal that we U.S. educational history. If it can be said that they
may legally proceed with a right on red. made a right on red, it certainly was not in the
Throughout life, there are signals indicating local direction of progressive and joyful educational
conditions and customs, differing from town to town, reforms.
city to city, state to state. The information comes to us But this critique is not limited to those at the top
through experience and practices that work, not as of the educational hierarchy. In 1956, a prominent
universal theories or generalizable rules. Of course, sociologist, C. Wright Mills, situated education in the
we all first stop at a red light, but in some locales, we United States as follows:
can then turn right with permission from local author-
ities. Thats the difference between rules and cultures. Within American society, major national power now
Educational standards should be sophisticated enough resides in the economic, the political, and the military

domains. Other institutions seem off to the side of mod- it may become part of the discussion of school
ern history, and, on occasion, duly subordinated to improvement (Mills, 1956, p. 106).
these. . . . Religious, educational and family institutions
Well-funded think tanks, foundations, and interna-
are not autonomous centers of national power; on the
contrary, these decentralized areas are increasingly tional publishing companies recruit the best and
shaped by the big three, in which developments of deci- brightest to work under their branded logos and to
sive and immediate consequences now occur. . . . lend their well-earned reputations. Educational poli-
Families and churches and schools adapt to modern cies are left to government officials, educational
life; governments and armies and corporations shape consultants, and corporate publishing industries to
it. . . . Schools select and train men for their jobs in
corporations and their specialized tasks in the armed
provide instructional materials, tests, and even to pur-
forces. (p. 8) chase and run for-profit K-12 schools. But how smart
is it really to leave education to noneducator experts?
Millss thesis was confirmed by educational A New York Times Magazine article (Davidson, 2013),
researchers Raymond Callahan (1962) and David brought together two of the most influential economic
Tyack (1974). These gentlemen stopped short of policy experts in the United States: Glenn Hubbard,
Millss conclusion that the big three of the power elite who worked in the administrations of both George H.
operate on a level of higher immorality. Yet Mills W. Bush and George W. Bush, and Larry Summers,
makes a powerful argument, laying the blame of who worked in the Clinton and Obama administra-
immorality on the fact that knowledge was separated tions. Writing for the Times, Adam Davidson said
from power in U.S. culture. He wrote that: Hubbard argued that once the big fiscal problem is
solved, the government can redouble its efforts on
education and help the truly needy (p. 32). Summers
Knowledge is no longer widely felt as an ideal; it is
seen as an instrument. In a society of power and wealth, lumped the costs of education in with rising health-
knowledge is valued as an instrument of power and care costs, subsuming educational needs within over-
wealth, and also, of course, as an ornament in conversa- all government costs. When we leave education to
tion. (1956, p. 352) economists or to politicians, education remains a
backburner issue in world affairs.
To illustrate his point, Mills (1956) noted that This illustrates a point made by Brian Beabout
George Washington in 1783 relaxed with Voltaires (2014), who described the notion of expertism as
letters and John Lockes On Human the historical tendency of the powerful to design
Understanding, whereas Dwight Eisenhower read social arrangements, institutions, and programs that
cowboy tales and detective stories (p. 350). Robert will benefit themselves but harm others (p. 561).
Starratt (2014) attributes this separation of knowl- One challenge for educational leaders collectively is
edge from power to U.S. culture and education, to reclaim education as the dominant investment for
claiming that American educators are intellectually both economic prosperity and democracy. Educational
behind foreign-born educators in their ability to con- leaders should continuously remind the electorate of
nect postmodern complexities to school practices their responsibilities to pay taxes to support world-
(pp. 7576). Given the compliance orientation of class schools for all children regardless of whether
todays public school teacher-administrators, what they themselves have children within the public
contributes, too, to the managerial mystique is that schools. Public education is a public responsibility
much of the new thinking in education is done pri- that comes with public accountability for funding.
marily by experts for consulting, hired in the service The role of educational leadership is to inform neigh-
of those in power. In other words, school districts borhoods, communities, states, and the nation as a
bring in experts from afar, on a fee-for-service basis, whole that the education of children is the best finan-
ignoring native eyes who have deep knowledge of cial investment anyone can make in the future of the
local communities and culture or the thesis of Barths country. Following managerial rules or promoting
text, improving schools from within. instructional leadership is not the central purpose of
The issue, then, is not whether school people education in a democracy.
know much of value, but under what conditions they Schools are by and large meant to be conservative,
will reveal their rich knowledge of their craft so that but by conservative we should not think of school as
1. Unraveling the Leadership/Management Paradox 13

regressive or retrospective. Most educators believe that point of fact, principals have a great deal of latitude in
schools have to address the next generation, and if we working with teachers (Bogotch, 1992). Leadership is
hold to that view, then we have to label our leadership an art because managerial tasks and school situations
and management as progressive. Labels, of course, are are far too numerous for a precise calculus mode of
sticky in that adhesive puts us in contact with views, when to do this or how to do that. The art is to sys-
people, and policies we may not agree withso we tematically arrange managerial behaviors to improve
strive to do what we think is right as individual leaders. the performance of others. It is in this fundamental
Yet, whenever we act solely as individuals, then the human endeavor that managerial activities are deemed
stress we put on ourselves to be heroes does not lead [to be] virtuous (Bogotch, 1992, p. 264).
to sustainable or systemic changes. It is easy for us to What the debate over the terms leadership and
work hard, stay focused on teachers and students, and management has ignored is that within the daily
in a very real sense perpetuate the status quo by doing managerial role of a school administrator lie matters
what we have been told to do. of educational functions and educational qualities.
But right on red holds out another decision-mak- As in so many human enterprises, success depends
ing possibility. If we accept Silvers argument of upon attention to both, with adjustments made
uncertainty, ambiguity, and probabilities, then we moment by moment. It adds up to doing many little
understand that there are valid arguments for and things, not just one big thing.
against what we decide almost every day. Important Prior to the enactment of No Child Left Behind,
skills for educational leaders include how we manage public educators had multiple opportunities to make
ourselves and others, stay under control, control our sense of the many little things that they do during the
temper, keep our voices down, and encourage others day, week, month, and year. School leaders might
to put forth their best ideas. have reclaimed functional/managerial control of cur-
At the same time, context matters. Educational ricula and pedagogy from external authorities had
leaders might function in a different way in a high- they integrated themselves into communities and
wealth and homogenous community than they would collaboratively defined the meaning of educational
in an impoverished one. In one setting, the leader leadership and the role of public schools in a democ-
might be highly influenced by parent groups, extra- racy. School leaders professional failures throughout
curricular events, and community priorities. But in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s created opportunities
another setting, the leader may be more concerned for consultants, publishing houses, and State
with the breakfast program, providing a safe and Department bureaucrats to jump on standards and
stable environment for students with chaotic home accountability as leverage to control public educa-
lives, and ensuring that teachers hold all students to tion. Concurrently, with centralization policies, edu-
high expectations while, at the same time, being sen- cation has become an even more profitable industry/
sitive to diverse cultural backgrounds and expecta- venture as states, districts, and schools become bulk
tions (Shields, 2013). To attain high levels of consumers of educational products.
academic success, the educational leader must under-
stand the influence of socioeconomic and cultural
realities in which students are embedded. What Are the Odds That Little Comes
Up Big? Big L Versus Little l

Managerial Virtues of Necessity: To date, traditional leadership theories (Big L) have

Little Things and Big Things failed educators. From a learning and teaching per-
spective, it seems unlikely that practitioners apply
Management is making a virtue of necessity (i.e., already developed theories to their practices with both
working within existing structures and rules) along- adults and children. What they actually do every day is
side choices and discretion (i.e., qualitative behaviors based on theories-in-practice that reflect what they
and measures). A school principal might say, I have learn day by day that works. Leadership and manage-
very little control of the system (e.g., evaluation) that ment are in the doing; learning from experience results
is used and I must do it by a certain procedure. But in from our reflection and subsequent learned actions.

Written theories of leadership, as Silver helps us development, and in so doing practice democratic
to see, are not predictive of outcomes. What predicts citizenshipin schoolsat all times. That seems to
outcomes are the organizational sameness and the be a lot to ask of schools, school leaders, and teach-
managerial control mechanisms of administration ers; thus, it is not surprising that Dewey always
that allow us to predict behaviors within acceptable seemed to be disappointed that his ideas were never
margins of risk. We know outcomes from school taken to heart by American educators.
reforms based on past practices. To date, leadership When we apply Deweys ideas to leadership learn-
theories have not disrupted the status quo. It is not ing, a different unit of analysis comes to mind, one
leadership theory per se that has unleashed the tal- that accounts for complexity and uncertainty by
ents of students or enabled teachers to teach imagina- deliberately making the familiar strange and at the
tively. That is what developing standards always same time ending strangeness among those with
have the potential to do and what fixed standards whom we work (Bogotch, 2011). The idea of leader-
with accountability, which have led to standardiza- ship encompasses all situations for all people, even
tion, can never do. our least preferred coworkers. Our work, therefore, is
John Dewey is still relevant today, and his ideas on in the everydayness of before, during, and after
education as experiences and democracy have never school. But practically, how might we connect the
been needed more in the United States and for best ideas and learn from experiences within our
reforming our schools. Even if Robert Starratt was daily activities? For Dewey, the means and ends are
correct that American educators lack the intellectual inseparable. So, what should we be thinking about on
background to understand Classical and Continental our commutes to and from schools and on to-do lists
philosophies, we can understand the pragmatic and or checklists, and what are the connections between
practical ideas of Dewey, who throughout his career our school agendas and the problems of society?
explained, again and again, that not all experiences in With such thoughts come calculable measures, that
life are educative (1938/1965). is, risk. How should leaders assess those risks?
Trying to capture the richness of ideas of John Years ago an organizational researcher, Henry
Dewey in this chapter is impossible, but it is impor- Mintzberg (1970), recommended structured obser-
tant for educational leaders to distinguish between vations to document what we actually do during the
what Dewey would refer to as educative and misedu- day. Today, there are research studies that use tech-
cative experiences in and out of schools. The bottom nology and handheld devices to record the doing,
line, for Dewey, is that the world is always in a state talking, and moving of school leaders. Collectively,
of becoming; that is, life is made up of dynamic these data points are what we call routines that over
experiencessome promoting growth and others time become habits and comfort zones for all of us.
preventing itthat we as individuals and socially We repeat cycles as sameness. How do we challenge
have to make sense of while also participating in ourselves to go beyond playing it safe and begin to
knowledge creation. To do so, experiences have to be reflect on daily routines?
internalized so that everyone makes education relevant For many of us, our days begin with commutes,
for herself or himself. As a result, knowledge that ema- parking the car, entering the building, meeting peo-
nates from external authorities is, according to Dewey ple, and beginning our work. What if we considered
(1920/1952), suspect and obnoxious (p. 118). variations that provide us with multiple and different
What leads to growth is what we experience our- perspectives on the routines, the work, and the peo-
selves, not what we do to someone (such as teaching ple we work with? When we choose to interact with
to the test). Development is experience with a those we agree with (our best preferred coworkers)
purposenot a fixed purpose or goal, but rather a more often than with those with whom we disagree,
goal that is continuously constructed and recon- over time, we limit our growth and development by
structed to make ourselves and society better. It is in narrowing our networks and continuously reinforc-
this sense that all education, according to Dewey, is ing our biases. In routine practices, strangers remain
moral. The purpose or end of school is so that youths strangers, and that includes students, teachers, and
(and people from economically depressed classes) other staff members. There cannot be trust and
see that they can become the masters of their own excellence in educational climates and cultures
1. Unraveling the Leadership/Management Paradox 15

when they are populated by strangers, regardless of terms of promoting the processes that further
what philosophers such as Kwame Anthony Appiah intensify inequalities (Thrupp & Willmott, 2003,
(2006) opine. p. 3). As for repositioning leadership, Dewey may
Our schools have subcultures that we need to have said it best in 1909 when connecting leader-
know more intimately. Outside our schools are other ship not just to schooling, but also to society and to
subcultures presenting different leadership and childrens needs and interests:
research challenges that we need to embrace profes-
sionally. The idea of leadership as little l is that The society of which the child is to be a member is, in
the United States, a democratic and progressive society.
instead of getting more and more comfortable with The child must be educated for leadership as well as for
experiences in our roles as school administrators, the obedience. He must have power of self-direction and
challenge is to unlearn, discover, and relearn new power of directing others, administration, ability to
experiences about people, places, and processes and assume positions of responsibility. This necessity of
to do this continuously every day. This is leadership educating for leadership is as great on the industrial as
it is on the political side. (p. 10)
with a small l.
School quality matters most in difficult circum-
stances. And here is where school is undoubtedly
The Challenge of Reclaiming Our political and where the United States needs to target
Voices and Our Ideals and invest serious resources as a priority. The words
of economists can be heard whenever superinten-
Every generation is charged with the responsibility
dents tell principals, teachers, students, and parents
to discuss and debate its commitment to public edu-
to do more with less. That is not what any demo-
cation and then garner support for policies and pro-
cratic society should ever hear from an educational
grams. Some generations meet this challenge better
than others. This author has criticized his own baby
boomer generation for how it gravitated to authori-
tarian policies and practices, despite the generations Conclusion: Keeping Uncertainty
1960s legacy of free speech and protest against and Risk in Our Sights
unjust policies. The challenge is where and how
educational leaders can reclaim their voices even as Educators, whether working in K-12 or university
they are confronted by unprecedented sanctions and settings, need to reclaim education, professionally.
public scrutiny leading to fear and distrust in too But to do so, we must be clear on both the risks and
many instances. When parental or student com- uncertainties. We must first question whether the
plaints seem to have more power than administrative science-driven managerial strategies that fall under
and teacher voices within hierarchical systems, the umbrella of coherent school improvement models
reclaiming our voices can seem hopeless. When will give U.S. society a competitive edge. Why? We
there are meetings where only one voice can be need to emphasize educational contexts within
heard, but immediately upon leaving that meeting schools that allow for dynamic growth, not mecha-
there is a cacophony of voices decrying the hypocri- nistic lessons inside the world of uncertainties and
sies and blindness of leadership, then reclaiming our promises. We can address managerial risks by identi-
voices seems hopeless. So what can we learn to fying the known unknowns through research and
practice differently based on the ideas discussed in development and gather the courage to face unknown
this chapter? unknowns through experimentation and innovations
Ironically, it may be very healthy for educational that may sometimes fail, but always teach us how to
leadership researchers-authors-trainers to reclaim do better the next time, day by day, maybe even min-
the word management to its rightful place in ute by minute. The message of this chapter is that one
directing school operations. While it is easy to say person can make a difference. It comes down to self-
that we lead people but manage processes, we all control while working inside a huge public institution
know, having sat in the office, that our work is designed to promote knowledge and freedom of
messy and detailed. Its all management, but not in thought.

While it is so important for us to think big, for right The managerial mystique: Coined in 1989 by
now, we must take small steps such as turning right on Abraham Zaleznik for the world of business, the
red and doing little l activities with those with whom phrase entered education by way of Tom Sergiovanni
we work. It will take time for us to relearn how to in his now classic 1992 book, Moral Leadership:
rebuild our professional capacities, displace todays Getting to the Heart of School Improvement. Both
standardized goals, and return to more diverse goals of Zaleznik and Sergiovanni believed that the charac-
democracy and citizenship, but that is the challenge of ter of a person mattered and that business practices
educational leadership defined in this chapter. This that ignore human character are flawed. Both
chapter has shown why the history of educational lead- authors opposed the dominant practices of scien-
ership is critical to our work and to our survival as a tific management. According to Zaleznik (1989,
profession (Bogotch, 2011). By connecting to the past p. 2), As it evolved in practice, the mystique
successes and mistakes of our predecessors we can required managers to dedicate themselves to pro-
begin to more clearly see how to negotiate and build cesses, structures, roles and indirect forms of com-
on the leadership/management paradox. It is done in munication and to ignore ideas, people, emotion
the everyday work school administrators do in schools, and direct talk. It deflected attention from the
but that must be connected to a larger vision of what realities of business [and schools], while it reas-
schools must do to promote social justice beyond sured and rewarded those who believed in the mys-
schools. Theres nothing paradoxical about that. tique (cited in Sergiovanni, 1992, p. 4; bracketed
words added by Sergiovanni). In Sergiovannis
analysis, the managerial mystique contributed to
Key Chapter Terms trained incapacities of educators and goal dis-
placement in schools, which represents a con-
Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium spiracy of mediocrity (Sergiovanni, 1992, p. 5),
(ISLLC): Developed a framework of six school lead- and thus, the challenge of this chapter, is to reclaim
ership standards: Setting a widely shared vision for educators own voices.
learning; developing a school culture and instruc-
tional program conducive to student learning and staff Scientific management: A term describing the work
professional growth; ensuring effective management of Frederick Taylor (18561915), who created a body
of the organization, operation, and resources for a of work centered on the idea of efficiency. Taylors
safe, efficient, and effective learning environment; idea was based on a five-step procedure in which the
collaborating with faculty and community members, work was shifted from the worker to management
responding to diverse community interests and needs, based on an analysis of the work to be performed.
and mobilizing community resources; acting with The result of Taylors studies led to simplifying the
integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner; and work via standardization, and hiring less skilled
understanding, responding to, and influencing the workers and paying them less except for those who
political, social, legal, and cultural contexts. exceeded daily work tasks.

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Further Readings Through history, Blount motivates us to work together

for true social, political, and economic fairness for all
Barth, R. (1991). Improving schools from within: persons (p. 37).
Teachers, parents, and principals can make the
Bogotch, I. (2011). A history of public school leadership:
difference. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
The first century, 18371942. In F. English (Ed.),
Barths focus is not on children, but rather on the The SAGE handbook of educational leadership
adults who help children to learn. Unlike the lessons (pp. 326). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
of Taylorism and standardization, the work of a school
administrator is filled with uncertainties. In fact, This chapter traces the first century of school leader-
uncertainties are many and resolutions few (p. 5). ship in the United States. It reviews the major issues
This book conceptualizes the meanings of a good and personalities who were the trailblazers, such as
school and what a principal can do collectively with Horace Mann, Cyrus Pierce (Manns first principal),
teachers, parents, and staff to build it. Success for and Ella Flagg Young. The careers and controversies of
Barth depends on the quality of these interactions. William Maxwell, superintendent of schools in New
This now classic text anticipates the very best ideas York City; Angelo Patri, an exemplary school principal
the field of educational leadership has to offer our in New York City; and T. H. Harris, former state super-
society. intendent of schools in Louisiana, are analyzed. These
portraits of our predecessors give us glimpses of the
Blount, J. (2008). History as a way of understanding challenges, then and now, that continue to confront
and motivating. In I. Bogotch, F. Beachum, J. school leaders.
Blount, J. Brooks, & F. English (Eds.), Radicalizing
educational leadership: Dimensions of social Callahan, R. (1962). Education and the cult of efficiency.
justice (pp. 1738). Taipei, Taiwan: Sense Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Publishers This is an excellent source for understanding why educa-
Jackie Blounts objective is to bring historical aware- tors have been viewed as vulnerable to government and
ness to the field of educational leadership and admin- business practices. Raymond Callahan provides the
istration, and she does so by bringing history to life, not details of the historical transition from school manage-
as insular chronological dates, but rather by elucidat- ment practice prior to the impact of Taylorism and tracks
ing the social contexts and social relations of the peo- in detail how the basic ideas of scientific management
ple who make history, such as Ella Flagg Young. For were introduced into educational management practice,
Blount, history inspires actions, the first of which is to especially via the newly founded departments of educa-
increase our abilities to ask provocative questions. tional administration at the leading U.S. universities.
1. Unraveling the Leadership/Management Paradox 19

With this newfound awareness of our vulnerability, how- format and tone of a manifesto, a call to educators to
ever, we need to see in practical terms how educators rethink, reflect, and act. My Pedagogic Creed demon-
can and have reclaimed their voices. strates Dewey's faith in the power of education and
Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogic creed. New York, NY:
E. L. Kellogg & Co. Taylor, F. (1911). The principles of science management.
Even though the citations in this chapter came from New York: Harper.
three other Dewey sources, his 1909 Ethics, his This is clearly the work that has dominated manage-
Reconstruction in Philosophy written originally in ment thinking in the United States and in education
1920, and his 1938 essay Experience and Education, since Bobbitts 1913 essay. And while many scholars
My Pedagogic Creed, which predates the others, antici- believe Taylors ghost haunts us, the pop cultural image
pates many of the ideas developed at book length of zombies seems more apt a description of the hold
throughout his illustrious career. What is remarkable scientific management has had on our political leaders
about My Pedagogic Creed is not just the range of and public education. Other books that explain Taylors
ideas: theory as experiences, theory of art, play and influence are D. Nelson (1980) Frederick W. Taylor and
aesthetics, the connections between local problems to the rise of scientific management, Madison: University
societal problems, the relevance of all the subject areas of Wisconsin Press; and R. Kanigel (1997) The one best
in a traditional school curriculum, and the unity moral- way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the enigma of
ity and education; but also that it is written in the efficiency, New York: Viking Penguin.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Northern Arizona University

chool leadership is a bounded activity that (p. 132). In short, change or reform is not truly
occurs within physical and conceptual spaces. possible until one understands how the status quo has
It is bounded usually by a physical and material been constructed and situated within a discourse and
presence, that is, a school plant with classrooms and that it contains particular histories.
other types of architectural features (although there The management and/or leadership of the collec-
are continuing attempts to create virtual schools that tion of classrooms contain a second set of assump-
do not have such properties), and within that space tions or an ideology. An ideology is a set of beliefs
are ideas and schemes regarding what should go on or tenets, as they are sometimes called, that forms a
within them. platform from which various political or pedagogical
The activities that are supposed to be transacted actions are proposed or enacted. Ideologies are not
within classrooms contain a pedagogy, and by that is scientific statements or theories because they rarely
meant more than simply the kinds of methods used in are open to contrary evidence upon which they may
teaching. The use of the term pedagogy is used to be refuted. Most often, they are advanced as a kind
connote the broad sweep of political, cultural, and of self-evident common sense.
curricular decisions that impact what schools do, Despite many attempts to make leadership into a
both overtly and covertly. The term critical pedagogy science over the last 100 years, that goal remains elu-
refers to a type of discourse described by Henry sive today because, as William Foster (1986) noted
Giroux (1988) that can be understood as historical over 25 years ago, The scientific study of leadership
constructions related to economic, social, and politi- has essentially faltered, partly because the wrong phe-
cal events in a particular space and time (p. 132). nomenon has been studied and partly because the
Giroux indicates that this concept is absolutely functionalist paradigm that houses the studies has
essential in order to be able to think about how spe- gone bankrupt (p. 3). It is because of this criticism
cific instances of schooling and curriculum theory that this chapter intends to more clearly define the
may represent one form among the many possible boundaries of effective leadership and management.


Parsing Out the Leadership/ of management. So there is a dialogic connection

Management Opposites between the two that is shown in Figure 2.1.
On the left of Figure 2.1 are the benchmarks of
It has long been observed that there is a connection functioning within a hierarchical, bureaucratic orga-
between systems of authority and the allocation and nization that is a school or a school system. School
management of space and the nature of what teachers administrators are state functionaries. They are
do in classrooms. This chapter argues that the struc- licensed and in some states examined by tests to
ture of schools and classrooms is compatible with determine if they have the state-approved skills,
some ideas of school leadership and management knowledge, and attitudes to be responsible for oper-
and not so compatible with others. This understand- ating a state-approved school. The state compels
ing is central to appreciating why Robert Dreeben students to attend school, and so the state has the
(1973) commented that schools appear to be among responsibility of creating institutions that carry out
the most conservative and unbending of institutions, the schooling mission.
maintaining traditional ways of doing things in the All of the legal and coercive power of the state is
face of intense pressures to change (p. 455). embodied in its structure and operations. School
First, this chapter deconstructs the idea that the administrative authority is contained in legal docu-
terms leadership and management are antipodes, ments, rules, and regulations. The state imposes on
contending that both are required to effectively turn systems of schools, in the United States called school
around underperforming schools (Papa & English, districts, stipulations within which the jurisdictional
2011), because one cannot lead an organization if it is authority of school boards (elected or appointed by
not first managed well. In an institutionalized setting, the people or representatives of the people such as
leadership must work thorough the structures, rules, mayors in some large cities) carry out policy and/or
expectations, and discourses that already exist in oversight duties.
order to improve them. Ric Brown, Paul Noble, and The authority of the local site administrator is
Rosemary Papa (2009) call this the false dichotomy. defined and confined to that unit. The position of the
While management is essential to operationalize school site administrator is thus organizationally cen-
leadership, leadership is essential to changing forms tered and dependent upon the very unit that person is

Management Dimensions Leadership

organization cause, context
centered centered
formal, informal,
role relationships
hierarchical situational

organization relational,
role legitimacy

dependent context specific

transactional follower relations transformational

coercive use of power/sanctions communal

legal basis of authority moral

Common Elements

Figure 2.1 Resolving the Paradoxes Between Management and Leadership

SOURCE: English, F. W. (2008). The art of educational leadership: Balancing performance and accountability. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, p. 13.
2. The Emerging Wisdom of Educational Leadership23

responsible to lead or direct. School site administra- tests. This cellular structure of the school as it has
tors are considered midlevel functionaries since been called (Lortie, 1975, p. 23) is the principal basis
teachers are typically arranged in a subordinate orga- for imposing factory models of schooling as the
nizational layer beneath them and there are normally major metaphor for a good school becoming
layers of administrative officers above them. The dominant. It is also the foundation upon which the
basis of the power of the site administrator is legal, role of school principal was created as the principal-
which is also the basis of bureaucratic authority. It is teacher who had supervisory duties akin to duties of
within this theoretical, political, and practical matrix factory supervisors. Later, the role of school superin-
that the science of administration or management is tendent emerged as the apex of bureaucratic power,
believed to exist. all resting on the structure of the graded school.
In contrast to the mantle of management is that of One could argue that John Philbrick, the educator
leadership, which may not be confined to bureau- who convinced the Boston School Committee to ini-
cratic entities. The fact that leadership involves man- tially construct the first graded school, was a leader.
agement but is not confined or defined by an He broke the mold. He had to think outside of the
organization is why former U.S. Army General Colin existing structure of the Lancastrian model of school-
Powell (2013) once remarked that leadership is the ing and envision a different way to engage the order-
art of accomplishing more than the science of ing of students and teaching within them. According
management says is possible (p. 17). Here is a brief to the management/leadership distinction, adminis-
commentary regarding the dimensions of the trators who came after Philbrick accepted all of the
management/leadership dyad. tenets of the graded schools and therefore they were
merely managers. This addition to the two-level
Creativity structure (elementary, or K-8, and secondary, or
Grades 912) was designed to provide students with
Creativity is stressed as a vital dimension to one year of the old high school curriculum before
improve schools (Senge et al., 1999, p. 153). The fact entering high school, in order to introduce students to
is, however, that creativity within a management lens high school content and cut the dropout rate between
is confined to the unit that is managed, in this case a the elementary and secondary levels. And how would
school. The manager would look for ways to improve one classify the creators of the junior high school?
or change schools within the structure of the school Based on the connection between leadership and
and within its organizational boundaries. A leader- management shown earlier, they can be seen as both.
ship perspective would call any such structures or It can also be argued that without boundaries it is
boundaries into question. Managers would accept the difficult even to judge what is creative at all. A mea-
legitimacy of schools as a given. Leaders would have sure of creativity is how one overcomes boundaries
no such presumptions and not necessarily accept or barriers.
school structure of boundaries as ipso facto legiti-
mate. Managers would confine creativity to inside Role Relationships
the schooling box. Leaders would not only not accept
the current definitions of schooling but also not Schools as formal, bureaucratized organizations
accept its history or current boundaries or functions. have developed, over time, a series of hierarchically
This distinction regarding creativity, however, situated roles. These roles are arranged so that they
involves both perspectives. A historical examination are enmeshed in superior/subordinate dyads, each
of school changes shows that both management and accompanied by differences in legal, formal author-
leadership were involved. For example, the creation ity, and compensation differences based on how
of the graded school in Quincy, Massachusetts, in important, complex, and/or overarching the duties of
1848 was an effort to create a more orderly and effi- one compared to another may happen to be.
cient classification of children. It led to the egg In the past, all teachers were located on the same
crate school that has dominated the American land- salary schedule irrespective of their competence or
scape for over 150 years and with it graded curricu- ability. The only differences between them that
lum, standard courses of study, and later standardized counted for salary purposes were seniority and formal

training beyond the bachelors degree. The salary context specific. Democratic leadership is not so
schedule has long been a criticism of those who see it much concerned with organizational boundaries as
as a major obstacle to installing forms of merit pay with matters of equality and creating open boundar-
that take into account superior teaching or the ability ies and an equal distribution of externalized author-
to obtain better results, usually defined as higher test ity, voice, esteem, and internal authority (Woods,
scores. Many states have moved to require student test 2005, p. 34). Woods contrasts two types of needs.
scores to be part of formal teacher evaluation schemes. The first is met with management and is focused on
These proposals have been stoutly resisted by teach- getting people to commit themselves to working in
ers unions and by other professional groups who see ways consistent with organizational requirements
them as a method for obtaining increased managerial and powerful interests in the wider socioeconomic
control over teacher autonomy. system compared to the second need which is the
In contrast to managerial approaches, leaders may human need . . . for a re-enchantment of labour,
employ more informal and situational means to deal imbuing work with a sense of meaning, worth and
with role relationships; this may be especially true if validity rooted in enduring truths and values
leaders are recognized outside of bureaucratic orga- concerning human living (p. 37).
nizations where role authority is based on charisma
or where they are what is termed grassroots leaders Follower Relations
working in volunteer organizations. Grassroots or
volunteer leaders have four common features. First Franklin Roosevelt once remarked, Its a terrible
they dont occupy any formal role within their thing to look over your shoulder when you are try-
respective community or organization. Second, they ing to lead and find no one there (Peters, 2005,
are concerned with certain kinds of change, or what p. 17). By definition one cannot lead if no one is
are viewed as improvements that are promoted by following. Leaders and followers are a dynamic
either conflict-based approaches or by consensual dyad. Howard Gardner (1995) indicates that leaders
models of engagement. Third, they have no institu- compete for followers by the telling of stories or
tionalized power. Fourth, they focus on a particular narratives. The most essential stories are those deal-
issue or change, and for this reason their leadership ing with identity in answer to the question, who are
activity tends to be temporary and task focused we followed by what are we about? Leaders
(Ehrich & English, 2012, pp. 8788). weave patterns of potential meaning for human
actions. Prospective followers find connections with
Role Legitimacy the stories leaders tell and decide to go with them or
not. Gardner indicates that the most effective narra-
Role legitimacy refers to the perception by those tives are simple stories that have wide appeal and
associated with a role to accept the role and its atten- are understood. Thus, we find that stories from
dant duties and responsibilities as sanctioned and not Aesops fables, Grimms Fairy Tales, the Bible, and
to be seriously questioned. This does not mean that Greek mythology are frequently employed in leader-
competency to perform the role may not be ques- ship narratives. These anecdotes require little expla-
tioned. But the role itself is not to be questioned. nation and if the fit to the overall story line is good,
Role legitimacy from a management perspective in add much emotional and cognitive satisfaction to
schools is rooted in the law, beginning with the power potential followers.
of an elected or appointed board of education to exer- Leaders are storytellers. They are also teachers.
cise citizen or lay oversight over educational systems They work to make complex problems appear to be
and/or schools. resolvable. Because we all know that human atten-
Contemporary approaches to role legitimacy that tion spans are limited, especially in the contemporary
employ so-called distributive leadership are simply a world of instant Internet messages and Twitter, brev-
means to rearrange duties among existing roles ity is the rule of the day. It is almost impossible to
within the existing organization. Philip Woods (2005) believe that over 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln
has contrasted this perspective with true democratic gave a 7,000-word speech that made him U.S. presi-
leadership, which is much more relational and dent at New York Citys Cooper Union in 1860. But
2. The Emerging Wisdom of Educational Leadership25

Lincolns speech was a masterful example of teach- The Basis of Authority

ing, and it ended with his immortal line that right
makes might (Holzer, 2004, p. xxii). Managements authority and its power to govern
Transactional leadership is an approach to leading and compel conformance is centered in organization,
that is based on formalized bureaucratic concerns. largely bureaucracies. Bureaucracies are ideally
The emphasis is on the system. Transformational suited for managers to compel compliance because
leadership is based on the self-interests of the employ- of their hierarchical structure and the linkage of sal-
ees and how the leader is able to connect with them ary and other forms of compensation to specific roles
and link those interests to the overall goals of the within a hierarchy. Bureaucracies also stress forms of
organization. Managers emphasize rule conformance, accomplishment that are tied to entry and advance-
while leaders look for ways to connect with followers ment within a set of linked superior and subordinate
so that what they find intrinsically rewarding also is roles.
beneficial to the system. The stories leaders tell and Conversely, leadership stresses moral authority,
the fables and metaphors they employ greatly support and its norms are rooted in the cultural norms of what
revealing to which drummers the leader is marching. is good for the entire community. Conformity is
Transformational leaders understand that followers acquired by stressing how behavior will or will not
are an integral part of leadership and they must be advance or retard the group or community as a
persuaded and motivated. Transactional leaders want whole.
them to be merely obedient. The reality is that persons occupying roles of man-
agers in bureaucracies can be managers without being
leaders. What that means is that if it were not for the
Use of Power and Sanctions
legal authority embedded in a managerial role in a
The difference between management and leader- school or school system, few persons would pay much
ship is also expressed in how one uses power to attention to the office holder and what he or she
obtain influence. Management tends to be centered thought or wanted. Managers can be office holders
on forms of coercive power centered on punishment. without being leaders of any real influence. On the
Thus, the emerging approach of tying teacher salary other hand, if leaders are going to lead within a
and tenure to student standardized test scores is bureaucracy they have to also be good managers or
highly coercive. The ability of a teacher to exert any employ people who are to assist them to be so. Leaders
control or to resist this pressure by being lodged in a can lead outside bureaucracies, that is, be grassroots
group norm is negated. A group norm might have leaders who occupy roles that are very much more
heretofore existed within the confines of a union fluid than those inside of school organizations. We
contract that placed some restrictions on the actions now turn to a discussion of leadership.
of administration. In states where the ability of a
union to compel the administration to accept some
limitations on its coercive power has been vitiated, The Concept of Accoutrements as Artful
the manipulation of salary is a powerful kind of Leadership and the Key for Imagination
reward power for management to employ. Leadership
is more apt to use what John French and Bertram Leadership has been written about from many per-
Raven (1959) have called expert power and that is spectives found in the dyad of management and
influence based on knowledge. Research-based prac- leadership. The so-called scientific methods of
tice is an expression of this type of approach. researching leadership lend a focus solely on the
Management approaches legitimacy by stressing its techniques and skills that can be linked in measur-
legal authority. Leadership rests its legitimacy on able ways to our preparation programs and perhaps
knowledge, and it works to influence individuals by serve as a fulcrum for determining some forms of job
stressing common attributes of highly effective performance. However, the traditional research focus
groups, groups that are held together by a common on what principals do has been heavily lopsided on
purpose and vision and not merely institutional skills and behaviors to the detriment of issues of
structures. interiority within a leader.

As Papa and Fenwick English discuss in their accoutrements (Papa, 2011; Papa & Fortune,
2011 book on principals in underperforming schools, 2002). Accoutrements represent a combination of
a comparison of research in different international reflective and reflexive experiences acquired within
schools depicts seven commonalities of leaders. specific contexts and culture. Most important, the
Leaders are self-constructed and not born; they are concept of accoutrements rests on the fundamental
the sum total of their life experiences. Effective claim that leadership is a socially constructed
leadership is centered in a moral values base, and agenda of purposeful action exercised within spe-
that also is an anchor for the leaders vision. cific contexts. These accoutrements were devel-
Leadership is about working with and through oth- oped over 12 years of empirical data gathering,
ers, drawing the best out of the people with whom including field-based observations, surveys, inter-
one works. While leaders work with a sense of pur- views, and document collection, through site-based
pose based on a commitment to their ideals, they visits by teams of professors, superintendents, and
remain open-minded intellectually and curious about principals. Classroom observation and interviews
how things work and what moves people and can with all school staff members and parents, along
change their minds when the facts do not match the with the results of other researchers work on
situation. Because leadership is a projection of self, school leadership, served as the basis for the accou-
the first lesson of leadership is to understand one- trements. High-performing schools in California
self; a leader cannot lead without understanding and Arizona that were high poverty and high minor-
what motivates himself or herself. Leadership is ity formed the research database. Similar results
about a journey taken with others and lived with and can be found in international studies, such as the
through others; it is not a destination but a quest. research done by Neil Cranston and Lisa Ehrich
Finally, leadership involves the total human being (2007) in Australia. These findings are noted in
not just the rational side but the emotional and feel- Table 2.1.
ing side as well (pp. 76, 78). Accoutrements develop through the years of pro-
The essence of leadership begins with the forma- fessional reflection and reflexivity. These attributes
tion of identity. A purely behavioral or structural view are predicated on the concept that leaders are made;
of leadership fails to deal with this quintessential that is, leadership does not come from birth, is not
human question of how identity is formed. Unless the a trait gene that some have and others do not. It does
human dimension is considered as an integral aspect mean that understanding and growing the accoutre-
of developing effective leadership, the skill lists ments requires one to change, continuously, while
(which up to now have been the way leadership has continuing reflexivity is practiced. These accoutre-
been characterized for testing and licensing purposes) ments are (a) understanding adult learners;
amount to preparing and evaluating robots instead of (b) developing human agency (social justice through
the flesh and blood human beings who are necessary fairness, care, compassion); (c) acknowledging
to make schools human and humane places. intended but ignored dimensions, such as listening,
The authors of this chapter have written about the as critical to develop; (d) expanding your intellec-
artfulness that the leader needs to develop (English, tual curiosity and those of others you teach and
2008; Papa, 2011; Papa & English, 2011). This lead; (e) cultivating a tolerance for ambiguity that
chapter contends the focus of neoliberal education will support challenging the status quo by visioning
policies on linking leadership effectiveness with test a different future; and (f) expansion of the imagina-
scores is a far too narrow perspective and is leading tion so that thinking outside the box becomes a path
to a broad culture of corruption that is already that can lead to new and creative solutions to the
beginning to emerge in education. Unfortunately, daily and long-term issues faced by educational
preparation programs for educational leadership leaders. (See Sidebar 2.1.)
have begun to emphasize performance on testable The criticality of imagination was underscored
measures. by N. Scott Momaday (2009) who remarked, We
Papa has researched these artful qualities that are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in
the school leader needs and refers to them as our imagination of ourselves. The greatest tragedy
2. The Emerging Wisdom of Educational Leadership27

Papa Cranston & Ehrich

Accoutrements Papa Characteristics Leadership of Lessons Commentary
Leading adult Leadership preparation is Formal and informal learning Learning to be a leader
learners grounded in theory and is critical to leadership should be multidimensional
practice and occurs on a development. and involve more than formal
need to know basis. course work in a university
or agency setting.
Human agency Focus on the totality of Leadership is values driven; it Leadership is concerned with
human existence, rejection of ought to be about seeking human existence and social
a one size fits all mental equity and tolerance. justice and working toward a
model. better world. It is a moral
Ignored but Leadership skills are not all Life forces, experiences and Leadership is more than the
intended skills reducible to discrete opportunities explored are technical acquisition of discrete
behaviors, a rejection of fundamental to leadership skill sets, it is a value-defined
reductionism. development. and -driven enterprise enacted
with and through followers.
Intellectual Leaders should be curious Leadership is a journey of Closed minds do not see
curiosity about all aspects of leading discovery, seeking answers to leadership as open-ended and
and learning. intriguing questions. therefore are not interested in
the unanswered questions.
Leadership is quest.
Futurity Leadership involves multiple A quest to effect change for a Being able to more fully
frames of knowing and better future is the critical understand the challenges of
understanding in order to challenge for leaders. the future requires the ability
grasp a future that is different to reframe the field.
from the status quo.
Imaginativeness This facet of leadership is Leadership draws on Leaders are required to have
also connected to creativity, creativity, risk taking, and a a vision, but visions are
originality, and inspiration. capacity to lead and develop anchored to imagination and
others in collaborative work. creativity.

Table 2.1 A Comparison of the Papa Accoutrements of Leadership to Lessons of Leadership

SOURCE: Papa, R., & English, F. (2011), p. 77.

that can befall us is to go unimagined (p. 100). occurred when leaders think inside the box, but in
While performing day-to-day tasks is encouraged or different ways than before. They review several
discouraged by the limits we might place on our strategies that include the idea of subtraction, the
thinking about the actions we might wish to take, it removal of what were viewed as essential elements
has been customary to see the expression of imagi- that led to the creation of the Sony Walkman.
nation as thinking outside the box. In a twist on Another strategy is task unification in which appar-
this notion, Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg ently unrelated tasks or functions are united. This
(2013) take the position that some of the most inno- approach led Samsonite to produce backpacks with
vative solutions and radical breakthroughs have straps that it claimed also provided a massage

Sidebar 2.1 The Nature of Leadership Accoutrements

These are the attributes combined with your experiences that lead to artful leadership practice. Think about how
you are aware of them in your perspective on leadership and where you might need to acquire more knowledge and

Consider your capacity for human agency, social justice, and compassion to those around you and decisions
understanding who may be harmed, who benefits and who doesnt.
Consider how well you listen to those who come to you; active listening takes practice.
Consider your curious intellect by thinking about how reflective you are when you think of options and
Consider how forward thinking you are in the face of current wisdom and practices; anticipation and risk are
Consider what you can imagine and hope for as in what we are becoming, who we arevisioning a better and
more hopeful future and taking the steps to move forward.

Now, what do you need to do to put together your own career in educational leadership that will lead to you
becoming an artful practitioner?

sensation, because the straps were located at shiatsu enough data, have enough courage, plan carefully
points in the back. enough, and are bold enough; then, everything will
This notion of reimagining and recombining ele- work out right. The idea that somehow human foibles
ments within the box requires a shift in imagination. and imperfections always can be overcome or that
Boyd and Goldenberg (2013) suggest, Most people management can become omniscient borders on an
think innovation starts with establishing a well- improbable and irrational myth that involves large
defined problem and then thinking of solutions. Our doses of mysticism, perhaps akin to reading Tarot
method is just the opposite: We take an abstract, cards.
conceptual solution and find a problem that it can
solve. Although management is strewn about with tough,
practical-sounding talk and scientific-seeming tech-
niques and technologies, it is full of metaphysical
beliefs and assumptions. These are often unsupported
by any kind of evidence; sometimes they exist in flat
Machine Metaphors contradiction to such evidence as is available. (Pattison,
and Unrealistic Expectations 1997, p. 26)

Another important leadership issue is the type of One way that contextual complexities can be
metaphors the leader employs. There has been a ten- overcome is to adopt an approach that ignores them
dency to use the machine metaphor in the pursuit of or erases them with magical solutions. Medical doc-
what Stephen Pattison (1997) has called managerial tors are sometimes prone to this, as seen when they
perfectionism. This tendency not only destroys the make a diagnosis based on erroneous thinking and
concept of leadership and reduces it to mechanical then stick to it despite evidence to the contrary
and dehumanizing theorizing, it also results in a per- (Groopman, 2007, p. 261). This phenomenon has
vasive cynicism about how effective leaders really do occurred in education with the passage of the No
their work. Child Left Behind Act in 2001, which declared that
Managerial perfectionism is the misguided and all children would be proficient at grade-level math
irrational belief that the actions of management can and reading by 2014. The inability to meet this
somehow always be right if we are wise enough, have expectation has led most states to seek waivers from
2. The Emerging Wisdom of Educational Leadership29

some of the laws provisions, including the 2014 [Commentary: This idea completely strips leadership
proficiency deadline. away from human interaction and replaces it with the
idea that leadership is simply a part within a machine.]
Managerial perfectionism is rampant in education.
Yet perfectionism is rarely possible; rather, leaders Influences the evolution of the culture to support the
should be expected to consistently work toward good continuous improvement of the school as outlined in
results without becoming robots and/or machine the school improvement plan (NCSBE, 2006, p. 4).
parts or replacements.
Often leadership skill acquisition is given in a [Commentary: The idea is that from the specifications
metaphor of the toolbox. School leaders learn a new within a plan, the leader embeds the required and
desired culture that will lead to continuous improve-
skill and declare, just something I can put in my ment without cessation in the school.]
toolbox for future use. This is a decidedly mechanis-
tic and artificial view of leadership and a determinis- Designs protocols and processes that ensure compliance
tic metaphor for management. Tools are for machines. with state and district mandates (NCSBE, 2006, p. 6).
The metaphor that one acquires specific skills or
techniques and puts them in his or her toolbox is [Commentary: The idea is to ensure conformance by
duplicating procedures (the working parts of a machine)
simplistic, mechanistic, and reductionist.
with state and district mandates (the overall machine
Lumby and English (2010) have compared the design)].
nature of a machine to a human. A machine always
performs exactly the same; that is, there is little vari- The continued use of machine metaphors to describe
ance in performance, and it will produce identical desired leadership behaviors and actions sets up a
results. The machine functions the same as long as its leader to fail because humans are not machines and
energy source lasts. It produces faster than humans will have bad days where emotionless machines do
with greater consistency; it never gets tired or sick, not. Think about our greatest athletes. No matter how
does not have to be motivated, and does not have to talented or great, they do drop balls, miss goals,
believe in a better future to keep working hard strike out, fumble the ball, and flat out fail. To insist
(Lumby & English, 2010, p. 13). that educators do it right the first time and every
The assumption that educational leaders can time is to compare us to machines where we will
become machines and attain heretofore perfect never outperform them and we will always come up
responses is embedded in political statements and short. This is pure folly.
job descriptions that employ machine metaphors to School leaders should avoid being compared to
describe the expectations for school leadership. For machines and avoid using machine metaphors to
example, in 2006, the North Carolina State Board of establish school goals and processes. In education, as
Education (NSCBE) adopted the North Carolina with most professions, the perfect is the enemy of the
Standards for School Executives. A close examina- good. Good performance is for humans. Perfect per-
tion of the standards finds these examples of formance is for machines. Beginning with realistic
machine metaphors and assumptions included in the expectations goes a long way in defining success. We
commentary below the standard: can never succeed if we are bound to fail from the
beginning. The wisdom of practice means that prac-
The goal of school leadership is to transform schools tice will rarely, if ever, attain perfection. It is impor-
so that large-scale, sustainable, continuous improve-
ment becomes built in to their mode of operation
tant to have high standards. But there is a difference
(NCSBE, 2006, p. 1). between high standards and impossible standards.

[Commentary: Something that never rests and runs

continuously without stopping is the embodiment of a The Lenses of Practice
machine, and when it is built in to their mode of
operation it is a decidedly mechanical notion.]
Leadership practice does not occur in a vacuum.
Leadership is not a position or a person. It is a practice Leadership and its actions are deeply embedded in
that must be embedded in all job roles at all levels of culture and context. Leadership practice also swims
the school district (NCSBE, 2006, p. 1). in a sea of larger narratives or stories: stories about

what is valuable or not; what is worth doing; what is the most blatant examples is the bestselling book by
beautiful; what is the purpose of getting an education Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective
and learning and the meaning and nature of work. People, first published in 1989. Covey has sold
The lens through which educational leadership about 10 million copies of his book, which has been
has been historically defined since it was established translated into 28 languages.
as a specific field near the turn of the last century has While Covey claimed that his book was based on
been founded on claims that management was or a thorough study of the relevant thought regarding
ought to be a science and that school administrators American success literature since 1776, a close
should be scientifically trained so as to gain maxi- read of his actual research study showed something
mum efficiency (the reduction of cost) in operating else. While Covey advanced the claim of comprehen-
schools. siveness, his success literature consisted of 108
So-called scientific management was the creation references of which nearly 25 percent were other
of Frederick Taylor, one of the countrys first man- doctoral dissertations completed in the time period
agement consultants, who brought time and motion 1963 to 1974. Twenty-two percent of Coveys cita-
studies to the study of work to discern the most effi- tions were from journal articles in the time period
cient way to do anything on a job. His path-breaking 1945 to 1975. Of the secular books cited in Coveys
book published in 1911, The Principles of Scientific research, none bore copyrights earlier than 1938 or
Management, laid the foundation for establishing older than 1975. Secular books comprised 38 percent
departments of educational administration in the of his literature base, 46 percent of these were cita-
newly emerging schools of education. tions from the sixties with 34 percent in the period
Taylorism had a profound impact on ideas of 1970 to 1975. The remainder of Coveys research
administrative practice in schools and, for that mat- base were sacred writings, including the King James
ter, in business. Taylor (1911/1947) believed that Version of the Bible and major sources of Mormon
with enough study there was one right way to do literature, including The Book of Mormon, originally
most everything. So the one right way became a released in 1830.
kind of powerful assumption behind thinking about Covey (1991) claimed to have been brought into
administrative practice. It survives today in the form contact with hundreds of books . . . the majority of
of the concept of best practice, which is not always it appears to have originally come out of the study of
the same as research-based practice. More often than the Bible by many individuals (p. 153). Additionally,
not, best practice refers to a sort of rule of thumb Coveys empirical research consisted of 222 business
or heuristic passed on from one administrator to the students at Brigham Young University (BYU) who
next, sometimes in the form of popular off-the-shelf were divided into two groups. One group was taught
kitsch management books, which are glossy trea- using traditional methods and content. The second
tises with happy endings always promised with group was instructed with religious principles of the
implementation of the remedies described between Mormon Church and they were called stewardship
the covers. Airport book nooks are awash with them classes. These classes were heavily loaded with
(Papa, Kain, & Brown, 2013). Church doctrine. After instruction had ended, Covey
administered a 30-item questionnaire on three aspects
of personal development. They were the social
How to Discern Best Practice From dimension, the emotional dimension, and the moral
Ordinary Practice, Common Sense, dimension. After performing a rudimentary statisti-
and Kitsch Texts cal analysis, Coveys findings showed no significant
difference between the groups.
When someone declares that something is best prac- What is important about this revelation is that
tice the reader needs to beware. All too often best Covey never tells readers of 7 Habits any of this.
practice is simply the authors or advocates personal And he never explains that his research was not
opinion about how best to handle a situation, and all conducted in the school of education nor the school
too often the advocate fails to divulge his or her own of business, but within the Department of Church
biases when revealing best practice. Perhaps one of History and Doctrine at BYU and that his doctorate
2. The Emerging Wisdom of Educational Leadership31

was in religious education. Our discussion of these commandants, certain questions should be asked
facts is not a condemnation of the Mormon faith nor about how they were derived. This chapter poses
its teachings. Rather it is to illustrate that this these questions within the context of a study of orga-
widely popular book, which advanced seven princi- nizational decision making. The study reveals not
ples, was not in fact based on any substantive only the complexity of decision making, but also the
research that supported its claims. Coveys (1991) kinds of benchmarks a study of practice should meet
claim of effectiveness was not empirically based, to be considered best practice, especially with
but rather centered on the teachings of the Mormon regard to administrative best practice.
Church, which begs the question of the truth of his
claims. He simply asserts, They are . . . unarguable What Is the Context and the Theoretical
because they are self-evident (p. 35). 7 Habits is Perspective in Defining a Practice?
larded with social science jargon to give it the
veneer of respectability, but One of the key issues in determining a best
managerial practice is the definition and a solid pre-
Coveys social science is no science at all. He fails to sentation of the background and context of the prac-
adequately define his terms, fully disclose his sources,
tice. Few practices in administration are good for all
forthrightly identify his biases and assumptions, care-
fully pursue a logical approach to clearly identified times and all places. There are too many what ifs
problems, and offer empirical evidence to support his and it all depends scenarios that create contingen-
claims. (English, 2003, p. 170) cies and exceptions to a practice for it to be applica-
ble for every kind of situation facing an administrator.
7 Habits is not the only example of nonempirical Some prior empirical studies of school superinten-
work being advanced as a base for best practice. dents showed that the reputationally successful
Other examples, which are compilations of slogans, [superintendents]those who can be considered as
metaphors, and anecdotes, have been identified by expert performershave larger amounts of if-then
Papa et al. (2013), such as Spencer Johnsons (1998) scenarios to draw on in navigating the superinten-
Who Moved My Cheese?; Kenneth Blanchard and dency, allowing them a seemingly intuitive orienta-
Johnsons (1983) The One Minute Manager; Stephen tion to the tasks at hand (Nestor-Baker & Hoy, 2001,
C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensens p. 123).
(2000) Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Any study in which best practices are the result
Improve Results. must be fully forthcoming about not only the context
These books are examples of kitsch management in which the study was conducted but also how the
texts; they are highly sentimental, cheap, superficial study was theoretically framed. A study that does not
treatments of complex situations. Kitsch manage- reveal its theoretical underpinnings should not be
ment texts require no in-depth knowledge, need no trusted because too often the researcher obtains what
hard reading, reinforce our existing prejudices, he or she assumed was already there. Such a study
avoid unpleasant conflicts, and promise a happy amounts to the exercise of a tautology; that is, it was
ending (Samier, 2005, p. 38). They are a kind of true by definition and really didnt even need a study
managerial pulp fiction. Some are outright frauds. to be considered true.
Thomas Peters, one of the authors of the best-selling To explicate our point, English and Cheryl Bolton
business management book In Search of Excellence (2008) conducted a study of decision-making prac-
(Peters & Waterman, 1982), stated in a 2001 article tices in England and the United States to determine
that he and coauthor Robert Waterman faked the whether educational decision makers at the mid-
data cited in the book (Lieberman, 2001) . management level engaged in heuristics or rules
of thumb to aid them. The study was grounded in
Some Questions to Ask About preliminary evidence compiled from education and
Best Managerial Practice medicine that showed not all decisions in both fields
were always rational, that professionals face situa-
When a practice is identified as a best practice tions in which there is a large amount of uncertainty,
and reduced to the form of maxims, proverbs, or and that time is limited for accurate and prolonged

diagnosis. The acquisition of rules of thumb enabled sorting out of the issues within a matrix of other roles.
decision makers to chunk complex situations into The researchers found that a midlevel manager differs
smaller pieces. By rules of thumb was meant that from a medical doctor or a school superintendent who
information, is organized mentally via predeter- make decisions alone on some matters.
mined metarules that are category based and whole The interview data revealed that decisions by mid-
pattern in structure (Davis, 2004, p. 631). level managers were made on the cognitive/intellectual
In the English and Bolton (2008) study, the con- side that would be supported by the tenets of rational
text was identified (midlevel managers in largely choice theory, but they also made decisions based on
higher education situations in the United States and their own sense of what was proper and right. These
the United Kingdom) along with the initial theoreti- were primarily nonrational (emotional). They came
cal lens. The explication of the theoretical lens is to be called core values and were composed of
significant because the use of a lens is the way a personal moral decisions, connections to larger values
study of practice is framed. The framing of a study outside the organization that existed in the connecting
means that some facets of a situation or context are tissue to society, culture, or a linguistic heritage, or
included while others are excluded. For example, the connections to a set of values of other institutions
framing of this study involved rational choice the- such as a church or synagogue or mosque.
ory or RCT. RCT was employed because administra- The data showed that this personal, emotional side
tor preparation has been almost exclusively grounded was always present in decision making by midlevel
in rational choice theory (Bolton & English, 2010). managers. In a sort of personal heuristic, the respon-
RCT requires a separation of logic and emotion and dents sometimes refused to make a decision when
it is centered on game theory, which is linked to a they felt a heavy emotional burden because one of
hard analysis of risk and value. their core values was broached. These disjunctions in
decision making were called circuit breakers. In sce-
The Logic of a Practice and Understanding narios where midlevel managers perceived a trans-
Contextual Complexities gression of their core values, or they perceived that a
particular kind of decision posed too much job risk,
Decision making within an organization is a com- they found ways to avoid making a decision at all. In
plex interplay between the decision maker and the these cases midlevel managers would kick the deci-
context in which he or she is working. Persons work- sion upstairs, that is, pass it on to their bosses or refer
ing at the midmanagement level such as school prin- it back to those who sent it by asking for more infor-
cipals or persons occupying positions at central mation before rendering any decision. A key compo-
offices or larger educational institutions do not make nent was the extent to which there was a climate of
decisions in isolation. The context of decision making trust in the organization, meaning the extent to which
is therefore connected to other roles. a midlevel manager could expect not to be fired if a
The English and Bolton (2008) study asked ques- decision went badly. A key factor here was the extent
tions of midlevel managers to determine if they used to which uncertainty was present; that is, if the per-
heuristics and, if so, under what circumstances. What sonal risks were high with strong levels of uncer-
emerged from the interviews of 13 middle-line man- tainty, an individual decision maker refused to render
agers over a five-month period was that instead of a a decision. This was a circuit breaker.
separation of logic and emotion required by the The English and Bolton (2008) study concluded
tenets of rational choice theory, emotion was present that midlevel administrators make decisions, or
in nearly every decision that midlevel managers choose not to make them, on two levels. The first is
made. The supposed binary of separating logic from their organizational, positional level and where they
emotion in the day-to-day business of running an fit in to the overall structure. The second is at a
educational institution turned out to be a myth. highly personal level that might be called a sort of
While it was discovered midlevel managers did moral plane. The data illustrated that midlevel admin-
make decisions, the interview data also showed a istrators might not always render a decision that was
more complex reality facing them. What the research- good for the organization or that was required to be
ers discerned were not heuristics per se but rather a made at their level, but they almost always made a
2. The Emerging Wisdom of Educational Leadership33

decision that was good for themselves (Bolton & which such practice is defined and implemented.
English, 2010). In retrospect, this makes perfect Rational choice models will define best practice as
sense, and it is a kind of heuristic, but not exactly one in which profit is maximized and cost is mini-
how the researchers initially conceptualized the mized. Other lenses will stress other factors. The
nature of a heuristic. context in which administrative decisions are rendered
really defines the efficacy of a decision.
Toward an Improved Grasp Before anyone should accept certain managerial
of Administrative Practice axioms or decisions as best, one must know some-
thing about the factors discussed in this section. It
The actual decision-making context of midlevel should also be obvious why the kitsch management
administrators in practice is shown in Figure 2.2. books are so ambiguous. Their proverbs and advice
The decision-making context for midlevel manag- must remain general and contextually bland or the
ers indicates that within the dynamic interplay of the nuances of real organizational life quickly invalidate
individual and the organization the administrator their utility.
renders or defers a decision by constant balancing of Any real consideration of best practices in educa-
three factors: personal risk, uncertainty, and emo- tional management and leadership is contextually
tionality based on personally held values. These three dependent on many variables. It has been the purpose
factors are in constant tension and are codependent. of this chapter to highlight some of them.
By risk is meant the possible negative consequences
of a decision that will arise to the decision maker if a
decision goes badly. By uncertainty is meant the
unknown elements that will impact a decision, some Key Chapter Terms
of which could be known with more time and others
Accoutrements: Those artful skills, insights, and char-
not. By emotionality is meant the organizations cli-
acteristics that the school leader needs to develop to
mate and, with an individual, the extent to which
become an effective educational leader. The concept is
any leader must deal with his or her feelings, includ-
both artful and one based on social science approaches
ing intuition, hunches, and even suspicions (English
and also takes into account context and culture.
& Bolton, 2008, p. 108).
When viewing what might be best managerial
Artful leadership: An approach to leadership based
practice, one has to know the theoretical lens through
on the idea that leading is an act of performing
because it involves actions, movement, rituals, and
the use of symbols, chief of which is language.

Authority: The source of power within organizations.

In schools, the basis of authority is legal, which is
one of the classic earmarks of a bureaucracy.

Best practice: The idea that some managerial prac-

tices optimize results over all other practices that
may be possible. The forerunner of best practice is
Frederick Taylors one best method outcome with
scientific management. In management, the idea of
best practice rests on the assumption that there are no
significant differences in context that will reduce the
effectiveness of a practice.

Figure 2.2 The Context of Midlevel Managerial Ideology: A closed system of beliefs or values in
Decision Making which the original assumptions of those beliefs or
SOURCE: English, F.W., & Bolton, C.L. (2008). values are rarely, if ever, questioned, but instead

accepted as givens. Those most difficult to discern perfection is not only possible but attainable, even
are cultural ideologies. when dealing with organizations in which such an
outcome is impossible if for no other reason than
Kitsch and kitsch management books: Kitsch is a management does not control the variables used to
slang term that means rubbish or trash and is judge its performance.
usually applied to inexpensive knock offs of art or
artistic products. It can also mean in bad taste. Pedagogy: Narrowly defined pedagogy refers to the
Kitsch management books are highly simplified science of teaching children. However, in the more
descriptions and other bromides that can be taken as modern sense it refers to the discourse in which edu-
organizational pep pills without regard to any cation and educational matters are defined, refined,
subtle nuances in context. Such management books and applied. It also refers to the historical decon-
are simplistic prescriptions for happiness at the end struction of ideas, patterns, and themes undergirding
of the organizational rainbow. educational issues.

Machine metaphors: Descriptors of management or Power: The legitimization and authorization within
leadership in which such words as continuous law and social institutions to define the shape of edu-
improvement appear, implying rest is not necessary cation (schooling) and to compel its use and impose
and that human foibles are erased when management its form on the remainder of those inhabiting any
is put together properly and running well. In such given social system.
models of leadership, the major descriptors are
smooth running, as in a well-oiled machine. Rational choice theory: A narrative in which human
choice is portrayed as a process of maximizing out-
Managerial perfectionism: An approach toward puts within the constraints imposed by specific situ-
describing the goals of management as 100% of all ations and those employing the choices of others, as
possible outcomes or results. It is the idea that in game theory.

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pp. 195209). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. London, England: Paul Chapman.

Further Readings Bell, T. H. (1988). The thirteenth man: A Reagan cabinet

memoir. New York, NY: Free Press.
Ackerman, R. H., & Maslin-Ostrowski, P. (2002). The Terrel H. Bell was brought in to abolish the U.S.
wounded leader: How real leadership emerges in Department of Education by the Reagan administra-
times of crisis. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. tion but ended up finding that a federal department
For a school leader who wants to understand the nature was necessary in the Washington, D.C., bureaucratic
of the battles in educational leadership and how to sur- wars. His battles with Reagan ideologues are
vive them when wounded from them, this book based described in some detail, as is his decision to form
on interviews of educators who have endured them is and fund a national group that released the ground-
helpful and hopeful. As the authors note, its not if breaking federal report A Nation at Risk. For school
you are wounded, rather it is when you are wounded. administrators who really want to understand the

nature of educational conflict at the national level, administrative pay to standardized student test scores is
this is as up close and personal as it gets. included as well.
Berliner, D. C., & Biddle, B. J. (1995). The manufactured Kanigel, R. (1997). The one best way: Frederick Winslow
crisis: Myths, fraud, and the attack on Americas Taylor and the enigma of efficiency. New York, NY:
public schools. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Viking.
One of the first comprehensive rebuttals of the neocon- This is must book for any reader who wants to really
servative attacks on public education. It exposes the understand the continuing influence of Frederick Taylor
myths about achievement and aptitude, criticizes poor and the scientific management movement that today
ideas for reform, and explains the real problems of has morphed into accountability and is embodied in the
American education. The authors also explain how to No Child Left Behind Act and the Race to the Top fed-
examine the fundamentals of school improvement eral grant program. The book is a comprehensive biog-
through research and compassion. raphy and offers a rare glimpse into the life and mind of
one of the earliest management consultants in the
Bohman, J. (1992). The limits of rational choice
United States, whose influence is still profound.
explanation. In J. Coleman & T. Fararo (Eds.), Rational
choice theory: Advocacy and critique (pp. 207228). Lumby, J., & English, F. W. (2010). Leadership as
Newbury Park, CA: Sage. lunacy: And other metaphors for educational
In this chapter in a book devoted to rational choice leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
theory, James Bohman succinctly critiques the basic Included are seven basic metaphors in which leader-
structure of rational choice explanations and the ship is described: machine, accounting, war, sport,
assumptions that lie behind it. He then summarizes and theater, religion, and lunacy. Each of these various
describes the limits of those assumptions. Bohman does metaphors is illustrated in some detail with a discus-
not contend that rational choice theory is wrong but sion of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
rather that it cannot be a comprehensive social theory
Mintzberg, H. (1983). Structure in fives: Designing
or even serve as the basis of one. This is a very brief but
effective organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
comprehensive account of rational choice theory.
Prentice Hall.
Drucker, P. (1974). Management: Tasks, responsibilities, This is the classic book on organization design. It
practices. New York, NY: Harper & Row. establishes a model of how to understand the key parts
This is the classic book on management by the acknowl- of any organization composed of the operating core, the
edged dean of managerial thinkers. Peter Drucker middle line, and strategic apex with relationships to the
describes the emergence of management and the tasks technostructure and the support staff. Henry Mintzberg
which comprise the dimensions of management. He shows how organizational design is related to the
separates performance into business performance and nature of the tasks embedded in an organization. Of key
performance in service institutions. He goes into detail importance is his discussion of the machine bureau-
in describing the managers work tasks and jobs, effec- cracy compared to the adhocracy. The reader will be
tive skills, and the building blocks of organization. The provided with a very practical way of thinking about
final part of the book deals with the tasks, organization, why organizations contain what they do and are shaped
and strategies of top management. It concludes with a the way they are.
discussion of the legitimacy of management.
Papa, R., & English, F. W. (2011). Turnaround principals
English, F. W. (2014). Educational leadership in the age for underperforming schools. Lanham, MD:
of greed: A requiem for res publica. Ypsilanti, MI: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
National Council of Professors of Educational Based on Rosemary Papas early research in California
Administration. of outstanding schools serving minority students, the
This book is a detailed analysis of the forces of neolib- book expands the research into understanding activist
eralism and what groups, agencies, and foundations are leadership to improve schooling and life chances and
funding the neoliberal attack on public education. The how to create socially just schools. Chapters close with
book includes an expose of the Broad Foundation and a description of heuristics for activist leaders. Book
its graduates, many of whom were not educators but appendices include explicit leader beliefs and actions
were placed in positions of educational leadership in and a troubleshooting guide that contains advice for
school systems around the United States. The coming school leaders who want to implement the ideas in the
culture of corruption caused by linking teacher and book.
2. The Emerging Wisdom of Educational Leadership37

Papa, R., English, F. W., Davidson, F., Culver, M. K., & Ravitch, D. (2010). The death and life of the great
Brown, R. (2013). Contours of great leadership: The American school system: How testing and choice are
science, art, and wisdom of outstanding practice. undermining education. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Once a member of the neoconservative camp in advo-
Based on Rosemary Papas decade-long pursuit of the cating national testing, Diane Ravitch had a change of
keys to effective school leadership, the book presents a heart when she saw the direction neoconservative poli-
prism for understanding the nature of educational leader- cies were taking public education. She takes on the
ship, the nature of accoutrements, habits of reflection, and business model and its shortcomings in San Diego and
a focus on instruction, the acquisition and refinement of New York City and critiques No Child Left Behind. In
skills and insights anchored to leadership identity, prac- addition, she critiques the neoliberal philanthrocapital-
tice, and wisdom. Chapters include learning extensions ists such as Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and others and dis-
and a method for testing ones beliefs about great leaders. cusses why their notions of reform work against public
Pattison, S. (1997). The faith of the managers: When
management becomes religion. London, England: Starratt, R. J. (1996). Transforming educational
Cassell. administration: Meaning, community, and
Stephen Pattison is a trained theologian who analyzed excellence. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
contemporary managerial propositions as forms of reli- This book begins with an explication of the unique
gion replete with visions and missions. Pattison says, calling of a school administrator and presents a pic-
Although management has no official deity of a tradi- ture of pathology and health in school administration.
tional, metaphysical kind, it is laden with the kinds of There is an excellent discussion of the way meaning is
faith presuppositions, irrationalities, paradoxes and administered in schools, including the pursuit of
symbols that are often directly associated with reli- meaning in a learning community. There are also
gion (p. 2). This book will open ones eyes to the mys- chapters on empowerment and organic management
ticism that lies behind much of the contemporary as well as how to administer excellence with a moral
management movement in education and elsewhere. community.


Virginia Commonwealth University

Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. . . . You take the
blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take
the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Morpheus introducing his purpose to Neo in The Matrix (Silver, Cracchiolo,

Wachowski, & Wachowski, 1999).

his chapter discusses bureaucracies, their the labyrinth of administrivia, and a large amor-
value to school leaders, and how to navigate phous monster that sometimes is policy and some-
them. First, bureaucratic networks are defined times is politics. Because arguments about the
and explored. Then a look at the politics associated goodness or badness of the concept of bureau-
with how such networks are built is offered. Finally, cracy will muddle the points in this chapter, the term
suggestions and examples of expert navigation are network is used in this discussion. Network provides
examined as way to inspire and support both new and a more concrete set of understandings, which can be
seasoned school leaders. visualized by recalling the scene in the 1999 film
The Matrix (Silver et. al., 1999) in which Neo
decides to swallow the red pill and learns about a
Welcome to Wonderland: A Primer on whole new world (or matrix) of power relationships
Bureaucratic Networks between people. A matrix refers to an array of num-
bers, symbols, or expressions arranged in rows or
Historically, bureaucracy was a term with many columns. In this chapter, the concept is extended to
positive connotations as it referred to government/ illustrate that bureaucracies, and the power wielded
public administration managed by units of non- within them, are simply tapestries woven from
elected officials. This definition implied that the networks of people.
most noble and pure forms of government systems At their core, networks are intricately arranged
are those that serve their people and are free from daisy chains of people. Experiences, politics, and job
politics (Weber, 1922/1978). Current understandings titles weave the chains together to form the fabric (or
and implications of the term are significantly differ- matrix) of education systems at the local, state, and
ent and typically negative. They connote red tape, national level. If one person exists metaphorically as


a carefully placed stitch within such a fabric, it is all contributed to the selection and placement of
hard for him or her to look beyond the immediate intelligence officers and administrators for the
environment to see the entire matrix of stitches, Central Intelligence Agency and to the advancement
warp, and weft threads that constrains or empowers of politicians careers. This same formula could be
his or her daily work. However, taking stock of ones easily applied to the formation of school district lead-
environment is vital to understanding (and therefore ership teams, local school boards, state legislative
navigating) a network. bodies, and national policy-making groups. In other
The first step to successful leveraging of an agenda words, the formula explains how networks are con-
is to understand that in the United States, all education structed. A more pragmatic way to visualize the
systems are built on formal and informal networks arrangement of formal and informal relationships is
because education is a political endeavor (Spring, to consider a German term, Stammbaum, which liter-
1993). Thus, a leader must first understand who has ally means family tree. When considering the
the ability to help or hinder his or her vision and Stammbaum of networks in education, it is useful to
agenda. This leadership skill set is something deeper visualize a forest of family trees (Tooms, 2012).
than the usual Administration 101 class in strategic In this chapter, two species of family tree are con-
planning that outlines a recipe for creating a time line sidered. In order to best define them, a general
and holding meetings to allow for all stakeholders to understanding of what a family tree is must be estab-
give input. All stakeholders involved in change do not lished: In this context, a family tree is best under-
need to understand the networks that undergird the stood as a historical chart depicting generations of
bureaucratic system of education. The person leverag- marriages and the offspring produced within (and out
ing the agenda, however, does, for these reasons. of) those relationships. The first species of family
tree central to the ideas in this chapter is a historical
People are not always forthright in a public meeting chart that chronicles generations of relationships
with their opinions (Goffman, 1959). centered on the geography of a persons education
The meeting held after the meeting (usually in the
and training. This type of tree is particularly impor-
parking lot, over the telephone, or via social media
tant because school leadership is a relatively small
such as Facebook) is where clusters of people
express their honest reactions to ideas and events
discipline grounded in politics (Spring, 1993). For
along with a willingness to hinder or help a leaders example, school district superintendents tend to
vision and agenda (Harvey, 1988). reach back to classmates and professors to ask for the
Relationships between people are not always names of good candidates for leadership positions
obvious, and they can influence group opinion. for the teams they form in school districts. Thus,
school district administrations can (although they do
These factors are key to understanding networks not always) consist of administrators who are similar
and leverage points, an essential understanding for to one another because administrators turn to people
leaders so they can inspire people to support and fol- they knew in college or during stints as teachers to
low their ideas. These truths are applicable to the ask for recommended candidates. Those the adminis-
spectrum of group dynamics found everywhere, from trators turn to for recommendations are often similar
PTA meetings to the U.S. Congress. to them, and they in turn recommend candidates who
are similar. Membership in some of these family
trees is obvious through the display of college alumni
Back to the Beginning: and fraternity or sorority paraphernalia or profes-
How Networks Are Formed sional organization service awards.

A film that illustrates how large-scale professional About Fit

and political networks are formed is The Good
Shepherd (De Niro, 2006). It examines the birth of The second species of family tree forming the
the Central Intelligence Agency as viewed through Stammbaum of educational leadership chronicles
the life of one man. Although a fictional movie, it generations of mentors, protgs, and groups of
illustrates how relationships formed through college people who work together. The identification of these
fraternities, social clubs, marriage, and the military relationships is a more nuanced process that has to do
3. Understanding How the Bureaucratic Maze Works41

with a political construct called fit. Fit is best under- teacher typically is entrenched with the environ-
stood as a game specific to the politics and relation- mental context of the classroom. It does not occur to
ships between school administrators and the young children that teachers are also parents or con-
community they serve (Tooms, Lugg, & Bogotch, sumers who buy groceries.
2010). In this game, the community, which ultimately
governs a school, sets the rules for how an adminis- Social Construction
trator is to behave and not behave. The administrator
seeks to understand, obey, and perpetuate these rules Social construction refers to how parts of the
because this is the necessary currency to obtain sup- social world, such as a role, practice, or type of
port and therefore job security (Anderson, 1990; behavior, are products of a particular society rather
Iannocone & Lutz, 1970; Stout, 1986). than natural or inevitable. This can be the case with
When one is selected from a pool of equally identity because, ultimately, how we see ourselves
qualified candidates as a new principal, superinten- relates to constructions of reality that we create with
dent, or state secretary of education, the values of a others (Gergen, 1999). This means that, in terms of
community (be that a community of district office social construction, how we present and understand
administrators or a legislative district) directly impact ourselves depends on our audience and circum-
the selection and retention of a leader. For example, stances (Jung & Hect, 2004). Rather than having a
it is probably a rare occurrence that an openly gay single identity, we possess a framework of multiple
school principal would be hired in a small conserva- identities and behaviors; which identities and behav-
tive Christian town in Mississippi; however, in a iors are at play depends on the context.
more socially progressive area of the United States,
such as Madison, Wisconsin, or Los Angeles, Hegemony
California, openly gay school principals might be
more prevalent. Fit can also be explained as the Sociopolitical philosophers such as Michel
nexus point between three frames of understanding Foucault (1975) and Jacques Derrida (1982) argued
relative to politics and society. They are identity that identity cannot be considered without the influ-
theory, social construction, and hegemony. Below is ence of hegemony. Hegemony explains how groups
a brief description of each. or individuals can maintain their dominance over
other groups of individuals in a society via coercion
rather than violence (Gramsci, 1971). This phenom-
enon is achieved through persuading those in the
The definition of identity used in this chapter subordinate group to accept, adopt, and internalize
refers to parts of a self that are composed of mean- the dominant groups definition of what is normal.
ings attached to the roles people play in society. Mechanisms such as the media and school teach,
Identity is a social construct related to interaction of reinforce, and maintain this viewpoint, achieving a
people in the varying contexts of ones life. In the kind of veiled oppression. Therefore, the power of a
case of a male professor who identifies as a Democrat, dominant group of people in a society is also main-
for instance, his children would primarily identify tained (Apple, 1993). Those who are subjected to
him as their father, rather than as Democrat or hegemony are rarely aware of it because messages of
professor. A visual metaphor of this phenomenon what is normal permeate every pore of society
is to consider each context as an empty picture frame through symbols, language, and other cultural struc-
that we wear around our necks. In the context of par- tures influenced by the dominant group.
enting, our frame says mother or father on its
identifying placard. In a different context, such as at
the voting booth, the picture frame might say What Does Fit Have to Do With
Democrat or Republican. While we wear these Membership in Networks?
frames of identity all at the same time, context typi-
cally pushes one of these frames to the forefront. Think about the water cooler talk about an adminis-
That is why third graders are shocked to see their trator in his or her first year. Often, we say things
teacher in the grocery store. The identity frame of like, Oh she fits right in. Or we say, Oh man,

I dont know if he fits yet. We are not even aware that AIDS, the D/discourse in society changed concerning
in truth we are affirming that this person replicates how children with AIDS should be regarded in
the norms and values of a dominant group in our schools. This in turn affected (to some degree) the
community. Or consider a statement that countless everyday actions of educators in terms of setting and
human resource officers have uttered during a school reinforcing the culture of school and how AIDS vic-
administrators application process, This one is a tims of all ages are regarded. This section borrows
rock star. I cant put my finger on why. I just know from the construct of d/D and uses the idea of n/
my gut tells me he is a good fit for the job. In truth, networks and N/networks. Networks centered around
the recognition of fit doesnt come from a mysterious a school community and school districts are known as
gut feeling. It is a barometer of how a community n/networks. N/networks exist on a larger scale and are
defines school leadership. specific to statewide and national daisy chains of those
This definition comes by way of the convergence of who serve education. Understanding and identifying n/
how we understand and construct the rules of society networks and N/networks is an extremely useful skill
and identity (i.e., what a good leader looks and acts set for school leaders for these reasons.
like). An example of how this dynamic works would
be the consideration of women in school leadership It helps professionals in the field seek and seize
positions. In the mid-20th century, classes for girls in opportunities in terms of school leadership.
high school included home economics, which focused It helps professionals in the field seek and seize
on the study of maintaining a home in the role of wife. opportunities in terms of career trajectory.
Classes, television, and pop culture did not include
It helps professionals assess and navigate their
explorations of leadership (or any other work-related leadership goals in relationship to national and
roles) outside of the home for women. A woman did statewide reform efforts such as the Common Core
not fit a communitys idea of what a superintendent State Standards.
was. Schools and universities are mechanisms in
which students, teachers, and administrators are taught
the margins of tolerance as prescribed by the commu- Navigating Networks by Understanding
nities they serve. This happens directly via constructed the Panopticon and the Johari Window
definitions and derivations of the words good, normal,
and legitimate. To really drive this point home, con- Thus far, arguments have been offered that explain
sider that until 1959, a good school administrator in how networks are formed, and why it is useful to
Alabama was one who kept schools segregated. Or understand and use them in school leadership. This
until the last decade, a good school administrator section is dedicated to exploring two ideas that come
could easily ignore the bullying of a gay student from the worlds of philosophy and sociology and
because the student did not fit (Lugg, 2003). play a large part in how leaders understand and navi-
gate networks in schools, education systems, and
society. By understanding the panopticon and using
The Family Trees Where We Fit: A Look the Johari Window, school leaders can more effec-
at n/networks and N/networks tively navigate networks. This section begins with an
explanation of the panopticon. This is followed by a
James Paul Gee (1996) described discourse as big D discussion of the Johari Window. Last, a case study
discourse (which is represented in writing as D/ outlines how one of the most successful school
discourse) and little d discourse (which is repre- superintendents in Tennessee uses these tools to
sented in writing as d/discourse). D/discourse refers to navigate the n/networks and N/networks in his state.
the large messages that we get in society such as what
a good student is or what a good leader does. Small The Panopticon
everyday conversations that are embedded in our
everyday lives are referred to as d/discourse. Both of Foucault (1975) argued that social and political
these kinds of discourse influence each other. Change institutions such as schools, prisons, and hospitals
happens when one of these is leveraged. For example, produce and reproduce power structures in society by
when Ryan Whites family went public in the 1980s defining what is normal, good, and tolerable. As
about how he was shunned at school because he had stated previously, these societal ideals can change
3. Understanding How the Bureaucratic Maze Works43

Sidebar 3.1 How to See n/networks

To understand how n/networks work, this sidebar presents a fictional scenario featuring a teacher with leadership
ambitions. Beth Hinton was always a go-getter as a teacher. This was evidenced by her willingness to do the most
mundane jobs, like extra bus duty or detention supervision, without complaint. Ms. Hinton asked for and received
professional critique with grace and made a point to happily volunteer for staff development activities, such as cur-
riculum committees. Ms. Hinton was also an excellent teacher who had few classroom discipline issues and worked
well with parents. All of these facets of Ms. Hintons professional contributions got the attention of her supervisor,
the principal of her school.
In October of Ms. Hintons third year as a teacher, the principal asked her to give a presentation about her class at
a February meeting of the school districts governing board. As usual Ms. Hinton went about this assignment with
intensity, humility, and a keen attention to detail. During the months of November, December, and January,
Ms. Hinton attended all the meetings of the governing board. She took notes of what the board members, administra-
tors, teachers, and audience members wore at the meetings. She sat in the back and watched to see who would
approach the superintendent during breaks or immediately after the conclusion of the board meeting. She noted who
the superintendent approached during breaks and at the conclusion of the meetings. Ms. Hinton noticed a man in
the audience at every meeting, a lawyer named Jack Gray. She found out from the superintendents secretary that Mr.
Gray was a community fund-raiser and plugged in. In January, Ms. Hinton was at a meeting of a statewide school
coalition. She noticed in the back corner of the large audience was that same lawyer sitting next to her superintendent.
Two weeks before she was scheduled to make her presentation, Ms. Hinton made an appointment to see Mr. Gray.
She introduced herself, explained that she was preparing to make a presentation at an upcoming school board meet-
ing, and said that she thought someday she might want to serve her district in a leadership role. She said she noticed
he attended the meetings frequently and asked if he had any advice on how she could best represent her school and
the superintendent at the meeting.
Three days later, Ms. Hinton had a similar meeting with her supervising principal. A day after that, she had the
same kind of meeting with the assistant superintendent of instruction. Ms. Hinton asked in each meeting what she
should wear, what the relationships were between the lawyer, the community, and the superintendent; how long her
presentation should be; and what it was that made a memorable presentation. Ms. Hinton gave her presentation to
the school board. Her superintendent was impressed, her principal was very proud, and members of the school board
complimented her effort. The day after the meeting, Ms. Hinton was careful to write a note to Mr. Gray (the lawyer),
her principal, and the assistant superintendent to thank them for their mentoring. After she mailed her last thank
you letter, Ms. Hinton wrote this on the inside of a card in her wallet:


a. Look for patterns of who interacts informally with whom.

b. Verify understandings of this information with a member or two of the network.
c. Solicit feedback and mentoring from a circle of people who are part of the network.
d. Sincerely thank people for their time and insights.
e. Engage in a level of professionalism and preparation far above colleagues.
f. Check in with network members regularly to help you consider your career trajectory.

Ms. Hinton used this strategy often during her third and fourth years as a teacher. Her recipe for success can be
summarized as an activity called GASing, which stands for Getting the Attention of a Superior. The term was coined
by Dan Griffiths (1963) in his groundbreaking study of how teachers move up the organizational ladder in New York
City school districts. Aspiring administrators are not the only leaders who find GASing a useful tool. School leaders
who are interested in sorting out the merits of a community agenda, vetting the perceptions of an idea or candidate
for a position, or gathering supportive momentum for a reform agenda can engage in a similar activity to GASing.
The only difference is the target. This author offers the acronym of GAMEing, or Getting the Attention of Movers
Early, as a way to build networks and therefore leadership capacity in schools. The recipe for successful GAMEing
is the same as for GASing; the only difference is that the targets are relative to moving an agenda forward. GAMEing
can be used to collect a reference list of people who may be helpful in sorting out the truth of an agenda, vetting the
street perceptions of a candidate for a job, and gathering momentum for a public discussion of a strategic plan.

over time. Two kinds of power fuel the mechanism Any seasoned administrator should be shuddering at
within a school that reproduces the power structures the thought of these events because the ramifications
that form margins of tolerance and deem who fits of such activity depend on the invisible and visible
and who does not. The first is sovereign power, and network of people involved in the incident. For exam-
it refers to those who are in formal positions of ple, unbeknownst to the racist principal in line at the
power, such as elected and hired officials in school grocery store, the cashier may be married to the sister
and community systems. Sovereign power is typi- of the president of the school board. And the presi-
cally enacted through the formal chain of command dent of the school board may be grossly offended by
and authority in an organization with teachers such comments. The cashier could call his brother-in-
answering to principals, principals answering to law and share what he witnessed, and the principal
superintendents, and superintendents answering to would never know who witnessed his inappropriate
governing boards of education. remarks. The same could be said for the other two
Disciplinary power is a less discussed dynamic in scenarios. The bartender could be a former student
society and is enacted by way of panoptic mecha- who was amused to see her superintendent drunk. Or
nisms. Foucault coined this phrase in reference to the the jogger who caught the principal in a tryst might be
panopticon, a prison building designed by English homophobic and still resentful that this principal
philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. refused to let her daughter go to the prom.
The panopticon allowed a guard to observe all the Administrators learn early on that they are always
prisoners without the prisoners knowing whether or being watched and that one can never be sure who
not they were being watched. An organizational envi- will learn about their actions outside of their daily
ronment of this kind resulted in a sentiment of invis- lives at work. Savvy administrators self-regulate their
ible omniscience (Foucault, 1975, p. 195). This choices. Sadly, some of these choices result in the loss
dynamic creates a culture of self-monitoring and of personal freedoms in order to fit (and therefore
regulates prisoner behavior because the threat of lead) within the networks to which they are beholden.
being seen is always imminent.
School communities define what a school adminis- The Johari Window
trator is and make hiring and firing decisions based on
that construction. Thus, the community is a panoptic The Johari Window (Luft & Ingham, 1955) is a
mechanism because it is composed of complex seen tool for understanding group dynamics and how
and unseen networks that are ever present in a school people behave. It is used often in the field of counsel-
administrators life. An administrator never knows ing. The name, Johari, refers to the originators, Joe
who is watching and judging his or her actions and Luft and Harry Ingham. Essentially, the window
who is taking those impressions back to those who illustrates that people behave in ways that can be
have the power to terminate. Thus, these leaders both conceptualized in four quadrants to varying degrees.
act and are acted upon (Hamilton, 1989). To under- The Johari Window also recognizes that people dont
stand a panoptic mechanism in action in everyday always understand how they might behave or the
terms of school leadership, consider these questions. ramifications of behaviors they exhibit. The window
looks like the image shown in Figure 3.1. The first
What would happened to a school principal who was quadrant centers on the public self, or what Goffman
caught engaging in a sexual activity with a member of (1959) refers to as front stage behavior. Front stage
the same gender in a car parked in his or her school behavior refers to kinds of behaviors that are pur-
poseful and are in the forefront of conscious actions.
What would happen to a school superintendent if a Examples of front stage behavior can be found in the
picture appeared on Facebook of him drinking heavily observance of school administrators conducting a
and the superintendent works in a conservative press conference or participating in a television inter-
community that bans the sale of alcohol? view. The quadrant of the public self is where people
What would happen if a grocery store cashier put their best face forward.
overheard a school principal using racial epithets The second quadrant is known as the blind to self
while speaking on the phone? area. The blind to self area is where we engage in
3. Understanding How the Bureaucratic Maze Works45

to self behavior in the form of binders full of

women underscored his inability to connect with
I. II.
Front Stage Blind to Self many voters. Skepticism of his leadership abilities
Behavior Area was evidenced by the immediate deluge of comments
in the news media and social media platforms such as
Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
Blind to self behavior plays a large role in fit, and
III. IV. therefore access to networks. A school superinten-
Back Stage Quadrant of
dent who speaks fondly of his love for martinis might
Behavior the Unknown
not earn the kind of political carte blanche he had
hoped for if the prominent members of his commu-
nity are teetotalers. What is maddening about blind to
Figure 3.1 The Johari Window self behavior and fit is that one may have no idea why
SOURCE: Adapted by Autumn Tooms Cyprs from Luft, J., & one is refused support from a network.
Ingham, H. (1955). The third quadrant of the Johari Window centers
on what Goffman (1959) referred to as back stage
behavior. This quadrant encompasses all of the
behavior whose effects on other people cannot be actions that are a part of our private selves. Behavior
seen by us. Similar to having bad breath and not of this kind is the sociological equivalent of running
knowing it, blind to self behavior is a phenomenon around the house in ones underwear. Back stage
where a persons words or actions affect others per- behavior is the stuff of casual moments between
ceptions of that person. An example of this occurred people who trust each other. One might scratch an
in October 2012 during the U.S. presidential race itch without a second thought if the only other person
between President Barack Obama and Republican in the room was ones spouse. However, if that same
presidential nominee Mitt Romney. A town hall person realized there was an itch to be scratched dur-
debate was held between the two of them as part of ing a school board meeting, they might refrain from
the presidential campaign. During that debate, a doing so in public. Savvy administrators looking to
question was raised about how each candidate would understand networks understand the incredible
address salary equity issues for women. Romney opportunities and dangers that exist in social events
responded to this question by telling a story from shared with colleagues or potential political allies.
when he was governor of Massachusetts. He said he For example, many school faculties celebrate the
was considering positions for his cabinet and noticed end of a semester with a happy hour gathering. This
that almost all of them were men. And then he said, provides a quandary for the school administrator. He
or she runs the risk of being understood as aloof by
Andand so wewe took a concerted effort to go out not attending. If he or she does attend, there is a risk
and find women who had backgrounds that could be of confusing happy hour shared with subordinates
qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to
(in which front stage behavior must be maintained)
a number of womens groups and said, Can you help
us find folks? and they brought us whole binders full with happy hour in the presence of friends (in which
of women. (Washington Post, 2012) back stage behavior is acceptable). This dynamic
plays both ways: A savvy principal at a happy hour
Romneys odd turn of phrase, binders full of is keen to refrain from losing focus and so consumes
women inspired immediate commentary from the minimal alcohol, or none at all, while still appearing
Internet. Many stated his words objectified women, engaged in back stage behavior. This fosters cama-
turning them into things crammed into notebooks. raderie and esprit de corps. As the evening pro-
Some suggested images of little black books of girl- gresses and people loosen up, the principal has a
friends. True, his comments could be categorized as chance to look for blind to self and back stage
a slip of the tongue. But to some, they also illustrated behaviors in his or her subordinates. This is an
his lack of understanding, knowledge, and comfort opportune time to listen to the stories colleagues are
level on womens equality (Cardona, 2012). His blind sharing in order to understand relationships (family

trees) within networks and the political baggage that principal berating and yelling at the assistant princi-
may be attached. pal. Does the teacher intervene? Does the teacher call
The fourth quadrant, the quadrant of the unknown, someone at the district office and inform them of this
is a category that addresses how people behave in event? Does the teacher say nothing?
situations unknown to them. For example, a principal The rules of the Johari Window note that people
may announce at a faculty meeting that if a student rarely exhibit behaviors in just one quadrant, and
were to arrive on campus with a loaded shotgun, he they often shift from one quadrant to another during
or she would ensure the campus is safe for everyone. the day. Sometimes we spend more time in one quad-
What does that really mean? Will the principal rant than in others. The amount of time and effort in
calmly confront the student and try to remove the each quadrant changes depending on the dynamics of
weapon? Or will that principal, in the heat of the those involved in a particular moment or event. For
moment, actually run quickly to the nearest office example, if a teacher was a friend of a principal who
and call the police? Or will the principal nervously was yelling, he or she might find the principal later
ask for help from the first adult he or she sees? No and ask what happened to cause such a dramatic
one (including the principal) knows what this leader moment. Or if the teacher was in his or her first year,
will do. The quadrant of the unknown is the category he or she might say nothing at all in the hopes of
that looks at how people behave in novel and unpre- staying out of a firestorm. Blind to self behavior is
dictable situations. An illustration of this phenome- where our actions most affect politics, in terms of our
non is the scenario where a teacher witnesses the own reputations and how we understand others.

Sidebar 3.2 Jon Thomas, the Panopticon, and the Johari Window

To understand how a school leader might conduct his career while keeping in mind the principles outlined in this
chapter of the panopticon and the Johari Window, lets return to the fictional school district of teacher Beth Hinton
in Sidebar 3.1 and examine the career of the districts superintendent, whom well call Jon Thomas. Tall with a boy-
ish face, he grew up in Boston and was selected from a national search to serve as superintendent of one of
the largest school systems in the Appalachian region of the United States. After five years as superintendent there,
Dr. Thomas has established himself in his adopted hometown and has already become known around the country
as a leader in school reform. One reason for his success is his education at prestigious schools (as this chapter argues,
connections are important). But a pedigree does not necessarily affect the day-to-day interactions of the superintend-
ency. Perhaps it was luck that the mayor, who was undoubtedly involved in the superintendents hire, won his states
gubernatorial race two years into Dr. Thomass tenure as superintendent. But it takes more than knowing the mayor
of a midsize town in the South to reform schools and build such a strong reputation in education. Dr. Thomas cer-
tainly could not have predicted that the mayor would win; however, Dr. Thomas might have spent some energy trying
to learn what the odds were of the mayor winning the governors seat. And he might have spent some time learning
who the mayor trusted while they were still working together in the same town.
Dr. Thomas watched the mayor (who would become governor) with an eye for detail. He made a point to sit at
the back of the audience at council meetings and notice patterns of who spoke with whom and when. With some
regularity, the mayor engaged in sidebars with a local attorney, Jack Gray, who was known for his fund-raising efforts.
Counselor Gray had graduated from one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States, and his father was
a politician. Dr. Thomas sought Mr. Gray out for advice on building relationships with the community. By the end of
Dr. Thomass first year, the two had formed a solid and trusting camaraderie.
Dr. Thomas was doing a good job by all accounts. He built relationships with the local university, he kept his word,
and he acted with integrity. The teachers union, the school board, and the community liked him. So when it became
time for the newly elected governor to name a secretary of education for his state, many in the community assumed
it would be Dr. Thomas.
Why did he seem like a natural choice?

He had an academic pedigree from a prestigious university.

It was hard for anyone to say anything negative about him.
3. Understanding How the Bureaucratic Maze Works47

He had been superintendent for three years and had made positive changes in his district without alienating the
school board or the community.
People knew him around the state because he had been active in several coalitions, particularly ones led by the
mayor and Jack Gray.

A couple of things about Dr. Thomas come to mind immediately when you watch him at a school board meeting.
First and foremost, the man loves kids. He lights up whenever there is a student present. Second he is always a very
polished professional in his appearance, his actions, and his delivery of speech. He conforms to many expectations
of people in the area in that he attends church with his family and his children attend a public school in his school
district. He is on constant front stage behavior, as evidenced by the lack of negative gossip around anything related
to his persona, his leadership style, and his background. These attributes did not just happen. They are the result of
an understanding that one is always the center of attention in educational administration.
Dr. Thomas made a point to learn the culture of his adopted hometown. As an example, he was quick to
open his speech at a community breakfast by asking that someone save him the local morning indulgence, a
chicken biscuit. And he made sure to eat that chicken biscuit while he was at the meeting. He rarely discussed
with anyone stories of his family, his life in Boston, or how other districts he served went about the daily work
of education.
Because of this, there is no personal controversy surrounding his individual likes, dislikes, or behavior. That he is
a Yankee from a well-off family up north who vacations on Marthas Vineyard is a fact blurred into the background
because Dr. Thomas proudly sports the colors of the local university football team, eats once a week at the local
barbeque shack, and visits schools to cheer on teachers whenever he can. His office is not filled with flashy furniture,
and he is happy to admit that he gets his suits on sale at the Mens Warehouse. In sum, Dr. Thomas is a lethal com-
bination politically because he is brilliant, disciplined, savvy, and above all, humble. Working in a panopticon does
not scare Dr. Thomas, but he is always aware that there may be someone witnessing his actions with the ability and
connections to scuttle his career.
Dr. Thomas not only subscribes to disciplined front stage behavior, he is keenly observant of the other quadrants
of the Johari Window relative to others. This information helps him to understand how the people in his community
interact and are related. This information also allows him to pace those behaviors in order to fit (i.e., asking for and
eating a chicken biscuit for breakfast). All of these attributes can be distilled down to one very important leadership
trait: Dr. Thomas sees himself as a reflection of his school community and profession rather than a beacon. And if
there are moments when his ego gets the best of him, few know it because he is so committed to his front stage

Conclusion environment waiting for a series of small events to

spark a political firestorm. This is why public leader-
The most important two sentences in this chapter ship is so stressful and challenging. When they enter
appeared early. They explained that a school admin- the profession, many school administrators accept
istrator never knows who is watching and judging his that they must negotiate fit while still stretching the
or her actions and who is taking those impressions boundaries of what is thinkable.
back to those who have the power to terminate. Thus, Which brings this discussion back to the film The
school leaders both act and are acted upon (Hamilton, Matrix (Silver et al., 1999) and Neos choice
1989). between the contented ignorance of illusion and the
School leaders who are able to build successful embrace of a tough reality. Neo and his colleague
careers understand they simultaneously act and are Cypher choose the difficult path of working within
acted upon. The ominous implications here center on the truth of society held in the red pill. Later on,
the idea that leadership encompasses every action a Cypher regrets his choice to live in such a harsh
leader makes in his or her daily life. Thus, the per- world and wished he had stayed ignorant of the
sonal and the professional meld into one combustible challenges and problems brought on by the Matrix.

Morpheus cautions Neo that not many people are leaders who engage in authentic, quality leadership
ready to act in a world of easy-to-digest explana- depend on the support of the networks they serve and
tions; thus taking a pill to stay in a world ignorant that surround them. Earning such support requires an
of power relationships may be a more comfortable understanding of how ones behaviors are interpreted
choice. Many are accustomed to a world that is and acknowledging the price one is willing to pay.
oblivious to the matrix of power relationships, to How much of ones personal time and identity is
the point that the disruption of entrenched struc- appropriate to sacrifice in order to fit? How much
tures is unthinkable. The same argument can be energy is one willing to devote to ensure professional
made for those who are in the profession of school vitality?
leadership because many get caught up in the The terms used in this discussion are ideas meant
entrenched structures to the point that they are not to be included in a school leaders repertoire of skills.
able to look beyond day-to-day leadership tasks to They do not take the place of stellar attention to
see the larger matrix of political structures that detail, fidelity to a moral compass, and consistent
affect their profession. focus on manifesting a vision. A rigorous work ethic
Consider the principal who is deluged with com- is only the entre to a world of opportunities waiting
plaints about a teacher and knows that the teacher to be found and seized in the name of school leader-
should be fired but who chooses not to do so ship and reform.
because it involves the stress of confrontation and
the hard work of documentation. Or think about the
school superintendent who enjoys travel and lobby- Key Chapter Terms
ing all over her home state, but really doesnt want
to get her hands dirty with the difficult work of Fit: A game of being specific to the politics and
implementing a new teacher evaluation model. relationships between school administrators and the
While these professionals have the credentials of community they serve (Tooms et al., 2010). In this
leadership on paper, they have made a conscious game, the community, which ultimately governs a
choice to take the blue pill. Turning a blind eye to the school, assigns administrative personnel both a role
difficult challenges of leadership within the political and identity, which are embedded with rules for how
world of education begs observers to wonder if to behave and not behave. Researchers in educa-
this is a form of mindless complicity, Machiavellian tional administration have noted that administrators
self-preservation, or both. seek daily to understand, obey, and perpetuate these
Hegemony, fit, and the social construction of what rules within the margins of their own leadership
a school leader is all play a part in how school admin- agenda because this is the necessary currency to
istrators go about the business of leading. As stated obtain support for leadership decisions and therefore
before, truths about what a leader is and does are job security.
often not understood. Even worse, they are some-
times dismissed. Such is the stuff of the blue pill of GAMEing: This term is coined by the author and is
blissful ignorance. This chapter discussed how an extension of GASing. It refers literally to Getting
bureaucracies are successfully navigated based on the Attention of Movers Early in a network. This is
real stories from the field and the examination of done via producing work above and beyond standard
sociopolitical theory and school leadership research. expectations.
The bridge between theory and practice is not an
easy one to construct, but it is a very necessary com- GASing: A term coined by Dan Griffiths (1963) in
ponent to effective school leadership. When theory reference to a study of how teachers moved upward
and authentic research are contextualized by experi- into positions of administration in New York City
ence, school leadership is understood in a way that schools. GASing translates to Getting the Attention
empowers leaders to authentically lead with confi- of a Superior. It refers to behaviors beyond the teach-
dence as opposed to hollow swagger. This discussion ing workday, such as supervision of nighttime activi-
does not seek to calibrate a moral compass for the ties, coaching, sponsoring clubs, and leading
reader. Rather, the focus is on the recognition that curriculum committees.
3. Understanding How the Bureaucratic Maze Works49

Hegemony: A sociopolitical construct that explains school districts. N/networks exist on a larger scale
how groups or individuals can maintain their domi- and are specific to statewide and national daisy
nance over other groups of individuals in a society chains of those who serve education. Both kinds
via coercion rather than violence. This phenomenon influence each other.
is achieved through persuading those in the subordi-
nate group to accept, adopt, and internalize the Panoptic mechanism: Coined by philosopher Michel
dominant groups definition of what is normal. Foucault, this phrase references the panopticon, a
prison building designed by English philosopher
Johari Window: A tool used to understand group Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The panop-
dynamics and how people behave. The name, Johari, ticon allows a guard to observe all the prisoners with-
refers to the originators, Joseph Luft and Harry out the prisoners knowing whether or not they were
Ingham. This chapter uses the authors interpretation being watched. An organizational environment of this
of the Johari Window (Luft & Ingham, 1955). In this kind results in a sentiment of invisible omniscience
interpretation, the window illustrates that people (Foucault, 1975, p. 195). This dynamic creates a cul-
behave in ways that, to varying degrees, can be cat- ture of self-monitoring and regulates prisoner behav-
egorized into four quadrants. While we are aware of ior because the threat of being seen is always
some of these behaviors, we are unaware of others. imminent. For example, a school administrator never
knows who is watching and judging his or her actions
n/network and N/networks: These terms are based on and who is taking those impressions back to people
James Paul Gees construct of d/Discourse. n/networks who have the power to terminate. Therefore, they lead
are those centered around a school community and and are constrained by a panoptic mechanism.

References Griffiths, D. (1963). Teacher mobility in New York City.

Educational Administration Quarterly, 6(1),
Anderson, G. (1990). Toward a critical constructivist 1531.
approach to school administration: Invisibility, Hamilton, D. (1989). Towards a theory of schooling.
legitimation, and the study of non-events. Philadelphia, PA: Falmer.
Educational Administration Quarterly, 26(1), 3859. Harvey, J. (1988). The Abilene Paradox and other
Apple, M. (1993). Official knowledge: Democratic meditations on management. New York, NY:
education in a conservative age. London, England: Jossey-Bass.
Routledge. Iannocone, L., & Lutz, R. (1970). Politics, power, and
Cardona, M. (2012, October 18). Romneys empty policy: The governing of local school districts.
binder full of women. CNN. Retrieved 5/26/2013 Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.
from http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/17/opinion/ Jung, E., & Hecht, M. (2004). Elaborating the
communication theory of identity: Identity gaps and
De Niro, R. (Producer & Director). (2006). The Good
communication outcomes. Communication Quarterly,
Shepherd [Motion picture]. United States: Universal
52(3), 265283.
Luft, J., & Ingham, H. (1955). The Johari Window, a
Derrida, J. (1982). Of grammatology. Baltimore, MD:
graphic model of interpersonal awareness.
Johns Hopkins University Press.
Foucault, M. (1975). Discipline and punish: The birth of Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in
a prison. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Group Development. Los Angeles, CA:
Gee, J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies. New UCLA.
York, NY: Routledge. Lugg, C. A. (2003). Sissies, faggots, lezzies and dykes:
Gergen, K. (1999). An invitation to social construction. Gender, sexual orientation and the new politics of
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. education. Educational Administration Quarterly,
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday 39(1), 95134.
life. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday. Silver, J., & Cracchiolo, D. (Producers), Wachowski, A. &
Gramsci, A. (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Wachowski, L. (Directors). (1999). The Matrix.
London, England: Lawrence and Wishart. United States: Warner Brothers Pictures.

Spring, J. (1993). Conflict of interest: The politics of Washington Post Wonkblog. (2012, October 16). Full
American education. New York, NY: Longman. transcript of the second presidential debate.
Stout, R. (1986). Executive action and values. Issues in Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Education, 4(3), 198214. blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/10/16/full-transcript-of-the-
Tooms, A. K. (2012). The importance of leadership second-presidential-debate/
legacies. The UCEA Review, 53(1), 16. Weber, M. (1978). Economy and society (G. Roth, trans.).
Tooms, A. K., Lugg, C., & Bogotch, I. (2010). School Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
leadership and the politics of fit. Educational (Original work published 1922)
Administration Quarterly, 46(1), 96131.

Further Readings Foucault, M. (1975). Discipline and punish: The birth of

a prison. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Anderson, G. (1990). Toward a critical constructivist This book is a seminal work by one of the most influen-
approach to school administration: Invisibility, tial philosophers in the last quarter of the 20th century.
legitimation, and the study of non-events. It explored how school, prisons, and hospitals contour
Educational Administration Quarterly, 26(1), 3859. societal norms.
This article examines the everydayness of a school leaders Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday
life and explains how seemingly nonevents contribute to life. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday.
larger messages and actions of school leadership.
This classic sociologic work is the first to examine the
Black, H., & English, F. (1997). What they dont tell you rituals of interaction between people on an everyday
in schools of education about school administration. basis.
Baltimore, MD: Scarecrow.
Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks.
This is a practical volume that outlines the unspoken London, England: Lawrence and Wishart.
rules of change management for school leaders.
This important work outlines the notion of hegemony
Blau, P. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. and explains how society is manipulated by groups of
New York, NY: Wiley. people and politics.
This classic work explores power relationships in society. Harvey, J. (1988). The Abilene Paradox and other
Butler, J. (1997). Excitable speech: A politics of the meditations on management. Lexington, MA:
performative. New York, NY: Routledge. Lexington Books.
A critical text that uses easy to read narrative to explain
This book explains and quantifies specific kinds of words
how groups of people subvert charges of leadership
and explains how they shape meaning in conversations.
behind the scenes and contribute to dysfunction in an
Counts, G. (1932). Dare the school build a new social organization.
order? Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Iannocone, L., & Lutz, R. (1970). Politics, power, and
This classic book is one of the touchstones in the profession policy: The governing of local school districts.
of education and explores schools role in a society. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.
Debray, E. (2006). Politics, ideology, and education. A classic book that was the first to coin the term micro
New York, NY: Teachers College Press. politics and is a foundational text on how school
districts are governed.
This book looks at the intersections of idealism and
education and how they play out in social politics. Lyman, L., Ashby, D., & Tripses, J. (2005). Leaders who
dare: Pushing the boundaries. Landham, MD:
Derrida, J. (1982). Of grammatology. Baltimore, MD:
Rowman & Littlefield.
Johns Hopkins University Press.
This book examines women in school leadership
This book is a seminal work by one of the most prolific
positions in Chicago and explains how they used
philosophers in the postmodern movement of the
networks in their leadership contributions.
20th century. It explores how language and words are
used to change understanding of reality and reinforce, Sacks, H. (1985). On doing being ordinary. In J. Maxwell
create, or interrupt power structures. Atkinson & John Heritage (Eds), Structures of social
3. Understanding How the Bureaucratic Maze Works51

action: Studies in conversation analysis. New York, This book concisely explains how large global policies
NY: Cambridge University Press. and economics affect schools and school systems in the
This lecture is a seminal discussion of how people United States.
trivialize events in their day-to-day lives that in Tooms, A. K., Lugg, C., & Bogotch, I. (2010). School
truth are not trivial and have great effect on social leadership and the politics of fit. Educational
systems. Administration Quarterly, 46(1), 96131.
Spring, J. (1993). Conflict of interest: The politics of This article demonstrates in specific detail the politics
American education. New York, NY: Longman. related to fit in education.


Models of Effective Teaching

Northern Arizona University

here are great teachers, good teachers, and what Jupiter really looks like? Yes, I said. All those
certainly some duds in the field of education, colors and everything? Thats what it looks like,
I said as I secretly patted myself on the back for being
but what makes them so? Most teachers enter
such a good teacher. Then, Lynette looked up at me and
the field because they care about children, and they said, Miss ONeal, is Jupiter a city or a state? So
are excited to inspire the minds of their future much for being a great teacher.
students. Some, maybe, enter the field because they
think it will be an easy job with summers off. Most Most teachers enter the field of education thinking
have good intentions to educate and impact the lives that teaching is about teaching, and while that is true
of children. This chapter includes several scenarios to some degree, there is certainly much more to it
showing the challenges teachers face. All of the than that. This chapter examines the components of
scenarios describe actual events, but all names have being an effective teacher, including classroom
been changed to pseudonyms. In the first scenario, management, teaching strategies, building family
Miss ONeal conveys a story from her student partnerships, and reflective teaching. Educational
teaching: leaders can use this information as a guide to support
teachers as they grow as professionals.
When I did my student teaching, I was enthusiastic and
wanted to be the most effective teacher in the world!
I remember planning a unit about space for my second Classroom Management
graders. I went to a nearby geological survey office to
get the most recent photos of planets taken by a NASA
space probe. I created a beautiful bulletin board and
Managing the classroom environment is one of the
engaged my students in hands-on projects, including most important things a teacher can do. After all, an
making solar system models out of salt dough. I was unruly classroom is not going to be conducive to
doing amazing things, or so I thought. A little girl learning. Kristin L. Sayeski and Monica R. Brown
named Lynette was in that class, and Lynette was an (2011) point out that poor classroom management
apathetic learner. Nothing much seemed to capture her
results in lost instructional time, feelings of
interest. So, when I found Lynette looking intently at
the planet photos on the bulletin board I thought, Aha! inadequacy, and stress (p. 8). So in order to maximize
I have finally gotten through to her. I walked over and student learning and minimize teacher stress,
stood beside her. Lynette asked, Miss ONeal, is that classroom management is imperative. Teachers often


think of this as discipline, but there are many things goal for all teachers and educational policymakers.
that can be done to structure the environment so In such a climate, we can best meet individual needs,
behavior problems are reduced. Management is key. impart knowledge, and encourage the development
Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong (2009) state, of moral people (p. 777). She goes on to say, A
climate of care and trust is one in which most people
Classroom management consists of the practices and
will want to do the right thing, will want to be good
procedures that a teacher uses to maintain an
environment in which instruction and learning can (p. 777). For these reasons, quality relationships
occur. For this to happen, the teacher must create a between teachers and students are a strong piece of
well-ordered environment. Discipline has very little to the foundation for effective classroom management.
do with classroom management. You dont discipline a
store; you manage it. The same is true of a classroom.
(pp. 1112) Create Fun Experiences

It can be difficult for effective teachers to identify A fun and stimulating classroom environment is
the specific strategies they use that make them another element that builds a strong foundation for
successful classroom managers. Most realized that classroom management. This doesnt mean that
they were not successful at the beginning. In fact, every teacher needs to be wacky or put on a show in
many teachers remember their first group of students order to be effective, but rather that the teacher can
as the worst behaved classes they have had. In reality, have a little fun and still maximize learning. Students
it is the lack of strategies that lead to ineffectiveness. spend several hours a day in school and these hours
For this reason, an underlying foundation or should be pleasurable as well as productive. Former
philosophy of classroom management is important. high school teacher, Jonathan C. Erwin (2005),
This section details four specific areas that lead to claims in his article, Put the Fun in Classrooms,
successful classroom managementrelationship, That old adage, All work and no play makes
fun, support, and consistency. Johnny a dull boy needs amending: It also creates
the conditions for him to be absent, shut down, give
Develop Relationships up, or disrupt (p. 16). Keep in mind that children
need to understand the limits of having fun in the
Children need to feel valued in the classroom, classroom. Spontaneous activities can bring about
which is why this section starts with addressing disorder, so the teacher must establish boundaries
relationships. In their article, The Key to Classroom even in the midst of novel experiences so as not to
Management, Robert J. Marzano and Jana S. distract students from learning. That said, adding
Marzano (2003) emphasize the importance of quality fun, humor, and interest to the classroom is a great
relationships between teachers and students. They way to minimize behavior problems and capture stu-
cite these relationships as the keystone for all other dents attention.
aspects of classroom management (p. 6). Think
about it. If there are people in your life who you dont Offer Support
particularly care for, youre probably not terribly
motivated to please them. On the other hand, we tend The next foundational element for effective class-
not to want to disappoint those people we love. When room management is support. This means supporting
caring relationships are established between the students behavior by showing them and practicing
teacher and students, there is a level of respect that with them what they should do instead of punishing
develops and that leads to an overall cohesiveness in them for what they shouldnt do. Adults tell children
the classroom. Alfie Kohn reported in a 2005 what to do all the time, and children learn to ignore
interview, Children need to feel loved and valued them. Its important that adults stop talking at
even when they arent succeeding or behaving. When children and start talking and working with them.
kids dont feel trusted and accepted, behavior Many researchers agree that teachers need to make
problems become worse (Bryner, 2005, p. 20). clear their expectations for student behavior and that
Furthermore, Nel Noddings (2012) states, A climate if they do this, students are more likely to meet those
in which caring relations can flourish should be a expectations. Teachers should establish a delicate
4. What Makes a Good Teacher?57

balance between structure and cooperation, combined It is often thought that students should just know
with an understanding of individual student needs. what to do, when in reality, they often dont know.
This results in a positive and effective classroom They might know what they should not do, but they
environment. Its about teaching children what they dont know what to do instead. The effective teacher
should do and then reinforcing these behaviors over does not constantly harp on the children, telling them
and over again. over and over what they are doing wrong. Instead, he
In their book, The First Days of School, Harry K. or she supports themteaches themwhat they
Wong and Rosemary T. Wong (2009) emphasize the should do and how they should behave.
need for teaching procedures for the classroom that
will become well-practiced routines. For example, a Focus on Consistency
teacher might become upset when students enter the
classroom in a noisy and out-of-control way. He or Consistency is the last element to address for
she might scold or yell at them to try to get them to classroom management. The effective teacher is
quiet down. While the students may quiet down consistent with expectations. Expectations are
(or not), typically they will do the same thing day reinforced all the time, not just when its convenient
after day, causing great frustration for the teacher. or only with children who get in trouble a lot.
The better thing to do is to teach the students a Children notice when a teachers expectations are not
procedure for entering the classroom. For example, consistent for all students, which can be frustrating
the teacher might tell the students that they are to for those who may struggle with controlling their
come in the room quietly, put away their backpacks, behavior. Pre-service teachers will often state an
and begin working on an assignment that is written expectation to students, wait until most of them are
on the board. The teacher would then have the students doing it, and then move on. So, the new teacher
practice this procedure several times. If the students might say, I need everyone to look up here at me.
do not follow it on a particular day, the teacher does She waits until all but two children in the back are
not need to scold them, but rather remind them of the looking and then begins the lesson. This communicates
procedure and practice it again. With enough practice to the children that she does not mean what she says,
and reinforcement, the procedure becomes a routine. and the two children in the back continue to misbehave
One of the most common things observed among and will likely have increased behavior issues or lack
pre-service teachers is that they try to continue of attention as the lesson progresses. The effective
teaching even when children are not paying attention teacher waits until every single student follows the
or when they are misbehaving. They seem to think stated expectation before she proceeds.
that stopping a lesson to address behavior makes for New or ineffective teachers often make idle
a failed lesson. The truth is quite the opposite. threats to try to make students behave. These are
Effective teachers address student behavior all the often born out of frustration. Mr. Thompson recalls
time. Before beginning a lesson, an effective teacher such an experience during his first year of teaching.
might speak to the children about how they should sit
I remember during my first year of teaching, I threat-
during a lessonwhat they should do with their ened to cancel the Valentine party if the students didnt
hands and feet and what they should do if they want do what I had asked. Well, they didnt do what I asked.
to speak. The teacher might ask students to So what was I to do? I knew I was never going to cancel
demonstrate these behaviors. During the lesson, a the party. Parents would have been furious with me. So,
teacher will likely notice a student or two not meeting I had to figure out a way to have them earn it back.
What was the most important lesson I learned from
those expectations, in which case, he or she would this? Dont make threats, and dont say something you
pause the lesson to address them, Remember what cant follow through on.
we said we would do with our hands during the
lesson? Im noticing a few people who are not doing The students of effective teachers know that
that right now. Lets practice keeping our hands to expectations are for all of the students, and that their
ourselves as we continue. By addressing procedures teacher will be consistent in upholding those expec-
and not being afraid to stop a lesson to discuss tations. This is not always easy, and not something
expectations, potential problems can be reduced. teachers learn in the first few years and never have to

think about again. Teachers often find that consistency learning. The strategies teachers use when actually
is something they struggle with throughout their teaching lessons are extremely important and part of
careers, as illustrated by a story Mrs. Kay tells of a what separate effective teachers from average
second-grade class during her 12th year of teaching. teachers. While there are numerous strategies that
can be employed in a classroom, too many to address
Every day at 10:00 we would go to recess. The students in detail in a single chapter, there are things to keep
would get their snacks (which they ate outside before
in mind when planning for instruction.
playing) and stood in line by the door. Each day,
I would say, As soon as youre quiet, well go out to
recess. At one point in the year, I found myself saying Interactive Learning
that an awful lot. The kids would get their snacks and
line up and then stand there and talk. As soon as youre Children benefit from interactive learning
quiet, well go out to recess. Okay, Im waiting. As soon experiences. Effective teachers develop student learn-
as youre quiet, well go out to recess. One day, as
I continued to harp on them about being quiet, I said to
ing through interactive instruction. Effective teachers
myself, I wonder how long theyll stand there and just increase students accomplishments by facilitating
keep talking? I waited. I waited some more. Then active learning (Dibapile, 2012, p. 81). Lev Vygotskys
I went over to my computer and began to work on some sociocultural theory (1981), in particular, focuses on
things. The kids continued to talk. I continued to work. the acquisition of mental functions through social
Finally, I looked at my watch. It was 10:15 and recess
interaction. He emphasized the social and cultural
was over. So, I said the students, Okay, recess is over.
Put your snacks away and go back to your seats. The factors involved in development and learning. While
room became absolutely silent. A few of the children Vygotsky is categorized as a constructivist, his ideas
smiled and chuckled, Shes just being silly, right? did not just address the childs need to construct
I repeated, Its 10:15 and recess is over. Put your meaning, but rather he added that social interaction is
snacks away and go sit down. And tomorrow, if you of great importance in that process. He claimed that in
would like to stand in line for fifteen minutes, holding
your snacks, we can do it again. Its your choice. Do
order for children to internalize new knowledge, they
you know I never had a problem with that again? I had need involvement in social activities. Much research
reinforced to my students over time that I didnt mean highlights the effectiveness of interaction between
what I said. They knew that I would take them outside peers. Children bring different perspectives to learning
to recess whether they were quiet or not. It was not until experiences, which brings about increased cognitive
I was consistent with my expectation that their behavior
development. When looking at childrens success in
school, it is important to look at the factors that lead to
Relationship, fun, support, consistencythose this success. Vygotsky (1981), John Dewey
four elements create a solid philosophy for classroom (1916/1966), and Jean Piaget and Barbel Inhelder
management. Teachers usually have behavior sys- (1969), suggest that social interactions and intellectual
tems in their classroomsprograms with rewards development cannot be separated and that children
and consequences. Those are fine, but without end up with higher levels of understanding and
relationship and support, without consistency and a cognitive development when social interaction is part
little bit of fun, those systems usually dont work of the learning process.
very well. Some children just dont care about Piagets (1985) theory of cognitive development
earning a sticker, but they do care about being emphasizes the continual drive children have to
valued. The philosophy a teacher holds and the way match their views of the world to the realities they
it is implemented in the classroom makes all the encounter in the world. They assimilate and
difference. accommodate, meaning they rework and revise their
understandings as they encounter problems. Peers
and adults, along with the social setting, are important
Teaching Strategies influences in the environment and bring about
cognitive development. The more actively involved
Once a classroom environment is established for children are with people and things in their world, the
optimal learning, it is important to focus on the kinds more quickly they will assimilate new learning and
of teaching strategies that best facilitate student accommodate their own incorrect views of the world
4. What Makes a Good Teacher?59

(Prior & Gerard, 2006, p. 3). Dewey also stressed the (InTASC, 2013) provides standards for ongoing
importance of learning through experience, development in teaching. InTASC Standard 8 empha-
emphasizing learning that interests, stimulates, and sizes instructional strategies stating, The teacher
engages the student. Along with Piaget and Vygotsky, understands and uses a variety of instructional
Dewey recognized that educational experiences are strategies to encourage learners to develop deep
interwoven with social experiences. Learning understanding of content areas and their
experiences become interesting and personally connections, and to build skills to apply knowl-
captivating when they involve others. The effective edge in meaningful ways. One way to create mean-
teacher considers ways to combine instruction with ingful connections in the classroom is through
social interaction to maximize learning. subject integration. Dewey addresses the impor-
tance of tapping into student interest. Effective
Integrated Instruction teachers focus on areas of interest and weave in
different subject areas. For example, a second-
Children benefit from integrated instruction. The grade teacher using Judi Barretts Cloudy With a
Interstate Teacher Assessment Support Consortium Chance of Meatballs for teaching reading skills

Sidebar 4.1 Teaching Strategies and the Common Core

The Common Core State Standards address the knowledge and skills children should attain through their K-12
education. As teachers implement the standards, they should keep in mind the effective teaching strategies of
interactive learning, integrated instruction, adult input, and differentiated instruction. The following are key points
to consider related to the English language arts and mathematics standards addressed in the Common Core.

The reading standards emphasize increasing complexity of text levels and students levels of comprehension.
Students are encouraged to read and interact with both literature and informational texts.

Students need to develop the ability to write narrative, persuasive, and informational works.
Students learn to conduct research as part of the writing process.

Students are required to develop speaking and listening skills and participate in small- and large-group academic
Students also learn to present ideas through various forms of media.

The importance of vocabulary development is emphasized and encouraged through reading and conversation as
well as through direct instruction.
Vocabulary and conventions should be taught through reading, writing, listening, and speaking, rather than in

Emphasis should be placed on procedures, but also on conceptual understanding.
Students develop foundational concepts, which are built upon throughout K-12 with the intention of preparing
them for college and future careers.

SOURCES: Common Core Standards Initiative (2012a, 2012b).


could extend the idea of the books genre into learn- happen if you tried. . . . The lightbulb flashes on,
ing about and writing tall tales. Then, after reading and the students are back to their exploration with
about the rather strange weather conditions new inspiration and excitement.
described in the literature selection, the students
could learn about real weather patterns as part of a Differentiated Instruction
science lesson. By participating in this unit, stu-
dents are able to make connections to the theme Differentiated instruction is another area to consider
across subject areas throughout the day, and the when planning for instructional experiences. Often
transition from one subject to the next is seamless people tend to think of differentiated instruction as
as the theme weaves all curricular areas together. In ability grouping or tracking students. While adapting
their book Meeting Standards Through Integrated instruction to meet the needs of all students, this is
Curriculum, Susan M. Drake and Rebecca C. Burns not just another term for ability grouping, which can
(2004) state that integrated curriculum serves as a serve to be a damaging practice, causing children to
bridge to meaningful and relevant learning experi- lose confidence and forever lag behind their peers.
ences, resulting in increased student achievement. Differentiated instruction encourages the teacher to
Integration can connect numerous subject areas or recognize the varying levels of the studentswho
just a few. By learning from an integrated needs specific attention and who needs more of a
curriculum, students see the connection between challenge.
subjects and focus on one integrated theme through- In thinking about ways to provide instruction that
out the day. caters to students needs, it is cautioned not to fall
into the ability-grouping trap. For example, three
Adult Input first graders with advanced reading skills would
quite naturally fall into the high group (in a class-
Children benefit from adult input in learning. room using ability grouping). Anna and Keith read
While interactive learning and experiences are on a fifth-grade level. While both read books on a
important, this does not discount the role of direct similar level, Annas understanding of concepts and
instruction. Effective teachers understand that direct curiosity about the nuances of the story far exceed
instruction is necessary in some instances and can Keiths. Keith is a typical first grader with interests
lead to opportunities for further intellectual that most 6-year-olds have. So even though he is an
development. From this point of view, instruction advanced reader, he needs topics that are interesting
cannot be identified as development, but properly to a boy of his age. The third student is Dana, who
organized instruction will result in the childs according to her parents taught herself to read and
intellectual development, will bring into being an reads at a third- or fourth-grade level. The interesting
entire series of such developmental processes, which thing about Dana is that, even though she can read
were not at all possible without instruction quite well, she lacks phonic knowledge in many areas
(Vygotsky, 1978, p. 121). and often finds herself stuck on a word with no
Vygotsky (1978) describes the zone of proximal word-attack skills to decode it. In a classroom with
development as the distance between the actual ability grouping, these three would have be in a
developmental level as determined by independent group togetherthe high groupbecause they are
problem solving and the level of potential all reading above grade level. But really these three
development as determined through problem solving children are not equally matched for a group. No two
under adult guidance or in collaboration with more children learn in the same way. So putting Anna,
capable peers (p. 86). This interaction and scaffold- Keith, and Dana in a group together for reading
ing between student and adult help the child to grow instruction would be making the assumption that
more than he or she might if working alone. A they all have similar needs, which they clearly do not.
teacher can do this easily by circulating the room as They are not all high in the same way, just as other
students work in groups. A group might get to a students in the class are not all low or medium in
point of frustration and feel stuck. The teacher then the same way. Mixing up ability levels in instructional
simply drops a breadcrumb, I wonder what would groups forces the teacher to see each child as an
4. What Makes a Good Teacher?61

individual and provide additional guidance and it underscores a fundamental principle for sociocultural
challenges to the students as it is necessary. All too pedagogical perspectivesthe recognition of childrens
learning processes before children come to school and
often what happens in a low reading group is that
of the ongoing learning outside school. Vygtosky
so much attention is focused on the basics that the claimed that any learning a child encounters in school
teacher dumbs down the thinking level of instruction has a previous history. (Mahn, 1999, p. 347)
as well. Just because a child reads slowly, has
difficulty decoding, or is learning a second lan- Urie Bronfenbrenners (1995) ecological systems
guage, does not mean he or she is unable to think at theory addresses the spheres of influence that impact
a higher level. For example, a third-grade boy who a childs developmentthe microsystem, the
has trouble with reading and has a documented mesosystem, the exosystem, and the macrosystem.
learning disability might be fascinated with air- These spheres are shown in Figure 4.1. Children are
planes and aerodynamics. He can discuss high-level most closely impacted by their interactions with
concepts and has a strong desire to learn. It is impor- family members. They are then influenced by their
tant to meet his reading skill needs, while not neighborhoods and schools. More distantly, children
squelching his curiosity. Simply because he has dif- are influenced by media, a parents work environment,
ficulty reading a word like aerodynamics is not a and friends of the family. Bronfenbrenner notes the
reason not to talk and learn about it. Mixed-ability reciprocal relationship between the child and these
grouping encourages the teacher to maintain a high spheres of influence. For example, the child impacts
level of critical thinking while offering differentiated the family and the family impacts the child. The child
instruction as needed. influences the school and the school influences the
There are numerous strategies for effective child. When thinking about the importance of
teaching. Interactive learning, integrated instruction, building partnerships with families, it is necessary to
direct instruction, and differentiated instruction are think about all the things that impact children outside
only a few. Effective teachers will want to consider of school.
other strategies and theories about how to teach effec- The microsystem is the layer that most closely
tively. The important thing is to consider the needs affects and includes the child. The child is impacted
and interests of all students, and design instruction by his or her family and friends. The child likely
and instructional means that address these needs. encounters areas of the neighborhood, health services,
church, and at a certain age, school. These are all in
the childs immediate surroundings. The microsystem
Building Family Partnerships is where the child experiences face-to-face interaction
with people and institutions. There exists a reciprocal
When thinking about effective teachers, family relationship where the child is not only influenced
involvement may not be the first topic that comes to but also has influence on these people and places. For
mind, but a focus on families and their role in chil- example, the childs family affects the growth and
drens education has been shown to bring about great development of the child, and in return, the child has
benefits for children. Family involvement is more influence on his or her family. Institutions within the
than just asking parents to help out in the classroom. microsystem are also affected by one another. Family
Its about building partnerships with families so both members are influenced by interactions with the
the home environment and the school experience are school and events that take place at the school, and
working together to support childrens academic and the school is influenced by families and the
social development. While many teacher preparation neighborhood community. All of these people and
programs place little emphasis on family involvement, settings interact with one another.
this is not a new idea. In fact, in the past 50 years or The exosystem is comprised of people, places, and
more, researchers have emphasized its importance. institutions that more indirectly impact the childs life.
The sociocultural theory, for example, emphasizes These include members of the extended family,
the interrelatedness and interdependence of individual friends of the family, people in the surrounding neigh-
and social processes in development and learning. borhood, the parents workplace, media, and institu-
This relates back to the home because tions in the community offering social services. While


Laws Morals

Microsystem School

Parents Child and
Parents Family
workplace friends

Values Customs

Figure 4.1 Ecological Systems Theory

SOURCE: Jennifer Prior, based on Urie Bronfenbrenners (1995) ecological systems theory.

these do not directly touch the child on a daily basis, worldviews all make up the macrosystem. These may
they have an impact on the childs life. A parents not impact the childs immediate world, but they have
workplace, for example, has an indirect influence on great impact on the family and community in which
the child. A parent whose work environment is he or she lives. Values of a particular society certainly
positive and whose earnings adequately support the affect parenting styles or work habits, for example,
family is likely to come home with a positive attitude. which have a direct effect on the childs upbringing.
On the other hand, a work environment that is stressful This broad perspective of the ecological systems
might cause a parent to bring negative attitudes into theory of child development relates to family involve-
the home, which is likely to influence the overall ment and building partnerships with parents in edu-
environment in a negative way. cation. The school experience involves an interrelated
The mesosystem connects the microsystem and system that includes not just the teacher and the child
exosystem. This system is not made up of people and but also the family and the surrounding community.
institutions, but rather consists of the connections In more recent years, research has revealed the
between two or more settings in which the child benefits of family involvement on childrens aca-
actively participates. For example, the childs demic success. Suzanne Carter (2002) investigated
relationships with family members in the home, 70 studies of parent involvement programs and found
friends and teachers at school, and peers and families several common themes:
in the neighborhood make up the mesosystem. In
order for a childs development to be enhanced, Parents who are involved in their childrens education
positive connections between these layers must exist. tend to have children who are more successful in
The macrosystem is the final layer of ecological
systems. This layer includes attitudes and ideologies Regardless of ethnicity, cultural background, or
of the culture. Laws, morals, values, customs, and socioeconomic status, the achievement gap is
4. What Makes a Good Teacher?63

minimized for children whose families are involved in Making a Plan for Family Involvement
their education.

For young children, family involvement in education Effective teachers plan for family involvement in a
makes the school experience less frightening. variety of ways. They make personal connections,
communicate regularly, provide ideas for involve-
Math and literacy skills tend to improve when families ment in the home environment, create a welcoming
are involved in the academic process. environment, and prepare for parent conferences.
Overall student achievement and school improvement Lets take a closer look at some of these.
happens when parents work together with schools.
Personal Connections
Anne T. Henderson and Nancy Berla (1994)
identified four areas of change that happen as a Communication is the foundation of successful
result of parent involvementincreased student family involvement programs. For this reason, it is
achievement, improved student attitudes, improved important to communicate to families who you are
attendance, and a decrease in discipline problems. as a person. A letter sent home at the beginning of
Family involvement brings about long-term effects the year might communicate to parents that the
that benefit children throughout the span of their teacher has two dogs, loves skiing, and likes to paint
school experience. It is also noted that there is in his or her free time. By telling parents a few things
increased communication and a greater about his or her life, the teacher may find things in
understanding of their responsibility in childrens common with them, which will lead to future
success in school. conversations, opening the doors of partnership and
Family involvement also brings about benefits for trust.
parents as well as for teachers. Joyce L. Epstein
(2000) found that teachers who formed partnerships
with families had a greater understanding of the
Regular Communication
family culture and gained appreciation for the value Most schools have some form of a back-to-school
of parents in the academic process. Epstein also night at the beginning of the school year. This is a
reports a higher level of confidence with parenting great time for the teacher to tell parents about his or
among those who involve themselves with their her philosophy of education, classroom expectations,
childrens education. and particular things children will learn during the
Ms. Ansel reports her feelings about interacting year. The teacher should let parents know how and
with parents as a new teacher: how often to expect communication and provide
information for how they can best reciprocate this
When I first began teaching, it didnt occur to me that I communication.
would have a lot of involvement with families. In fact,
The weekly newsletter, as shown in Figure 4.2, is
I was scared to death of them. I avoided them whenever
I could. I was 21, so maybe I was a little nave, but what an outstanding way to connect with parents regularly.
I found was that the more I avoided, the more they Some teachers send a newsletter at the end of the
wanted to talk to me. Most parents just want to know week, while some send it at the beginning. The
what their children are learning in school and how they teacher can use weekly newsletters as a means of
are doing, academically. My avoidance of interaction sending reminders of upcoming events, notifying
merely caused parents to be more concerned. Within
the first few years, I began to warm up to parents, mak-
parents of weekly homework assignments, and letting
ing efforts to chat with them informally after school. them know what their children will be learning in the
This simple effort at communication made a world of days to come. Teachers can provide questions parents
difference and helped to build trusting relationships. I can ask their children about specific learning
later began sending home a weekly newsletter, letting experiences in order to facilitate conversation at
parents know what we would be learning that week.
home. When parents know that communication will
This small and regular form of communication had an
incredible impact on the trust level parents had with be sent home consistently, they look for it, read it,
me. They didnt worry about what was happening at and ask their children about specific things theyre
school because they were informed. learning. The key is to be consistent.

Parent phone calls are another effective means of many years and was nervous about her sons
communication. It is helpful to call every parent first-grade experience. She overwhelmed her sons
within the first week or two of the school year. If teacher with questions at a meet-the-teacher night,
there is a particularly difficult child in class, make wanting to know her philosophy of education, her
the call before issues arise. The first phone call beliefs about teaching reading, and how she planned
should be positive and communicate how well the to challenge him. These were questions the teacher
child is doing in class. Leaving time for parent could not answer with the limited time and numerous
questions is helpful as well. Mrs. Gomez was the distractions in the classroom. So a few days later, the
parent of a first grader. She had been a teacher for first-grade teacher gave her a call. Mrs. Gomez,
she said, I know youre not going to rest easy until
your questions are answered. So fire away. The two
Weekly News
talked for a while about their teaching philosophies,
Announcements Math the boys learning needs, the teachers beliefs about
Picture day is on Thursday! In math we will continue teaching reading. They spent the next hour just
learning to subtract two-digit talking about life. Mrs. Gomez became one of the
Dont forget to send in your numbers with regrouping.
childs permission slip for greatest advocates for her sons first-grade teacher
next weeks field trip. and a wonderful support to the classroom community
for the rest of the year. Remember that most parents
Reading/Writing Homework
anticipate that a phone call from the teacher is going
This week we will read Judi 1. Read to your child each day. to be negative, so a positive first call lays the
Barretts book, Cloudy With a 2. Have a family discussion
Chance of Meatballs. We will about the uses of math in foundation for a positive partnership.
learn about contractions and your home.
learn to write tall tale stories.
Encouraging Involvement at Home
Science Donations
Teachers often provide opportunities for parents to
We will begin a unit about Next week we will make a
weather. The children will project with salt dough. If you volunteer in the classroom, and while this can be
learn to use thermometers have any salt or flour you helpful, research shows that the greatest benefits of
and make predictions about could donate, please send
the weather. Ask your child it in!
parent involvement happen as a result of what parents
about the visit from a local do with their children in the home. David B. Yaden,
weatherman on Wednesday. Deborah W. Rowe, and Laurie MacGillivray (2000)
cite an increase in literacy skills among children
Figure 4.2 Sample Parent Newsletter whose families participate in literacy activities with

Sidebar 4.2 Working With Divorced Parents

Parent-teacher partnerships are often complicated when a childs parents are divorced. This can create an uncomfort-
able situation for the teacher, the parents, and the child. If the noncustodial parent has permission to be involved in
the childs life, the teacher can use the following tips for helping with his or her involvement:

1. Reserve judgment about the family situation.

2. Offer to mail newsletters and other school communication on a weekly basis.
3. Offer to schedule separate parent/teacher conferences.
4. Engage both parents equally in conversations about the childs progress.
5. Avoid negative conversations about the parent who is not present.
6. Keep your focus on supporting the child.

SOURCE: Adapted from Prior and Gerard (2006).

4. What Makes a Good Teacher?65

them in the home. Jones (2001) states, While school markers, pencils, paper, and other necessary
officials are enthusiastic about recruiting parents as mathematics supplies, an inventory of supplies, an
volunteers, they should be aware that the informational letter to parents, and a journal. Children
cookie-baking, word-processing, candy-selling, took turns taking the backpacks home and were
paper-shuffling, showing-up activities traditionally permitted to keep them for a few days. The purpose
associated with parent involvement are not likely to was for parents and children to work together to
have much impact on student achievement (p. 37). complete a math-related activity and then report their
Jones emphasizes, rather, that it is the interaction experiences in the journal. Orman explains that the
between parent and child in the home that makes the use of these backpack activities helps connect parents
most difference. So, effective teachers communicate with school activities and provides them with
to parents about the value of their involvement and engaging and interactive experiences with their
the kinds of things they can do at home. A teacher children. For students who are older, the teacher can
might send home a backpack activity that parents and send home a set of instructions for a game, experiment,
children complete together. For older students, the or interactive discussion between parent and child.
teacher might encourage family participation in Letters to parents suggesting general ideas for
conducting a simple science experiment or discuss a involvement in the home can be used as well.
news program they watch on television. A teacher
might include a family involvement suggestion
Create a Welcoming Environment
in the newsletter each week or send home a monthly
list of suggested activities. In her article Mathe- The way a classroom is set up creates an
matics Backpacks: Making the Home-School Con- environment that welcomes students and their families.
nection, Sheryl Orman (1993) reports the use of The room should be decorated in a way that is com-
school-to-home math backpacks as a way to connect fortable, uncluttered, and allows for easy movement
with parents. Each backpack she created contained throughout the space. It is important to communicate

Sidebar 4.3 Sample Parent/Child Activity

Show a parent a letter with the following text:

Dear Parent,

A fun way to follow-up the reading of a story is to interact with your child in different ways. Talk about two of the
characters in the story. Discuss their personalities and the things that happened to them in the story. Then draw your
childs attention to the setting of the story. Was the setting realistic? Was it make-believe? Re-create the setting one
of the following ways:

Draw a picture of the setting.

Use clay or dough (see recipe below) to create different objects in the storys setting.
Pour a layer of salt or sugar in the bottom of a cake pan. Use your finger to draw objects from the story.

Salt Dough Recipe

1 cup of flour
cup of salt
1 cup of water

Mix ingredients together to make pliable dough. Add more flour or water, if necessary, to create desired

through the environment that you are happy to have Then communicate with the parent in the coming
children and parents in the classroom. Be careful not weeks to show you have given thought to the
to have too much on the walls as this gives the discussion and how you have addressed some of the
classroom a cluttered feel that is not conducive to concerns or goals. This expresses to the parent that
learning. Also, leave space to display students you care about the child and that his or her input in
projects. They should feel that this is their classroom the parent/teacher partnership is valuable.
and that they have valuable things to contribute to the The benefits of family involvement are
overall appearance of the classroom. Manipulatives far-reaching, but it is the teachers responsibility to
and materials should be stored in cabinets or on work closely with families and work to build effective
shelves in a neat and organized way. If materials from partnerships. Teachers can also encourage natural
previous teachers have been left behind, neatly store and meaningful engagement between parents and
the things you think you will use and give the rest children in the home. There is nothing a teacher can
away to other teachers in the school. You might even do to force families to actively participate in their
consider giving students some of the unneeded childrens educational development, but he or she can
materials if they do not belong to the school. Label try to make family involvement opportunities
seating areas with students names so parents and appealing and fun (Prior, 2011).
students can immediately sense that you are ready to
include them as part of the classroom community.
Reflective Teaching
Parent/Family Conferences
Being a reflective practitioner involves stepping back
It is important to communicate to parents that from what we do to examine why we do it. So often
your goal is to develop partnerships with them for the the job of a teacher is about accomplishing tasks and
benefit of their childrens overall success in school. allows little time for reflection, yet reflecting on
When parents come to meet with you, schedule practice is becoming more of a focus for effective
enough time to engage in a quality discussion. Be teachers. The InTASC standards, in particular, place
prepared to speak about the childs progress in your a strong emphasis on teacher reflection, encouraging
class and how he or she is doing and offer anecdotes teachers to keep journals reflecting on personal
of the childs interactions with peers and successes in biases, childrens responses to instruction, the
particular subject areas. In addition, encourage a decisions made about teaching, and how to improve
two-way conversation, allowing the parent to ask practice. In his book, The Reflective Practitioner
questions and address concerns. Create a seating (1983), Donald Schon emphasizes the importance of
arrangement that is comfortable and engaging. reflection and states that in the reflective process
Consider placing some adult-sized chairs around a
table rather than sitting behind a desk, which will the practitioner allows himself to experience surprise,
create a physical barrier that is not conducive to puzzlement, or confusion in a situation which he finds
relationship building. Be prepared to show student uncertain or unique. He reflects on the phenomena
before him, and on the prior understandings which have
work samples from various points of the school year
been implicit in his behavior. He carries out an experi-
to give an indication of the childs progress over time. ment which serves to generate both a new understanding
Indicate expected milestones of academic progress of the phenomena and a change in the situation. (p. 68)
and how the child has moved from one milestone to
the next, rather than merely making comparisons Schon (1983) comments on the shift in our
between the child and his or her peers. Invite the thinking as practitioners when engaging in reflection
parent to share the progress seen at home, both and how a teacher must expand the scope of her
academically and socially, and encourage the parent interest in students. What they know how to do in the
to express goals he or she has for the child. Be sure world outside the school becomes deeply interesting
to allow time for the parent to address questions and to her, for it suggests the intuitive competences on
concerns, and make note of these in the parents which she can build (p. 333). The understanding of
presence to show that you value the parents input. students prior knowledge can be better understood
4. What Makes a Good Teacher?67

when engaging in reflection about what students Standard 4: Content KnowledgeWhy do I create a
know and what they are ready to learn. learning environment that scaffolds instruction?
Standard 6: AssessmentWhy do I challenge learners
Tools for Reflection to become more aware of connecting their learning
across the curriculum areas?
In their book, Teachers as Curriculum Planners:
Standard 6: AssessmentWhy do I teach learners to
Narratives of Experience, F. Michael Connelly and build their skills in self-reflection?
D. Jean Clandinin (1988) describe tools teachers can
use for engaging in reflection. The first involves Standard 7: Planning for InstructionWhy do I
keeping a journal. It is important to note that a journal reflect on instructional successes and challenges?
of this kind should not be an evaluative tool for judging Standard 7: Planning for InstructionWhy do I analyze
the teaching of lessons. Rather, a reflective journal is instructional data and learners strengths and needs?
used to record what the teacher does, why particular Standard 8: Instructional StrategiesWhy do I build
decisions are made, and what is noticed about students upon learners strengths, interests, and needs when
and for wrestling with experiences that are confusing establishing expectations and setting learning outcomes?
or surprising. Connelly and Clandinin also describe
Standard 9: Professional Learning and Ethical
the idea of writing a personal autobiography about
PracticeWhy do I accept personal responsibility for
ones journey to and practice in teaching, allowing the
student learning?
teacher to understand himself or herself as a teacher.
They also suggest ideas for reflecting with others Standard 9: Professional Learning and Ethical
through written dialogue with colleagues or more PracticeWhy do I commit to reflecting on
formal interviews between teachers. While there are instruction and student learning daily?
many ways to participate in reflection, the point is to Standard 9: Professional Learning and Ethical
take a step back and think about teaching and students PracticeWhy do I create an environment that
in a different waya more thoughtful way. enhances students life experiences, prior knowledge,
The Standards Continuum Guide for Reflective and interests?
Teaching Practice (Arizona K12 Center, 2011) is a Standard 10: Leadership and CollaborationWhy do
publication created by the Arizona K12 Center and is I value family backgrounds and their role in student
based on the InTASC Standards. The guide learning?
encourages reflection about the performances,
essential knowledge, and critical dispositions related The effective teacher thoughtfully considers his or
to teaching. While teachers may choose to reflect on her students and all aspects and decisions involved in
their practice in many different ways, some of the the teaching process and classroom environment.
reflective prompts from the guide are listed here: These reflections assist the teacher in adapting
curriculum, teaching strategies, and the physical
Standard 1: Learner DevelopmentWhy do I vary my environment in order to bring about the best possible
teaching methods? educational experience for children.
Standards 2: Learning DifferencesWhy do I create
opportunities for all learners to communicate and
work with one another? Conclusion
Standard 3: Learning EnvironmentsWhy do I create
What separates great teachers from good teachers is
opportunities for students to navigate their own
actually quite a lot. Because great teachers dont just
stand in front of a group of students and deliver
Standard 3: Learning EnvironmentsWhy do I value dynamic content. Great teachers make purposeful
student opinions? decisions about the classroom environment. They
Standard 4: Content KnowledgeWhy do I value consider the instructional strategies that will best meet
learners knowledge and experience when planning the needs of their students. Great teachers recognize
instruction? the importance of their students families and strive to

involve them in the educational experience, and they Ecological systems theory: Urie Bronfenbrenners
make the time to thoughtfully reflect on what they do (1995) theory, emphasizing the multiple influences
and why they do it. Great teachers focus on the whole on a childs development.
classroom and the whole child. A good number of
teachers choose to focus only on teaching, but great Parent/teacher partnership: A working relation-
teachers recognize quality education as a combination ship between parents and the teacher that focuses
of a variety of things that enhance each childs learn- on the progress of the child. Emphasis is placed on
ing. Of course, each person will decide what kind of the joint contribution of input by both teacher and
teacher he or she will be, but a strong, supportive family.
leader can guide him or her in the right direction.
Reflective teaching: The process of exploring ones
own teaching and decisions and practices related to
Key Chapter Terms teaching and children.

Constructivist: A proponent of constructivism, a Sociocultural theory: Lev Vygotskys theory that

theory emphasizing that children construct knowl- emphasizes social interaction in the development of
edge from active experiences. childrens thought.

References Dibapile, W. T. S. (2012). A review of literature on

teacher efficacy and classroom management. Journal
Arizona K12 Center. (2011). Standards continuum guide of College Teaching and Learning, 9(2), 81.
for reflective teaching practice. Flagstaff: Northern Drake, S. M., & Burns, R. C. (2004). Meeting standards
Arizona University. through integrated curriculum. Alexandria, VA:
Barrett, J., & Barrett, R. (1988). Cloudy with a chance of Association for Supervision & Curriculum
meatballs. New York, NY: Atheneum. Development.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1995). The bioecological Epstein, J. L. (2000). School and family partnerships:
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G. H. Edler, & K. Luscher (Eds.), Examining lives Erwin, J. (2005). Put back the fun in classrooms.
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Bryner, J. (2005). Rewards not working? Instructor, Henderson, A. T., & Berla, N. (1994). A new generation
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Carter, S. (2002). The impact of parent/family achievement. St. Louis, MO: Danforth Foundation
involvement on student outcomes: An annotated and Flint, MI: Mott (C. S.) Foundation.
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Eugene, OR: Consortium for Appropriate Dispute (2013). InTASC model core teaching standards and
Resolution in Special Education. learning progressions for teachers 1.0.
Common Core Standards Initiative. (2012a) English Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School
language arts standards. Retrieved from http://www Officers.
.corestandards.org/assets/KeyPointsELA.pdf Jones, R. (2001). Involving parents is a whole new game:
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mathematics standards. Retrieved from http://www 3643.
.corestandards.org/assets/KeyPointsMath.pdf Mahn, H. (1999). Vygotskys methodological contribution
Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1988). Teachers as to sociocultural theory. Remedial and Special
curriculum planners: Narratives of experience. Education, 20(6), 341350.
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Dewey, J. (1966). Democracy and education. New York, classroom management. Educational Leadership,
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Noddings, N. (2012). The caring relation in teaching. Schon, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner. New
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Further Readings This book provides a wealth of strategies teachers can

use to help families involve themselves in strengthening
Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1988). Teachers as early literacy in the home.
curriculum planners: Narratives of experience. New Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (2009). The first days of
York, NY: Teachers College Press. school: How to be an effective teacher. Mountain
This book provides hands-on exercises teachers can use View, CA: Harry K. Wong.
to assist with the development of their beliefs and phi- This book assists teachers with strategies for structur-
losophies as they plan curriculum in their classrooms. ing their classrooms for effective classroom manage-
Prior, J. (2011). An educators guide to family ment and optimal student learning.
involvement in early literacy. Huntington Beach, CA:
Shell Education.


Clemson University


Clemson University

tudents are as individual as their fingerprints. expansion of bullying into cyberbullying and social/
Their individuality is expressed in their appear- moral panic about media reports of school violence.
ance, their rates of growth and learning, their For school leaders, the issue of reducing learning
backgrounds, and their personalities. The complexity barriers may also be a question of how to address the
of collecting a group of individuals into a single complexity of cultural, social, and school dynamics
space, such as school, is compounded by the indi- in order to focus on any given students or groups of
viduality of adults (professionals, staff, parents, and students needs.
community members) and their backgrounds, rates For the purposes of this chapter, a bio-social-
of development and learning, and personalities. ecological understanding of students worlds, as first
Furthermore, all these individuals belong to groups, described by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979), offers a
cultures, and communities, and those group dynam- lens for attending to multiple aspects of the learners
ics and cultural norms create even more complexity. ecology (social, cultural, political, institutional,
This complex mixture does not even require a stir for interpersonal, and individual). This ecological focus
it to bubble and stew, even spew. In short, at any will be explained through a lens of an individuals
given moment, the combination of adults and stu- development. Then that lens will be enhanced with
dents and all their individual talents and needs will emerging knowledge of expanding social-cultural
create moments that impede learning. influences, such as social media and funds of knowl-
Larger sociocultural events with media interpreta- edge in diverse cultures (Gonzlez, Moll, & Armanti,
tions shape school circumstances and provide more 2005; Moll, 1992).
dynamics that affect schools learning environments Bronfenbrenner (1979) suggested that any
and ultimately raise barriers to learning. These barri- persons development corresponded to a set of ever-
ers range from individuals cognitive developmental expanding social and institutional ecologies. For
differences to social-emotional development to example, a babys ecology includes the family and
historic cultural influences on schools, such as medical personnel and, from baby to baby, the domi-
racism and gendered roles along with social medias nance of family or the medical personnel varies


Sidebar 5.1 Do You Have These Barriers in Your School?

A yes answer to any one of these questions can be a signal that a barrier exists that may be a critical aspect in
affecting any student's or groups of students success.

1. Does your schools surrounding neighborhood, community, or municipality set up, even inadvertently, barriers to
students and families health, safety, or other aspects of their well-being?
2. Is your school distant from the homes and neighborhoods of the students and their families?
3. Is your schools student body experiencing any economic changes (booms or busts) that affect students and their
families access to transportation, health, housing, or other services?
4. Has your student body experienced any forms of cyberbullying, on-campus violence, neighborhood violence, natural
disasters, or other crises?
5. Does your school staff lack sufficient preparation or ability to work with students and families with different cultural
backgrounds or language heritages?
6. Does your school and school staff lack sufficient knowledge about access to school system and community services
that any student may need?
7. Does your school staff lack awareness or preparation for working with family and community volunteers in the
8. Does your school staff lack ability or preparation for shared decision making about students well-being with parents,
guardians, and other service professionals or organizations?
9. Are your school's or school systems policies too restrictive to accommodate individual differences among students
and their families?
10. Does your school or system have any zero-tolerance policies?
11. Does your school staff lack preparation and skills in developing appropriate teaching/learning relationships with
students and their families?
12. Does your school staff fail to monitor discipline or absentee data to address escalating issues?
13. Do the schools teachers lack the ability to differentiate instruction?
14. Does the schools academic assessment system fail to differentiate for developmental differences?
15. Does the school fail to support students development of self-awareness of learning and healthy and productive
learning strategies?

based on culture, financial resources, and availabil- barriers to learning and the possible assets among
ity of medical services. The young childs world those ecologies that might mitigate learning barriers.
expands to playmates, preschool, and religious insti- The ecologies for all students range from family to
tutions, depending on socioeconomic status and community members to community and governmen-
cultural mores. School-age childrens ecologies tal agencies and institutions. For more than 30 years,
expand to teachers and classmates as well as before- an extensive research base on family and community
and after-school activities surrounding the school or involvement attests to its power in lowering barriers
in other areas of the neighborhood and larger com- to learning and creating student success. Joyce
munity. Older students also become more involved Epstein and her associates have developed a model
in institutional, commercial, and governmental ser- for increasing parent, family, and community involve-
vices as they learn to drive on public roads, expand ment (Epstein, Galindo, & Sheldon, 2011). According
their work and purchasing power, earn the right to to this model, school leaders can have an effect on
vote, and grow into other aspects of adult life. For how well students learn by engaging all aspects of the
school leaders, the images of these increasingly community and empowering parents in meaningful
expanding ecologies can be useful for analyzing both ways that suit their varying interests and talents.
5. Overcoming Learning Barriers for All Students73

Some family members are more suited to caring model. That is, students who do not conform to the
for their children at home, ensuring that the student majority are seen not only as different but as prob-
goes to school well fed, clean, clothed, and rested, lems to be solved. Sometimes, the approach is so
which is termed parenting in Epsteins model (Epstein narrowly concentrated on a single student that the
et al., 2011). Other families parent well plus support important social networks that support him or her
learning at home. In these cases, such families not are broken. When these relationships are broken,
only help with homework but also provide educa- students opportunities to thrive diminish.
tional experiences such as trips to museums and Using a combination of Bronfenbrenners (1979)
libraries, summer camps, or other enriching activities. bioecological model and Epstein and her associates
Still other families have individual members, histori- (Epstein et al., 2011) extensive research on the posi-
cally mothers or grandparents, who engage with tive effects of parenting and community collabora-
school by volunteering. More and more men and tion, enhanced by an understanding of funds of
businesses seek to mentor young people through knowledge, school leaders have many tools to ana-
schools and expand the concepts of volunteering in lyze and address each and every students needs.
this manner. When a student seems to fail at learning, the school
Epsteins model (Epstein et al., 2011) also includes leader can explore the students current ecology from
two-way communication, where both school and classroom to home and throughout the community to
home make efforts for clarifying expectations about find both the cause and the remedy. Learning barriers
learning. Realistically, school professionals may need can be as diverse as the students who face them, but
to make the first move to truly engage some families each students family and community also have
and to elicit a two-way exchange about student prog- assets that can be employed to lower those barriers.
ress and welfare. Another form of engagement in With Epsteins six types of involvement and an
Epsteins model includes families and community understanding of funds of knowledge in the commu-
members in decision-making processes. Much of nity, the school leader can both diagnose and explore
U.S. law on student education already mandates the how to leverage the assets within the family and
inclusion of parents and guardians in decisions about community to help the student succeed and learn.
each student, but Epsteins work, as well as other
research, has shown the value of parent and commu-
nity input and participation in other decisions about Learning Barriers and Their Sources
schooling. The final portion of Epsteins model is
community engagement. The diversity of student In most schools, the typical response to identification
needs across years of growth as well as throughout his of learning barriers is to focus on the child and try to
or her expanding ecologies indicates ways in which fix him or her. Most of the time, this approach is
schools need to collaborate with other community frustrating because of the dynamics in the students
and government agencies. ecology; that is, sometimes more than the child needs
As noted, Epsteins model holds some general to be fixed. Even the notion of fixing a student is a
notions about the diversity of ways that families and barrier to helping and supporting a student since a
communities must be involved in schools, but as fixing approach is a deficit approach. Among the
each neighborhood and community is different, lists of deficits, a lot of well-meaning professional
school personnel may require more specific under- literature lists poverty, race, nationality or ethnicity,
standing of those differences. The concept of funds language, and sexual identity as deviations from nor-
of knowledge (Moll, 1992) is useful for understand- mal. Many of the notions of abnormality slip into
ing distinctive communities. Funds of knowledge stereotypes and profiling of deficits in students,
focus on the idea that households are part of a social families, and cultures. Especially for students with
network that can ensure a communitys and its mem- disabilities, the concept of normal can be a barrier
bers continued success. Moll and colleagues noted and that deficit approach is known as ableism
that historically, school policies and curriculum have (Hehir, 2002). Because a high percentage of students
emphasized an assimilative approach that has a side identified for special education include racial minor-
effect of relegating student differences to a deficit ities, ableism lapses into racism (Beratan, 2006). The

danger of labeling differences in students back- and rules; (c) teaching strategies; and (d) learning
grounds and personal characteristics is that none of strategies for individual students use.
these labels provide guidance on supporting or help-
ing the students. Labels are not useful because they Social, Cultural, and Economic Ecologies
promote biases and stereotypes.
Another social development affecting students Sometimes schools are ensconced in the same
learning is technology and social media. While these local culture and socioeconomic conditions that stu-
developments can be used to enhance learning envi- dents and families share. Other times, schools are
ronments, the unfortunate side of these develop- located in different neighborhoods away from the
ments includes the expansion of bullying from students homes and cultural wealth; in other words,
physical and verbal confrontations on school grounds they are removed from their funds of knowledge.
to cyberbullying. Both bullying and cyberbullying Some schools have a great mix of different commu-
offer another form of exploiting students diversity as nities, cultures, languages, and a variety of different
a deficit. Many of the publicized examples of cyber- socioeconomic strata among the students and teach-
bullying have focused on gender socialization and ers. In all cases, schools environments are different
sexual identity. Bullying identifies victims based on from students home environments, and those differ-
their differences, and the normalizing environment ences may affect students comfort, confidence, and
of schools, including the habit of labeling differ- readiness to learn. School leaders need to pay atten-
ences, may inadvertently foster bullies prejudiced tion to differences that need to be bridged rather than
assaults. deficits to overcome. Deficit thinking may prevent
In these publicized cases, global exposure leads to principals, assistant principals, and teacher leaders
a public reaction known as moral panic. Moral panic from finding the wealth of assets that can bridge
can exacerbate students and their parents fear of differences, facilitating diversity to support learning.
schools. This kind of panic also illustrates the con- Most students need support to navigate between
nection of communities to schools, as well as how a home and school. When school leaders understand
social network works both for and against students that home and school may be more than miles apart,
opportunities for schooling. then they bridge those differences and support
Moral panic is associated frequently with public- student learning.
ity about school shootings. School violence is not a For example, language differences are difficult to
new phenomenon with examples, although rare, of address without translators. Hiring translators and
mass shootings, bombings, fires, and other forms of training school personnel might be possible, but can
school disasters dating at least to the early decades strain school funds. One simple contribution from
of the 20th century. Nevertheless, pervasive social the community can be the availability of local trans-
expectations of an ideal normality promote an over- lators, such as friends, neighbors, or other students
reaction to these rare events. Moral panic often fuels who can bridge the language gap. Based on the kin-
intolerance for diversity, and generates a view of ship and area relationships, these local translators
natural differences among students with more sinister also can make a student and his or her family more
interpretationsa deficit view. comfortable in school.
A deficit focus thwarts any opportunities to per- Although an initiative about bridging language
ceive or use the assets and talents that pupils, fami- differences seems clear in schools where U.S.
lies, and communities can contribute. As a more English is the dominant language and immigrants
positive approach, Bronfenbrenners (1979) bioeco- speak a different language, U.S. Standard English is
logical model can illuminate strategies for learning not the dialect or cultural form of English spoken in
supports from the largest ecology to the smallest, many homes. In some schools, the differences in
instead of the traditional deficit-oriented origins that home-forms of English and school-forms are a mat-
start from the smallest sphere, individual student ter of pronunciation and accents. Even though these
characteristics or background. This broader approach differences seem minimal, emphasis on so-called
requires analysis of four ecologies in the following proper pronunciation can convey a deficit approach
order: (a) social, cultural, and economic; (b) policies rather than a supportive one. In such situations, what
5. Overcoming Learning Barriers for All Students75

might seem to a teacher to be restrained instruction to apply community support for student learning. Two,
to a pupil about how an educated person speaks volunteering and decision making may fall under the
instead entails a micro-aggression (Pierce, 1970) to umbrella of the third, community engagement.
a child. Micro-aggression is the continuous, insidi- The volunteering form of community engagement
ous, display of racially motivated hostility acted out may range from individual volunteers to groups.
in benign insensitivity (Dyson, 1990, p. 21). Hidden Individual community members may volunteer as
in the notion of proper is that the school form is tutors and mentors during or outside of school hours.
implicitly better than the home form of language. These community members may have important life
Students (and all educated people) need to under- lessons to help individually struggling students with
stand differences as normal rather than as choices what John Dewey (1938) termed, habits of mind.
between one as favorable and any others as unfavor- According to Dewey, these qualities include a num-
able. School leaders may need to help other school ber of habits that help with learning, such as aware-
personnel recognize and avoid micro-aggression in ness of ones own learning strategies, persistence,
their own professional practices and especially in dependability, responsibility, and resilience. When
their communication with students, families, and individual community members work as mentors,
communities. they typically work one-to-one with individual
All communities possess assets in different students either during or after school hours.
amounts and in ways perhaps different from the usual Some community members also have subject mat-
stereotypes. For example, urban communities may ter expertise since they use math, reading, and other
have a large number of social groups, organizations, so-called academic skills on their jobs. They can
businesses, and community agencies dedicated to mentor by helping individual students with specific
helping families and schools. Yet many urban com- homework and class assignments and share habits of
munities also can have isolating features such as mind that increase literacies from reading to tech-
large apartment complexes where families may not nologies. On the other hand, they may work with
know their neighbors on either side of their unit, groups of students. Such community members can
much less anyone on the floors above or below them. co-teach certain lessons with teachers or offer special
Rural communities frequently have fewer formal presentations to groups of students. These commu-
groups, industry, or agencies dedicated to social ser- nity members can help students understand the rele-
vices, but neighbors may be very tightly aware and vance of school work to work after school and in
involved in each others lives even though the physi- their future lives.
cal distances between their homes might be acres or In the case where communities exhibit cultural
miles. School leaders must be able to understand diversity, school leaders can activate volunteers to
their communities and how the social networks fit help students and families celebrate and accept dif-
together to support students. ferences among different groups. School leaders may
A community services audit is a long-standing need to begin these steps with exposing school per-
recommendation for understanding how a schools sonnel to the variety of community groups and lead-
surrounding community can help with student learn- ers. When schools, rural or urban, are isolated by
ing. Such an audit ranges from generating a conve- distances from students homes and neighborhoods,
nient contact list for various kinds of needs from teachers and other school personnel may also be
health to food to homework and tutoring volunteers unfamiliar with the community. School leaders may
to a list of parents, family, and community members enlist community leaders help in escorting school
special talents and skills that can be shared during personnel as they visit unfamiliar neighborhoods and
classroom lessons or school events, such as science community centers to meet the people of the stu-
or art fairs. A community services audit can be com- dents social networks. For example, owners of gro-
pleted by school staff; by community or parent vol- cery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and other small
unteers; or as a social studies project in upper businesses might host parent-teacher conferences or
elementary, middle, or high school levels. meet-the-teacher receptions to kick off a new school
In generating the community audit, school leaders year. Many schools have used school buses for teach-
can use at least three of Epsteins types of involvement ers to tour the routes their students ride and even

make stops so teachers can walk the neighborhoods managing custodial matters. The proximity of educa-
and meet neighborhood members. In some neighbor- tional services may enable the court to use a more
hoods, community leaders such as church ministers productive approach to juvenile adjudication, thus
or neighborhood association members greet the providing less disruption in the students education.
teachers and arrange home visits. Other groups of Further examples of community inclusion in deci-
teachers have used summer time to visit their incom- sion making can encompass decisions about the
ing students homes, offering books, pencils, and school calendar, the schools daily hours, and how the
contact information to parents and other family community, including law enforcement, can handle
members before the school year starts with all its students out-of-school time. When key groups such
hectic moments. These kinds of personal experiences as the public library and law enforcement work with
often alleviate teachers and students or families schools to manage time out of school, they can mini-
misperceptions and erroneous stereotypes. Enlisting mize the number of students who must be home
community leaders in these efforts activates students alone as well as reduce petty crimes that have
social networks in a positive direction. resulted from extended unsupervised out-of-school
Other community members would prefer to work hours.
in groups to support students. Sometimes civic orga- By working from the outermost ring of
nizations and church groups would like to provide Bronfenbrenners (1979) ecologies and applying
services for students and families, such as funding half of the six types in Epsteins model to commu-
for and/or transportation to and from special school nity involvement, schools can manage their own
events or field trips. Other contributions can include ecologies for student learning more effectively.
a series of backpack programs ranging from a once When school leaders act to recognize and develop
or twice a year program of backpacks stuffed with stronger links in students social networks, then the
school supplies to a weekly program where ready-to- divisions between school and home can be bridged.
eat meals are placed in backpacks to go home on School leaders have a professional obligation to
weekends and other nonschool days. scan the learning environment vigilantly for micro-
Finally, any community audit that shows gaps in aggressions and the constraints of normalizing cur-
services should be addressed by school leaders, who riculum or instruction and the arrogance of ableism.
are the first responders in addressing student needs. These are the sociocultural impediments of student
That is, school personnel may be the first to recog- learning, and none of these conditions originates
nize the absence of community services because with the students. Instead, these issues require adults
students are too young and their families too embar- to refocus their efforts, connections, and attention to
rassed or unaware to ask for the help they need. Thus, improving the social network for students. In many
school leaders need to call other community leaders situations, learning barriers are not obstacles for
together to discuss the issues and develop solutions. individual students, but for all of them, and those
This approach leads into the kind of involvement that learning barriers are created by the school or its
Epstein termed, decision making. personnel. In such situations, the divide between
Schools customarily hold a cultural and institu- school and community destroys opportunities for
tional responsibility to educate students, but the learning. A positive and complementary relationship
nature of learning barriers may include responsibili- between schools and their communities can reduce
ties that other parts of the community traditionally barriers to learning.
address. Many students face custodial conflicts due
to divorce or other legal interventions in their family Policies and Rules Ecologies
relationships. Some schools have found that inviting
court services into or near their campuses help keep School leadership positions historically include
such students absences for legal procedures to a responsibilities for enforcement of rules and policies
minimum. Even when school personnel cannot be that were intended to enhance the learning environ-
included in these proceedings due to matters of con- ment. Nevertheless, on any given occasion, a rule
fidentiality, the courts decision structure is literally may enhance the learning environment for some
closer to the school, which may decrease delays in students and yet impede learning for others. For
5. Overcoming Learning Barriers for All Students77

example, some students prefer total silence for their how a learning environment can be preserved for all
schoolwork, but others feel more engaged with back- the students, even when a student breaks a rule.
ground music or by humming to themselves. Some School leaders need to evaluate school rules and
learners need to sit still to concentrate, but others policies for their discretionary opportunities for the
need to walk around to think. A rule to sit still and be leaders to exercise professional judgment about
quiet will help some learners and hinder others. enhanced learning for all students and for each stu-
School leaders enforcement of rules and policies dent. In the case of most school rules and policies,
need to be informed by professional judgment about a rule that made sense years in the past might not be
learning and in particular judgments about balancing appropriate currently. Again, the decision making
individual rights while maximizing the common involvement portion of Epsteins model may pro-
good for all students. Such a requirement is a vide a guide to garnering student, teacher, parent,
balancing act, and given the ebb and flow between and community input on how to revise outdated
individual rights and the common good, informed rules to address current issues in the schools
professional judgment is necessary. learning environment.
Jacqueline A. Stefkovich (2006) argued that poli- School leaders can look at their discipline records
cies in the best interests of students offer school and determine which rules generate the most infrac-
leaders options in enforcement and implementation. tions. The volume of infractions needs further inves-
These rules allow the application of professional tigation. Are these infractions due to serious
judgment in determining next steps or meting out disruptions of the learning environment? Does every-
penalties. She referred to the differences between one, or just a handful of students, commit these
zero-tolerance or restrictive rules and those that infractions repeatedly? If everyone is caught by the
permit professional discretion. School leaders can- rule, then is the rule outdated? Is it a time-wasting
not exercise professional judgments under policies rule since so many students are caught and some
or rules that require or prohibit specific actions. school leader has to mete out punishments, which
Among restrictive or prohibitive rules are the most often results in students missing learning time? Is it
restrictive versions known as zero-tolerance poli- a rule that only some students repeatedly bump into
cies, which offer any school leader an extremely because the rule has some trap that lures in students
limited list of specific responses. This list is so who have particular learning or other special needs?
restrictive that a school leader is required to execute Depending on the volume of infractions for a par-
those responses, no matter whether specific circum- ticular rule, when the next student is caught by that
stances might suggest a more reasonable response. rule, that students case may require deeper investiga-
The school leader is much closer to the circum- tion than usual. For example, sometimes students
stances of any rule infraction, and the policymakers want to avoid a particular class and quickly discover
are far removed. Sometimes these policymakers are they can miss instruction by breaking a particular
reacting to the publics moral panic about school rule that the classs teacher has shown to be a trigger
violence or other sensationalized events near for sending students to the office. This kind of class
schools. Reams of paperwork, legal cases, research avoidance is a vicious cycle since the teacher is aid-
results, and lots of media airtime have documented ing the student in missing instruction. The school
the unwise and unintended consequences of zero- leader may need to spend time with the teacher to
tolerance policies. Most of these results have develop a different response than sending students
severely hampered learning, not merely for any out of the room.
students directly involved in the case but also for Many schoolwide discipline programs wane in
many of the students who were not initially involved. effectiveness, not because students are not respon-
The narrow lists of responses required of school sive, but due to teachers inconsistency in implemen-
leaders in zero-tolerance policies are an example of tation. Typically, teachers begin to drop their
removing professional discretion about learning implementation strategies about the time of the fall
from the professionals. Stefkovich argued for poli- and winter holidays. Workload issues with the special
cies that support the ethical and professional discre- events of November and December may provide an
tionary judgments of school leaders who understand excuse for teachers lack of consistency. For school

leaders, the reliability of school year routines can then a review of which teachers students seem to
help them with reinforcing teachers commitment to have the most infractions might reveal this problem.
schoolwide discipline policies during the seasons Teachers classroom rules and schoolwide disci-
teachers might be distracted or forgetful. pline policies should be supportive of a strong cur-
Another aspect of helping teachers with classroom riculum that supports positive learning environments.
management rests on individual teachers struggles Students need an understanding of how to work in
with both power and deficit approaches to student groups, how to move in crowded places, and how to
behavior. Teachers face a class size fact: There is only enjoy sporting and musical events. School activities
one teacher and as many as 30 other human beings in can teach these kinds of skills. Businesses and other
the same classroom. Teachers jobs require supervi- future employers as well as municipalities want safe
sion of an outsized group of people. Most other occu- environments with people who can work together and
pations cap supervisory requirements at 15 people. also enjoy social gatherings at sports and entertain-
The size of classes in most U.S. school systems is a ment venues. When teachers and schools approach
feature of funding restrictions and not necessarily the rules as educative rather than as control mechanisms,
optimum capacity for building healthy teaching- then students can learn more about group work and
learning relationships. Without a doubt, a sense of public safety.
being outnumbered can make a teacher interpret his If a classroom or school rule is generating a good
or her role as one of control and power over students deal of infractions across all students or perhaps trap-
rather than building healthy relationships for a ping only certain students repeatedly, then the rule
supportive learning environment. may need to be changed. Students can provide
The power and control dynamic often makes the insights into how the rule affects them. Teachers and
teaching and learning relationship unhealthy. parents will have other perspectives on how the rule
Students may view teacher dominance as a challenge and its enforcement affects student learning and
to their own rights. While some children will chal- the environment for learning. The involvement of
lenge the teacher directly, others may react in fear. these stakeholders can enhance decisions about what
Both reactions are those of distrust. Since learning rules can be helpful and effective in maintaining an
requires trust, a distrustful environment is a barrier to environment for learning. In addition, these groups
learning. can provide suggestions about strategies for helping
Teachers who feel challenged by their students may students follow any rule. When rules are useful teach-
react defensively and thus escalate misunderstandings ing tools and ensure a positive learning environment,
and power struggles. The escalation can be micro- barriers to learning are lowered.
aggressions or overt verbal abuse. Regardless of the
form, these escalations represent a form of deficit Teaching Strategies
thinking. A school leader needs to help teachers move
past these reactions, and if a teacher resists this help, When a student fails, the first line of investigation
the best interests of students must supersede the should be instructional rather than diagnostic. In
teachers interests. A defensive, reactive, and power- other words, the initial analysis of why a pupil failed
oriented teacher cannot teach, and consequently, should involve consideration of how well instruction
should not remain employed as a teacher. had been diversified for differences in student learn-
Teachers individual classroom policies and rules ing strengths and weaknesses (Tomlinson & Imbeau,
can raise barriers to learning. If teachers are unfamil- 2010). Teachers and school leaders can serve as part-
iar with their students cultural and social back- ners in this line of instructional investigation. They
grounds, homes, or neighborhoods, the teachers can observe students and teacher interactions. They
rules might be inadvertently offensive. School leaders can monitor teacher language and the degree of trust
might uncover this problem before much of the the teacher has generated with students. They also
school year passes by reviewing teachers classroom can support a teachers reteaching strategies when
policies for ways of enhancing home and school com- students misunderstand or misconstrue concepts.
munication as well as accessing students funds of If students have few opportunities for work during
knowledge. If this preventative approach is not taken, class time, the instruction may be too teacher focused.
5. Overcoming Learning Barriers for All Students79

That is, the teacher may be doing more work than the errors and error analysis are an important form of
students by lecturing rather than taking the time to learning, rather than an inescapable fatal sign of fail-
listen and observe student understanding. Students ure. Gloria Ladson-Billings (1995) noted that teach-
work during class can illustrate their understanding ers of any race may adopt a culturally sensitive
and misunderstanding. Observations of teaching approach, and she borrowed Judith Kleinfelds (1975)
should emphasize a variety of teaching strategies and term, warm demander, to describe teachers who
not only the model of teacher as lecturer. encourage learning while keeping the cognitive
Another line of instructional investigation should demand rigorous.
include the quality of the measure signaling the stu- Unfortunately, many lessons are developed and
dents failure. Was that measure a test that was well delivered without attention to how students engage in
designed for learning or merely a measure of effort learning. That is, lessons may focus solely on a topic
rather than learning? For example, some teachers and never offer students explicit tips for understand-
focus on the act of turning in homework rather than ing the topic. Lessons with a mere focus on topical
assessing the quality of the work (Stiggins, 2002). If information also fail to support students own aware-
there is no opportunity for student work during class ness of how to find out more or practice application
time, then the measure of learning, either tests or of that knowledge. Over years in school, some stu-
homework, is not directly connected to class instruc- dents are left with the impression that lessons and
tion. The consequential issues of making judgments knowledge are completely teachers responsibilities,
about student learning based on tests are huge. The and these pupils have no skills to use in enhancing
limits of the tests must be considered before exercis- their own learning.
ing any decision that affects any students continued Yet technology now offers students an alternative
progress. online means of learning. Students using technology
Other limits of instruction concerning literacy outside the classroom may be disconnected from
must be considered before any decision about a stu- classroom learning. They, and some of their teachers,
dents progress is made. Often, the problems with may perceive digital learning as a variety of colorful,
testing and instruction may lie in issues of literacy fast action entertainment. Thus, even though students
rather than concepts or knowledge. For example, the may like technology-based learning, they remain just
teaching strategies, textbooks, and other learning as unaware of how to learn and how their learning
activities may use different vocabulary than the test. strategies can be different in the class, whether read-
Literacy issues for any subject area tend to be tied to ing a book or even staring at digital information.
vocabulary and students depth and extent of vocabu- Teachers need to build in learning time for helping
lary (Marzano, 2004). Thus, the primary instructional students to become more aware of how they learn with
remedy for most learning barriers is vocabulary print, with a teacher, and with other media. Lessons
development. In the analysis of instructional barriers can be developed to optimize technologys applica-
to learning, the teachers development of student com- tions for learning diversely with diverse learners
prehension of appropriate vocabulary for all subject (Rose, Meyer, Strangman, & Rappolt, 2002).
areas must be considered. Because each subject requires different kinds of
Regardless of age, students are active participants thinking, students need to be taught how to learn
in learning. However, their awareness of learning and math and how to learn science or social studies. They
their engagement in the process may vary. need to learn how to think like a writer, mathemati-
Metacognition and habits of mind require student- cian, or scientist. Teachers need to help students
based awareness of their own style and preferences develop these strategies.
for how they learn. Cognitive demand requires that Teachers can help each other in analyzing the
students develop persistence in the face of learning strength of lesson strategies for diverse learners,
new or difficult material. Persistence in the face of sharing common assessments that are both reliable
difficulty or even after making an error is an impor- and valid in measuring learning, as well as observing
tant habit of mind for student development. Mentors each others instruction during classes. Peer feedback
and tutors may help students with developing persis- can help teachers investigate whether instruction is
tence. Teachers also need to let students know that sufficient for all learners. School leaders also should

provide monitoring of lessons, assessment strategies, response is necessary for the team to determine if
and classroom observations to build collegial support the desired change is occurring or not. Several mod-
for improving teaching that enhances learning. els exist that help monitor the chain of trigger and
Students strategies for learning are not intuitive, and reaction and then intervention and response. Perhaps
teachers need to build lessons to raise students the most common monitoring process is a behavioral
awareness of their own learning. Once these instruc- approach to monitoring. This model is referred to
tional supports for learning are in place, then the the A-B-A-B approach. The behavioral model
final investigation about student failure can turn to includes a baseline (A) of how often the habit occurs
students and their abilities and strategies for learning. without intervention. Sometimes the baseline
involves the teacher or another observer, such as
Learning Strategies another school professional or a family member. To
develop a students awareness of his or her own
Students learning approaches vary with their learning strategies, sometimes the student also keeps
experiences and background (Marzano, 2004). Once a baseline and self-monitors. Then the intervention
the support system across all ecologies has been (B) is tried, and the monitoring with the intervention
enhanced for student learning, then persistent student continues. Finally, another period of monitoring
failure requires a focus on individual needs. Students without the intervention (A) is completed. This pro-
needs can include academic, emotional, or behav- cess can be repeated as often as necessary to assess
ioral requirements. All of these needs require a team progress and success of the intervention.
approach, which involves both family and school, Sometimes the issue involves a group of students,
and in many cases, needs to tap into the students and intervention teams should include group assess-
communities and its funds of knowledge. ments and observations. Unfortunately, most school
Most schools now include teams of teachers, teams fail to investigate the degree to which peer
social workers, and school psychologists dedicated to influence plays a role in an individual students fail-
diagnosis and intervention for students persisting ure to thrive in the classroom. Peer feedback has an
academic and social issues. Such teams consult with influence on a students sense of confidence, both
teachers of students who fail to thrive in the class- academically and socially. The degree to which peers
room. The purpose of these teams is to help teachers influence an individual students motivation and
design student-specific interventions and then moni- engagement in school increases with age and varies
tor how well the particular student responds to the across individuals. That is, middle and high school
interventions. students are more likely to be influenced by their
One of the key considerations about any interven- peers opinions than elementary students are.
tion is to allow enough time to elapse to see the Students in upper elementary grades are more influ-
strength of the students response. Any change may enced by peers than are students in primary grades.
produce a worsening of the problem before a student The degree of influence of peers on any given student
can adjust to the new situation. That is, when chang- varies. Interventions in the degree of peer influence
ing any habit, enough time must elapse to allow a must be designed around the particular students
person to change his or her typical, habitual reaction. development and reactions to peers.
That time involves the persons developing an aware- The team approach also must include the family
ness of the reaction and then time for learning how to and the student. Students who need to develop a
prevent it as well as learning an alternate habit or deeper awareness of their own behavior and learning
reaction. Depending on how long the habit has need support from at least two of their ecologies, the
existed, the change time might take as much as three home and the school, although the community ecol-
to seven times longer to break that cycle of trigger ogy can be an important component as well. Two-way
and reaction. communication between home and school may pro-
Interventions that take place in a very short term, vide more information for the teams systematic
less than a month, will not be successful because monitoring process. Some parents can help students
they do not provide enough time for a new habit self-monitor and help them become more indepen-
to develop. Systematic monitoring of the student dent and self-aware about their own habits and how
5. Overcoming Learning Barriers for All Students81

those habits help or hinder learning. Some parents largest part of a students ecology, the community,
may be able to help the team understand how certain and then moves to the smallest part, the student.
student habits developed, and that history may give
the team clues about how to change nonproductive Community Connections and Supports
habits. If families are unwilling or unable to help the for Students and Schools
team, then community members may be willing and
able to help students with learning through mentor- With a community audit, school leaders create a
ing and tutoring programs. The schools community toolbox of resources that can offer positive learning
audit can provide the team a list of resources that experiences. All communities represent a social net-
may enhance any interventions for any individual work that includes funds of knowledge through
student. which each part of the community provides families
A focus on individual students is the last step in an a means of thriving. Different sectors of the commu-
ecological approach to addressing barriers to learning nity can include businesses, government, health,
and teaching. Once the communitys capacity for religion, and other social services. Among these sec-
supporting homes and families and their abilities to tors are funds of knowledge for the communities
thrive has been established, then the ecologies of households. These funds of knowledge may be as
school and classroom must be investigated for appro- different as each community is from another.
priate supports for teaching and learning. School and For any given community, the community audit
classroom environments require policies that enhance likely will have gaps. Urban communities may have
teachers and students interactions. Teaching strate- fewer sector gaps than rural communities may, but
gies also must be monitored for supporting develop- even with gaps, rural communities may be more
ment of students awareness of their learning strategies tightly focused on the school as a social or sporting
and for maintaining rigor in students productivity. event center in their communities. Schools need to
After these ecologies have been investigated for know where help resides for their students in any
capacity and strategies to support learning, then any kind of community because schools cannot provide
given students persisting academic or social delays all the services and support that every child may
can be best addressed through a team approach. need. On the other hand, as schools are often a loca-
tion for community events, schools also can be a
location where other agencies can deliver services
Resources for Overcoming directly to students and their families. In some
Learning Barriers regions, the school is a community center. In other
places, a school may need to develop a reputation as
When school leaders confront barriers to learning, a safe place and earn its standing as an authentic
they have multiple resources in their school ecolo- center of the community.
gies. The key is to confront the barriers with an opti- Schools need to reach out into their students com-
mistic and ecologically sensitive, rather than a deficit, munities to become a part of the social network of
approach. An ecologically sensitive approach respects support. Teachers and other school personnel need to
diversity by honoring differences in race, language, develop relationships with families and neighbors.
ethnicity, religion, and gender or sexual identity. They do so when they become visible in locations
Schools also are ecologically sensitive when they outside of school such as grocery stores, gas stations,
prevent and intervene in normalizing acts such as and other places where students and their families
bullying or micro-aggressions. Effective school lead- frequent. School personnel also become more visible
ers focus on fixing negative elements in school and if partnering with churches and other social groups as
students environments first. The most effective strat- a place to host parent-teacher meetings or student
egy is to prevent any barrier to learning at any level performances or other school events. When schools
of the students ecologies. The resources for student become a part of the community, they can draw on
learning reside in all of the ecologies surrounding community leaders, groups, businesses, agencies,
students and schools. As with the analysis of barriers and organizations for supporting students. Community
to learning, the analysis of strategies starts with the members can work as individual or group volunteers

focused on providing the necessary support for learn- leaders need to see that rules do not disintegrate into
ing from food, shelter, health, and recreation to indi- a time-out-of-the-classroom routine. To address the
vidual mentoring or tutoring. Communities, whether value of rules for promoting student learning, school
urban or rural, have different assets that students leaders need the insights of teachers, students, and
need, and a schools community audit can help school community members.
leaders identify and use assets for any learning need.
Tools and Strategies for Increasing
Learning-Friendly Policies and Rules the Quality of Instruction

Schools must be learner-, family-, and community- The nature of good instruction has been long
friendly. Many schools have rigid policies and rules investigated and well studied. Measures of learning
that may detract from a positive learning environ- must be well constructed, reliable, and valid indica-
ment. Some of these rules conflict with the students tors of learning and student progress. Measures of
home rules or cultures. effective teaching also must be varied and must be
School leaders need to take a preventative stance used reliably in conjunction with professional learn-
by vetting the rules for how they might be racist, sex- ing. Teachers and school leaders must work as col-
ist, or even narrowly normative. Some teachers leagues in monitoring the quality of instruction to
approaches to classroom rules can set up and escalate ensure that all students have opportunities to learn.
conflicts with students instead of building trust and Students also need to be taught how to be aware of
enhancing the learning environment. School leaders and monitor their own learning and how to develop
can regularly review classroom rules to help teachers strategies appropriate to each subject area.
establish optimum learning time and avoid power
struggles with students. Enabling and Empowering Student Learning
School leaders can use school discipline records When individual students persistently struggle,
to monitor the effects of school rules on students. then students need individual support. Intervention
School leaders should investigate which students are teams, which provide collaboration in monitoring
referred most often for breaking such rules and change in instruction with a goal for change in learn-
which teachers make the referrals. In many schools, ing, should include professionals as well as the stu-
males are referred most often for breaking rules, and dent and his or her family. Community members also
Black males have a particularly high rate of disci- may provide support for ongoing strategies to help
pline referrals. Emerging research on working with students overcome learning barriers.
male students shows ways that students can engage
in learning and avoid discipline referrals where the
classroom is structured for their needs. In any adjust- Key Chapter Terms
ment for student differences, individual needs offer
better clues about changing the rules or environment Ableism: A deficit approach to diversity. Ableism
than does a one-size-fits-all approach. That is, just promotes the belief that normal is a narrow range of
because some male students need more physical acceptable behaviors or development.
activity doesnt mean that all males will share that
preference or need. Instead, teachers need a variety Cognitive demand: Indicates the level of difficulty of
of strategies that encourage individual and group learning a concept or performing a skill. The higher the
work. Teachers are more likely to be effective with cognitive demand is, the more difficult the standard or
culturally sensitive and culturally responsive peda- requirements.
gogy. When students are engaged in a learning envi-
ronment that suits their learning, they have fewer Cognitive developmental differences: Refers to indi-
referrals for disciplinary infractions. viduals different rates of brain development. Some
School leaders need to study how school and of the differences in rates are temporary and idiosyn-
classroom rules affect learning and to what extent cratic to each persons awareness. Other differences
they can be changed to be more educational. School may have physical, medical, or environmental causes.
5. Overcoming Learning Barriers for All Students83

For the majority of students, differences in back- When students are identified as a problem, then
ground, pre- and out-of-school experiences affect some of their funds of knowledge might be ignored
their rates of learning. Teachers must be able to as a group of professionals may intimidate or ignore
address the diversity of learning and cognitive devel- the students parents, families, and communities.
opment among the students in their classrooms.
School leaders must support teachers in addressing Funds of knowledge: A term that recognizes the
these developmental differences. shared heritage and wisdom of a groups culture and
history. Each cultural group shares ideas through sto-
Community engagement: From Joyce Epsteins ries, songs, and other means of transmission about
(Epstein et al., 2011) model, the term refers to a vari- how a family can thrive. The definition of the family
ety of partnerships that schools may have with differ- structure comes from the cultures funds of knowl-
ent sectors of the community. For example, public edge. For some cultures, the family depends on gen-
health agencies may have health fairs on school erations of women who help each other. The women
grounds as well as provide the state-required inocula- may pass on their advice and help with short sayings
tions for students. Alternatively, a business may pro- or quiet actions, depending on the traditions of their
vide equipment for labs and perhaps guest speakers culture. In other cultures, a male patriarch makes
on curriculum topics. Volunteering may overlap with major decisions for generations of children, grand-
this form of involvement as well. children, even great-grandchildren. School personnel
who understand and respect these funds of knowledge
Cyberbullying: Includes a form of verbal and even can use them to help with students learning.
visual/auditory abuse that takes place through a vari-
ety of digital platforms and social media. The par- Gendered roles: Those roles that are socially deter-
ticipants include the same players as in schoolyard mined to be male or female. School statistics still
bullying, but the actions are often not during school show that teaching young children appears to be a
hours and expand the school campus to cell phones female role. Gendered roles create a set of norms that
and the World Wide Web. Given the very open nature imply that one sex may have more power than the
of the web, additional bullies who have nothing to do other. In addition, in schools, that power differential
with the school, and often are not even school-age, is often demonstrated by the fact that men are princi-
can join in the abuse. The legal role of school person- pals and women are teachers. These social norms,
nel in preventing and addressing this kind of abuse of however inadvertently, may teach students to expect
their students is still evolving. a narrow range of options for themselves. Further,
especially in middle and high schools, students who
Decision making: Among the six types of involvement, are becoming more aware of their sexual identity
refers to the process of determining school rules and may feel a stigma based on the strong messages of
practices. Officially, nearly every school system is run what is normal for males and females. School per-
by a board, which appoints the superintendent. Most of sonnel need to be aware that gender and sexual iden-
these boards are elected or appointed and represent the tity may cause students to suffer bullying and fear
larger public that funds the schools. In terms of school- based on the normalized environment of schools.
level involvement, some schools have required parent
advisory or decision-making groups; others set up Habits of mind: A phrase from the work of progressive
their own because when parents participate in the educator John Dewey. Among the habits necessary
decisions, their children are more likely to succeed. for success in and beyond school are the following
five: (a) awareness of ones own learning strategies;
Deficit model: Sometimes deficit thinking, refers to (b) persistence; (c) dependability; (d) responsibility;
a perception that if something is different, then it is and (e) resilience.
not normal, and if it is not normal, then it is a prob-
lem. The framing of a students behavior or cognitive Metacognition: Refers to awareness of ones own
development as a problem often leads to removal approach to learning. Students who are aware of how
from classrooms and thus limited access to learning. they learn generally achieve more. Conversely, students

who believe that they cannot learn often are not widespread concern that violence and tragedy is very
aware of how they do learn. If they are not aware of close to home. In school shootings, the widespread
their learning, students who believe they cannot learn identification with victims and their families can cause
often fail. immediate action and precautions in locales far from
the event and well after the event has been resolved.
Micro-aggression: Generally, refers to a comment
that on the surface may seem normal, but can be Social-emotional development: A term that refer-
interpreted as disrespectful. So-called normal ences how people learn to make friends, work in
remarks are normal from one perspective, but not groups, and cope with their feelings in socially
necessarily appropriate for the diversity found in appropriate ways. Businesses refer to these kinds of
public spaces, such as schools in the United States or good citizenship behaviors as soft skills. Most
globally. municipalities and employers want students to grad-
uate from school with these skills. School personnel
Parenting: One of Joyce Epsteins six forms of school try to develop these behaviors among students
and community involvement. Parenting refers to pri- through classroom management and schoolwide
mary care for the student, including meals, clothing, discipline programs.
hygiene, and shelter. Many well-meaning parents
may not have the resources for one or all of these Support for learning at home: In Joyce Epsteins
caregiving responsibilities, and school personnel may model, extends the parenting role to support for stu-
be the first responders in identifying these needs. dents cognitive development. These activities can
range from providing space and time for a student to
Racism: Refers to social stigma and segregation of concentrate on homework and helping check that the
people based on the color of their skin or their eth- work is done to arranging trips or other learning expe-
nic or national origins. For some communities, rac- riences outside of school time. These outside school
ism comes from the cultural heritage of the region. activities can include visits to museums, local events,
In schools, racism can be very subtle but may under- sightseeing, and the opportunity to learn funds of
lie such phenomena as the disproportionately high knowledge from the culture and community. These
rates of school discipline among African American parents may provide opportunities for their children
males; disproportionate representation of African to visit and learn about other cultures as well.
American males in special education, particularly
for emotional and behavioral disorders; and the Two-way communication: Refers to Joyce Epsteins
underrepresentation of African American and and associates' expansion of schools information
Hispanic students in honors and Advanced Placement dissemination and advertising of school events to a
classes. Racism can appear among school staff, stronger relationship where parents and families keep
where more minorities provide support services schools informed of their needs and events. Most
such as teacher aides, school meal workers, or families require schools to reach out to them, and
facilities service workers than appear among the school personnel will need to develop strategies to
professional teaching staff. Racism can also mani- encourage family communication. Some families
fest itself in social patterns within the school, such may be reluctant to approach school officials, even
as voluntary segregation when students and staff teachers, and that means school personnel need to
members of different races do not socialize with one make sure that they are welcoming and approachable.
another during meals or breaks. If school staff mem- Two-way communication is fundamental to student
bers are segregated, simply integrating the students success.
will not eliminate racism. School personnel have a
responsibility to identify and address racism and its Volunteering: The participation in school activities
effects on students. by adults in the community who are not school per-
sonnel. Traditionally, students mothers provided
Social/moral panic: Refers to a crowd phenomenon support, from cookies to art supplies, for classroom
where information about a crime or disaster causes activities. That traditional support also included
5. Overcoming Learning Barriers for All Students85

school fund-raising by parent-teacher groups and Warm demander: A teacher who remains encourag-
club supporters. Today, volunteering with schools ing while still setting a high standard for learning
has spread to tutoring and mentoring programs for and achievement. The teacher has the students trust
the students. Additionally, out-of-school time and expresses a belief that the students will be suc-
includes volunteers to help with homework or to cessful even though the work requires a higher level
provide meals when school is not in session. of cognitive engagement.

References Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally

relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research
Beratan, G. D. (2006). Institutionalizing inequity: Journal, 32(3), 465491.
Ableism, racism and IDEA 2004. Disability Studies Marzano, R. J. (2004). Building background knowledge
Quarterly, 26(2), 3. for academic achievement: Research on what works
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human in schools. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
development: Experiments by nature and design. Moll, L. C. (1992). Bilingual classroom studies and
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. community analysis: Some recent trends.
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, Educational Researcher, 21(2), 2024.
NY: Collier. doi:10.3102/0013189X021002020
Dyson, J. L. (1990). The effect of family violence on Pierce, C. M. (1970). Offensive mechanisms: The vehicle
childrens academic performance and behavior. for micro-aggression. In F. B. Barbour (Ed.), The
Journal of the National Medical Association, 82(1), Black 70s (pp. 265282). Boston, MA: Porter
1722. Sargent.
Epstein, J. L., Galindo, C. L., & Sheldon, S. B. (2011). Rose, D. H., Meyer, A., Strangman, N., & Rappolt, G.
Levels of leadership effects of district and school (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age:
leaders on the quality of school programs of family Universal Design for Learning. Alexandria, VA:
and community involvement. Educational ASCD.
Administration Quarterly, 47(3), 462495. Stefkovich, J. A. (2006). Best interests of the student:
Gonzlez, N., Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (Eds.). (2005). Applying ethical constructs to legal cases in
Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in education. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
households, communities and classrooms. Mahwah, Stiggins, R. J. (2002.) Assessment crisis: The absence of
NJ: Erlbaum. assessment FOR learning. Phi Delta Kappan,
Hehir, T. (2002). Eliminating ableism in education. 83(10), 758765.
Harvard Educational Review, 72(1), 133. Tomlinson, C. A., & Imbeau, M. B. (2010). Leading and
Kleinfeld, J. (1975). Effective teachers of Eskimo and managing a differentiated classroom. Alexandria,
Indian students. School Review, 83, 301344. VA: ASCD.

Further Readings The purpose of this book is to provide action-oriented,

evidence-based strategies for schools to use in increas-
Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics ing the cognitive development of both students and their
for formative assessment and grading. Alexandria, teachers.
Davies, A., Herbst, S., & Reynolds, B. P. (2012).
This book is a teacher-friendly volume that explains Transforming schools and systems using
how to set up grading strategies that accommodate assessment: A practical guide. Courtenay, Canada:
developmental differences. Connections.
Dana, N. F., Thomas, C. M., & Boynton, S. S. (2011). This guide offers a systemic strategy for using and
Inquiry: A districtwide approach to staff and student interpreting test data to make instructional decisions to
learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. support diverse learners.

Dean, C. B., Hubbell, E. R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. J. environment to support students whose first language
(2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research- is not English.
based strategies for increasing student achievement
Rose, D. H., Meyer, A., Strangman, N., & Rappolt, G.
(2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
(2002). Teaching every student in the digital age:
The second edition of the popular research-based Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
instructional strategies guide provides specific infor- The authors of this book explain how to design lessons
mation to teachers about how to apply diverse strate- that accommodate every learners needs.
gies to support learners.
Tomlinson, C. A., & Imbeau, M. B. (2010). Leading and
Iddings, A. C. D., Combs, M. C., & Moll, L. (2012). In managing a differentiated classroom. Alexandria,
the arid zone: Drying out educational resources for VA: ASCD.
English language learners through policy and
The first author of this popular book for teachers has a
practice. Urban Education, 47(2), 495514.
solid reputation built on creating classroom environ-
This journal article explains a variety of important ments, lessons, and assessments that support the needs
concepts useful in differentiating the classroom of each and every student.

California State University, Sacramento

esponse to intervention (RTI) is an innova- needed to determine its impact on classroom perfor-
tive service delivery model designed to help mance (Al Otaiba & Torgesen, 2007; Hughes &
all students succeed academically. RTI is Dexter, 2011; Vaughn & Fletcher, 2012). Researchers
a tiered intervention framework where students have proposed solutions to address some of the
are provided with research-based instruction and challenges of utilizing the RTI model to improve
evidence-based interventions that vary in duration instruction and intervention (Denton, 2012; Fuchs
and intensity based on individual student needs. RTI et al., 2012; Vaughn & Fletcher, 2012). RTI has
is used for prevention, intervention, and determination brought about systemic reform within the educa-
of a learning disability (LD). Currently, all 50 states tional system, and its future greatly depends on effec-
allow RTI as a method for learning disability tive leadership, collaboration, and commitment
identification. RTI addresses long-standing concerns among school personnel.
with educating students with learning challenges,
including English language learners (ELLs), students
from impoverished backgrounds, and students with RTI and Systemic Reform
learning disabilities. Since its inception in 2003, RTI
has changed the way that schools respond to student Lynn Fuchs and Sharon Vaughn (2012) state that
instruction, assessment, and data collection. RTI has become a major force in education reform
Studies show that there is no universal RTI imple- (p. 195). RTI holds implications for curriculum,
mentation framework as each school has flexibility in assessment, instruction, and professional develop-
how it specifies its RTI system and then provides ment. The reform of education continues as a major
professional development to its staff (Barnes & focus of federal legislation. Schools, districts, and
Harlacher, 2008; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Compton, 2012). states are making systemic changes to comply with
RTI has expanded the role of school administrators, the provisions and requirements of the No Child Left
generalists (i.e., general education teachers) and Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 and the Individuals
specialists (e.g., special education teachers, reading with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
specialists, speech and language pathologists, and (IDEA) of 2004. NCLB requires states to develop
school psychologists). Recent studies suggest that curriculum standards for K-12 that translate into high-
RTI is a promising practice, but more research is quality instruction in general education classrooms.


States must administer annual, state-standards NCLB and IDEA emphasize the use of evidence-
assessments to 95% of students in reading and based instruction and intervention for all students.
math for Grades 3 to 8 and once during high school. The rise in poverty and poor test scores in some
With the alignment of NCLB and IDEA, students school districts have fueled reform measures. When
with special needs are expected to achieve the same a school districts composite test score is low, it is
learning outcomes as their typically developing peers often the impetus that drives the districts strategic
but with adaptations and accommodations to the plan to raise student performance levels in English
curriculum. and math. Education reform efforts need to move
RTI emerged as a response to the dissatisfaction beyond simply looking at evidence-based interven-
with traditional approaches to identify and serve tions to examining the entire system to promote
students with learning disabilitiesthe largest change and sustainability (Ervin, Schaughency,
population of students served in special education. Goodman, McGlinchey, & Matthews, 2006). Ruth A.
Traditionally, schools have relied upon an IQ and Ervin and colleagues view each school as an evolv-
academic achievement discrepancy formula to ing system with diverse needs and varying levels of
determine special education eligibility under a readiness for schoolwide innovations. Ervin and col-
specific learning disability. The Response to leagues (2006) contend that many school reform
Intervention Action Network cites concerns over efforts fail, but there are three factors that sustain
the need to prevent the overidentification of stu- evidence-based interventions: staff commitment,
dents with learning disabilities, overrepresentation administrator support, and facilitators who promote
of minorities in special education, reliability issues practice mastery. These factors are critical within
surrounding norm-referenced tests, and variability the RTI framework. The next section presents the
of identification rates across both states and principles and essential components of RTI.
districts. IDEA 2004 states that a student cannot
be diagnosed with a learning disability as a result
of poor reading instruction. Moreover, a student Components of Response to
cannot be learning disabled if the determining Intervention Programs
factor in reading delay is a variation in language,
culture, or race. Aaron Barnes and Jason Harlacher (2008) contend
Under IDEA, schools can use 15% of their special that practitioners need to understand both the prin-
education money to implement general education ciples behind why RTI is needed as well as the com-
interventions. Schools now use RTI to provide ponents of what RTI looks like. They found that
intervention services earlier to students who are while there is variation in how the components are
struggling instead of continuing the wait-to-fail implemented across schools, the principles of RTI do
model (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006, p. 96). According to not change. Following are the principles that they
the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities found were consistent across research studies:
(NRCLD) (2003), the discrepancy formula relegated
schools to wait until the third grade or later before A proactive and preventative approach to address
the needs of all students;
students could receive intensive intervention. RTI
An instructional match between student skills,
expands the identification procedure to include RTI
curriculum, and instruction;
as part of the determination process for special A problem-solving orientation and data-based
education placement. This authorization is noted in decision making;
the following provision of IDEA 2004: Use of effective practices that are evidence based; and
A systems-level approach emphasizing the entire
Local education agencies (LEAs) may use a students school as opposed to a single student or classroom.
response to scientifically based instruction as part of (p. 419)
the evaluation process; and (b) when identifying a
disability. LEAs shall not be required to take into
consideration whether a child has a severe discrep- The essential components of RTI programs include
ancy between achievement and intellectual ability. multitiered approach, research-based instruction,
[P.L. 108446, 614(b)(6)(A)] universal screening, evidence-based intervention,
6. Response to Intervention and Its Impact on Classroom Performance89

and progress monitoring. These components can vary for effective instruction at Tier 1 and is based on the
in execution at school and district levels. principle that a proactive and preventative approach
is necessary to address the needs of all students.
A Multitiered Model Typically, the goal is that 80% of students will require
only the core reading program to meet grade-level
One of the components of the RTI prevention expectations (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2012).
system is a multitiered intervention approach. Some
schools use from two tiers to four or more tiers. The Universal Screening
three-tiered model is most commonly used and will
be described here. Tier 1 (i.e., primary prevention) is Universal screening is administered to assess the
research-based core reading instruction where uni- effectiveness of the curriculum and instruction, as
versal screening of all students is used to determine well as to address academic problems in a timely
proficiency levels and identify students at risk for manner. RTI emphasizes that schools administer uni-
reading problems. RTI implementation across versal screenings to all children to identify those who
schools in the United States has focused on reading are at risk for poor reading performance. There is
intervention in the primary grades. However, more variation in the number of screenings administered,
schools are beginning to address math and behavior ranging from one screening to three screenings
problems as part of primary prevention. Tier 2 (i.e., throughout the school year. Some school administra-
secondary intervention or secondary prevention) tors have also moved to screen children in the areas
incorporates supplemental empirically validated of math and behavior that were not originally part of
instruction for students who are not making adequate RTI. Benchmarks are set at the school, district, or
academic progress in Tier 1. Students receive evidence- state level to ensure that student outcomes or goals
based intervention in small groups to address for a particular domain are achieved during the
specific skill development while they continue Tier 1 course of the year. Curriculum-based measurement
core instruction. Tier 3 (i.e., tertiary intervention or (CBM) (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006; Stecker, Fuchs, &
tertiary prevention) provides students who have not Fuchs, 2005) screenings are used as they are closely
responded to Tier 1 interventions with more intensive aligned with classroom instruction because they are
and sustained intervention (Fletcher & Vaughn, 2009). designed to measure progress in basic skill areas of
Some RTI prevention systems move to a formal reading, math, and written language.
evaluation for learning disability classification for Examples of research-based standardized mea-
students at Tier 3. sures that schools use to screen students include the
Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills and
Research-Based Reading Instruction the Developmental Reading Assessment. The DIBELS
are short fluency measures used to monitor develop-
Under NCLB, the Reading First initiative was ment of early literacy and early reading skills. The
implemented to ensure that schools use research- measures assess phonological awareness, the alpha-
based reading instruction to get all students to read betic principle, fluency with connected text, vocabu-
by the end of third grade. The Reading First initiative lary, and comprehension. The DRA is a formative
emerged as a response to the National Reading Panel assessment that allows teachers to observe, record,
report (National Institute of Child Health and Human and evaluate student reading performance over time.
Development, 2000) that highlighted five essential The DRA includes an individual instructional plan to
components of effective reading instruction: phone- increase reading proficiency. These benchmark-based
mic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and screening assessments should provide teachers with
comprehension. All students must receive a high- information so that they can differentiate instruction
quality core instructional program based on these five to improve student achievement. The International
components of reading. The reading programs are Reading Association and the National Council of
packaged commercially to schools and require sys- Teachers of English (IRA-NCTE, 2009) indicate that
tematic and explicit instruction of skills and concepts assessment should serve the purpose of improving
in a hierarchical order. This provides the foundation teaching and learning.

Evidence-Based Intervention must answer is how frequently progress monitoring

should take place for an individual student. Fuchs
Evidence-based intervention refers to the use of and Fuchs (2006) recommend that students desig-
scientific, empirically based intervention directed at nated at risk be monitored weekly within a time
students who are at risk for learning problems based frame of 8 to 10 weeks during Tier 1 core instruction
on universal screening. Small-group instruction using curriculum-based measurement. The National
offered within Tier 2 emerges from experimental Center on Student Progress Monitoring (MPACT,
studies validating its efficacy. An instructional match 2013) indicates that when progress monitoring is
between student skills, curriculum, and instruction is implemented well it has potential benefits:
critical. At the secondary prevention level, schools
may use the standard protocol model to address read- Accelerated learning because students are receiving
ing difficulties. Douglas Fuchs and Lynn S. Fuchs more appropriate instruction
(2007) indicate that standardized treatment protocols More informed instructional decisions
rely on small-group tutoring to ensure mastery for Documentation of student progress for
most students. These tutoring protocols are scripted accountability purposes
and do not rely on local professionals, who may More efficient communication with families and
have uneven training and background in instructional other professionals about students progress
design (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Zumeta, 2008, p. 122). Higher expectations for students by teachers
Fewer special education referrals
Sharon Vaughn and Greg Roberts (2007) provide
some guidelines for determining the level of inter-
RTI incorporates a problem-solving orientation
vention intensity for students at Tier 2 and Tier 3. At
and data-based decision making. Data-based deci-
Tier 2, instructional intervention is designed as a
sion making is central at all levels of RTI implemen-
supplement to core instruction. Students can partici-
tation and instruction. School personnel participate
pate in instructional blocks at each grade level.
in grade-level teams or multidisciplinary teams to
Students receive instruction in small groups of four
work collaboratively to analyze student data and
or five students based on ability level, three to five
make decisions about the intervention process. The
times weekly for 20 to 30 minutes per day. Ongoing
data collected during screening and progress
assessment is recommended twice a month on the
monitoring is used to make decisions about student
target skill identified for intervention. The interven-
learning and instruction. School personnel use data
tionists can include the classroom teacher, reading
to decide when students will move from one tier to
specialist, or other trained personnel. Tier 3 interven-
another or when a student will be evaluated for
tion is determined when students have not responded
special education.
well to Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction. Instruction at the
tertiary level is delivered by a reading specialist or
special education teacher, either individually or in
small groups of two to three students. The emphasis Expanded Roles in RTI
is on explicit and systematic instruction that is sus-
tained and intensive. Tier 3 students are viewed as the As schools and school districts implement RTI pro-
most likely candidates for special education. grams, new and changing roles are emerging for
school administrators, general education teachers,
and specialists, such as special educators, school
Progress Monitoring
psychologists, and speech and language pathologists.
Progress monitoring is a scientifically based prac- RTI presents more opportunities for collaborative
tice used to generate data about childrens short-term teaming among school personnel to help improve
academic progress and to evaluate the effectiveness students academic skills and behavior. Successful
of instruction. Typically, schools screen an entire implementation of RTI programs requires strong
class three times a year to monitor student perfor- leadership at all levels of school administration. The
mance. Progress monitoring increases once a student RTI approach also requires that general education
has been identified by screening measures as at risk teachers and specialists collaborate to engage in
for achievement delay. One question that a school assessment and intervention activities to address
6. Response to Intervention and Its Impact on Classroom Performance91

individual student needs. This section describes how of atypical development and learning. Teachers also
the roles of school personnel have changed and have to demonstrate competency in the use of screen-
expanded within the RTI framework. ing and assessment tools, data collection, and deci-
sion making. For example, general education teachers
The Role of School Administrators use data collection to make informed decisions that
guide instruction for students designated at risk for
School administrators at every level provide lead- reading, math, or behavior problems. Teachers have a
ership in the planning, implementation, and evalua- significant role in providing supplemental instruc-
tion of the RTI service delivery model. The strong tion and monitoring progress to ensure that students
focus on effective classroom teaching has become are reading by the third grade. One of the positive
central to the role of school administrators. Principals, consequences of RTI is the availability of supports to
for example, are spending more time as instructional allow teachers to carry out their role. General educa-
leaders engaging staff in early literacy development tion teachers work collaboratively with specialists to
and instruction. School administrators have the role improve educational and behavioral outcomes of
of implementing educational reform efforts that students.
require the need to structure professional develop-
ment to maximize resources. School districts have
moved from separate professional development The Role of Specialists
based on categorical programs to an integrative sys- Special Education Teachers
tem of training that underscores both the principles
and components of RTI to ensure fidelity in program The RTI approach has afforded many opportuni-
implementation. Vaughn and Roberts (2007) indi- ties for special education teachers to take leadership
cate that leaders should support prevention-oriented roles and work collaboratively with generalists and
practices and ongoing professional development to with students in various settings. Prior to RTI, spe-
assure personnel is knowledgeable about effective cial education teachers worked specifically with
interventions. students identified with a disability. Today, special
Part of the evaluation process of the RTI model educators are increasingly called on to provide
requires that principals determine the effectiveness intervention to students without special needs.
of the RTI delivery model in reducing the number of Special education teachers have expertise in teach-
students referred for special education. When the ing strategies that can enhance learning of all stu-
RTI program simply delays the referral of students dents. According to William Bender (2009), special
for formalized testing, the effectiveness of the educators have developed the skills required for
model needs to be addressed. This requires an RTI that include individual, curriculum-based mea-
emphasis on effective communication and collabo- surement for progress monitoring and individual-
ration among school administrators, generalists, and ized tutoring. These interventions, along with
specialists. high-quality, effective instruction in the classroom,
can reduce the number of students identified as
The Role of General Education Teachers learning disabled.

The RTI model places high expectations for gen- Speech and Language Pathologists
eral education teachers who have seen an expansion
of their role within the classroom. Teachers are Speech and language pathologists have had the
expected to be trained in various reading and traditional role of intervention within the special
behavior interventions. RTI has increased the role of education program but will need to expand that role to
teachers as interventionists in that now they need to include prevention and identification of at-risk stu-
focus more time on making accommodations and dents in general education. This requires consultation
differentiating instruction for diverse learners. and collaboration with general education teachers,
Because the majority of students identified for decreasing the time spent on a traditional pullout
special education have learning disabilities, teachers program where students are removed from the
require foundational knowledge and understanding general education classroom to receive intervention.

Ehren, Montgomery, Rudebusch, and Whitmore (n.d.) Evaluating the students cognitive functioning
identify the contributions that speech and language Determining the most useful procedures to address
pathologists can make within the RTI model: referral concerns and the needs of the individual
Explain the role that language plays in curriculum, Evaluating the students relevant academic,
assessment, and instruction, as a basis for behavioral, and mental health functioning
appropriate program design. Working with team members and service providers
Explain the interconnection between spoken and to set realistic goals, design appropriate
written language. instructional strategies and progress-monitoring
Identify and analyze existing literature on procedures, and periodically evaluate student
scientifically based literacy assessment and progress for those receiving special education
intervention approaches. services, using RTI and other data
Assist in the selection of screening measures.
Help identify systemic patterns of student need with School psychologists have knowledge in data col-
respect to language skills. lection strategies, instruction, behavior support, and
Assist in the selection of scientifically based behavioral assessment that can be used at all levels
literacy intervention. of RTI. This knowledge base can also support pro-
Plan for and conduct professional development on grams for preschool children. Robin Hojnoski and
the language basis of literacy and learning. Kristen Missall (2006) advocate for a contemporary
Interpret a schools progress in meeting the
model of school psychology that expands the role of
intervention needs of its students.
the school psychologist to include a collaborative
effort with early education to emphasize a prevention-
Speech and language pathologists have expertise
oriented approach that prepares all children for
in the development of speech and language skills that
school readiness.
can be used to support students in general education
and those who move on to special education.
RTI and English Language Learners
School Psychologists
IDEA 2004 made specific recommendations for the
Similar to speech and language pathologists, school
assessment and instruction of students with limited
psychologists are closely connected to special educa-
English proficiency. These recommendations speak
tion programs. School psychologists have traditionally
to the need to take into account the experiences and
spent the majority of their time conducting psychologi-
cultural background of students, as well as their
cal and educational evaluations to determine special
English language proficiency. NCLB requires that all
education eligibility. The RTI framework can reallocate
students be taught by highly qualified teachers.
more time for school psychologists to address
However, as Shernaz B. Garcia and Alba A. Ortiz
academic and mental health concerns early in primary
(2006) report, many students from culturally and
prevention to reduce time spent on special education
linguistically diverse backgrounds are being
evaluations. Direct contact with students has tradition-
educated in low-income and urban schools staffed
ally involved short-term counseling and behavioral
with teachers who are relatively inexperienced with
interventions. According to the National Association of
culturally and linguistically diverse learners, teaching
School Psychologists (NASP, 2010), RTI has created
out-of-field, and/or on emergency certification
new opportunities for school psychologists to work
plans (p. 65). Debra Kamps and colleagues (2007)
directly with generalists and students:
found that in urban schools there are limited resources
Consulting with teachers and parents regarding early
available to address both language and literacy
intervention activities in the classroom and at home instruction for ELLs. Kenji Hakuta (2011) argues
Observing students in the instructional environment that ELLs have the challenge of learning a new
in order to help identify appropriate intervention language while mastering academic content.
strategies, to identify barriers to intervention, and to Robert Rueda and Michelle P. Windmueller (2006)
collect response to intervention data contend that it is important to look at multiple-level
6. Response to Intervention and Its Impact on Classroom Performance93

approaches to address educational intervention and Students who have not responded to secondary-tiered
remediation. The focus on intervention with students intervention are referred for a special education
in special education with learning disabilities has evaluation to determine the need for more intensive
primarily centered on the cognitive framework. It is tertiary-tiered intervention.
critical to examine the diverse sociocultural context Garcia and Ortiz (2006) suggest that an important
of schools that serve children. Daniel J. Losen and element of preventing school achievement and fail-
Gary Orfield (2002) affirm that children with special ure for ELLs is for educators to have the expectation
needs from racial minorities and children with spe- that all students can learn. This is one of the underly-
cial needs who are ELLs often receive inadequate ing principles of RTI discussed earlier. Klinger
special education services, have limited access to a and colleagues (2006) state that experts in second-
high-quality curriculum and high-quality instruction, language acquisition should form part of collabora-
and are often isolated from their peers who are non- tive teams to support students learning needs and
disabled. These studies provide a context in which to help implement research-based interventions.
examine an RTI intervention service delivery model
for culturally and linguistically diverse students.
RTI emphasizes the need to support struggling RTI in Middle and High School
learners early to reduce inappropriate special educa-
tion referrals. One of the concerns is that educators The principles and the essential components of RTI
lack the pedagogical knowledge and skills to deter- are not as well understood by school personnel within
mine if an English language learner may be strug- secondary (middle and high school) levels. Few
gling to read due to a learning disability or research studies have examined the implementation
second-language issues. It is often difficult to make of RTI at the secondary level. Bender (2009) states
eligibility decisions about ELLs. Oftentimes, schools that wide variation between elementary and second-
make the determination to wait until a child has ary schools makes it more challenging to implement
acquired English proficiency before beginning the RTI at the secondary level. Secondary schools deliver
process of early intervention. The decision to wait a departmentalized curriculum in which students
places many ELLs at a disadvantage since they have various classes and teachers focus on a single
would benefit from research-based interventions subject area. Secondary teachers instruct a signifi-
(Klingner, Artiles, & Mendez Barletta, 2006). cantly higher number of students than elementary
Claudia Rinaldi and Jennifer Samson (2008) have teachers, giving them less knowledge of individual
proposed a three-tiered RTI model to address the students. Teachers express concerns that, when time
needs of ELLs. At Tier 1, universal screening of all is spent on teaching students to read, it takes time
students entails curriculum-based measurement away from delivering content material. An additional
where information on oral language proficiency and concern is that secondary teachers may not have the
academic language proficiency is collected by training to provide intensive remediation.
examining a students level of interpersonal English Sharon Vaughn and Jack Fletcher (2012) con-
language proficiency and native language profi- ducted a multiyear study with secondary (i.e., middle
ciency. Academic language includes comprehension school) students, Grades 6 to 8, with reading difficul-
and vocabulary development that can be assessed in ties. They found that the multitiered approach to
the native language and compared to English. It is instruction and intervention was different as com-
important to address any recommendations made by pared to its implementation in elementary schools.
bilingual education personnel. Progress monitoring Secondary students do not need to progress through
of at-risk ELLs should include informal measures. At tiers but can progress to less or more intensive inter-
Tier 2, students receive small-group tutoring and ventions based on their current performance and
continued progress monitoring. Once instruction is instructional needs rather than responsiveness to
delivered, the ELLs rate of progress and level of intervention. Furthermore, documentation of less
English language proficiency are measured. intensive interventions are not required with second-
Additionally, informal measures are used to collect ary students with the lowest scores since the best
data and track academic language proficiency. predictor of low RTI in Year 3 of treatment is very

low reading achievement at the beginning of Year 1 While positive effects are seen with students in
(p. 252). These students can move directly into second through fifth grades, reading difficulties are
intensive remediation. more challenging to remediate. In a review of the
research, Vaughn and Fletcher (2012) found that
only moderate reading gains and limited effects are
RTI Impact on Classroom Performance noted for secondary level students with very low
reading achievement. They contend that a better
Reviews and meta-analyses provide documentation understanding is needed of the instructional
of the role of RTI in improving classroom perfor- demands of secondary students with persistent
mance (Al Otaiba & Torgesen, 2007; Denton, 2012; reading disabilities (p. 253).
Hughes & Dexter, 2011; Vaughn & Fletcher, 2012). In a review of field studies of RTI programs,
This research suggests that RTI has led to decreases Charles Hughes and Douglas D. Dexter (2011) report
in special education referrals and increases in read- on findings on the impact on classroom performance.
ing performance. However, experimental and quasi- The first finding is that all of the studies reported
experimental research is still needed to increase improvement in academic achievement of at-risk
validation of RTI. students as a result of RTI programs. The second
finding indicates that improvements in academic
Reduction in Special Education Referrals skills are relegated to early reading skills for students
in elementary school. The third finding shows that
The Data Accountability Center (U.S. Department referral and placement rates for special education
of Education, 2011) states that since 2004 there has have remained constant, with some studies showing
been a 3.9% drop in the number of students aged 6 to decreases.
21 who receive special education services and a Kamps and colleagues (2007) reported that ELLs
12.4% drop in the number of students identified as who participated in a three-tiered RTI process
having a specific learning disability. Stephanie Al showed significantly more academic growth in early
Otaiba and Joseph K. Torgesen (2007) indicate that literacy skills than students receiving only English as
some RTI programs have reduced the number of stu- a second-language (ESL) instruction. Students who
dents with significant difficulty learning to read to participated in the RTI process received evidence-
1% to 2% of the population. This data shows that RTI based secondary-tier interventions that included
may be increasing the options within general educa- small-group tutoring.
tion to support underachieving students while at the Overall, studies of multitiered interventions reveal
same time it is decreasing the number of students that students who participate in treatment groups
moving into special education. where a standard protocol reading intervention is
administered, individually or in small groups, per-
Reading Outcomes form better on measures of reading. These studies
also report a reduction in the percentages of students
Carolyn Denton (2012) reviewed the research on who remain at risk for reading difficulties.
RTI programs and reading difficulties in primary
grades and found that supplemental interventions at
Tiers 2 and 3 are most effective when provided in the The Future of RTI
early grades (i.e., kindergarten to first grade). This
underscores the importance of early intervention in Several obstacles still challenge RTI implementation.
preventing serious reading problems. For example, a RTI can be costly and schools have limited resources;
student with a decoding problem has decreased there is confusion regarding IDEA regulations and
opportunities to read text and this may evolve into a RTI implementation; and the responsibilities for
learning disability characterized by low fluency, generalists and specialists have expanded. However,
poor vocabulary, and limited world knowledge, all RTI implementation has led to several positive
contributing to impaired reading comprehension accomplishments that include universal screenings
(p. 233). and progress monitoring; early evidence-based
6. Response to Intervention and Its Impact on Classroom Performance95

intervention for struggling students; a move away special education testing is started. However, when
from a child deficit model; and an alternative to the parent or an agency makes a formal request for
discrepancy formula for LD identification. an evaluation, the school district must comply and
Researchers have reflected on the last 10 years of begin the formal evaluation process. Schools cannot
RTI implementation and have proposed recommen- deny the parent an evaluation if the child has not
dations to improve RTI intervention and prevention participated in the RTI process as this would violate
delivery systems. the child find mandate. IDEA allows schools to
document whether a student has responded to RTI
interventions for special education eligibility, but it
Challenges of Response to Intervention
is not a federal requirement. Edward J. Kameenui
Costly Interventions and Limited Resources (2007) states that RTI will require careful federal
guidance and direction which is still forthcoming,
RTI is costly both in time and resources. Schools particularly in the due process procedures invoked in
have to use their resources in the most efficient way identifying or failing to identify students who may
while maximizing the opportunities for student aca- have a learning disability.
demic and behavioral success. Prior to RTI, schools Cecil R. Reynolds and Sally E. Shaywitz (2009)
did not engage in universal screening. One of the caution against the use of the RTI model to determine
concerns with universal screening is that it can pro- a specific learning disability, such as dyslexia.
duce a large number of false positives, or students Dyslexia is defined as having a reading problem
who are considered at risk and placed in Tier 2 inter- despite normal cognitive ability, therefore a full
vention unnecessarily. False positives can lead to evaluation including consideration of their history,
costly interventions such as small-group tutoring. oral language acquisition, literacy skills (including
Progress monitoring also requires frequent costly fluency), and cognitive ability is necessary (p. 142).
testing. Schools are expending resources to ensure The authors go on to say that a comprehensive
that effective interventions are provided to students evaluation is needed to identify areas of strength and
not responding to instruction. School administrators weakness.
have to spend time selecting a variety of measure-
ment tools that are reasonable in cost and easy to
Expansion of Roles
A successful RTI model requires that school per-
Confusion Over IDEA Regulations sonnel expand their roles to support new demands for
intervention and assessment. This may be a challenge
The use of RTI for LD identification has led to as traditional roles already place time constraints on
confusion and myths about the special education generalists and specialists. General education teach-
referral process. The National Dissemination Center ers may not have the classroom management skills to
for Children with Disabilities (2013) cautions that provide intervention services for struggling students
RTI cannot be used by schools to delay or refuse an while the rest of the students engage in independent
evaluation for special education. The 2004 reauthori- work. General education teachers also require a high
zation of IDEA included a mandate known as child level of expertise in various areas such as literacy
find that requires public school districts to locate development and instruction, second-language acqui-
students, birth through age 21 years, with suspected sition, and assessment. This requires a commitment
disabilities and who are in need of special education from school administrators and districts to provide
services, and refer them for evaluation within a rea- professional development and opportunities for
sonable time. RTI has evolved within the context of collaborative consultation.
legal requirements for special education referrals and Specialists, such as school psychologists, have
evaluations, posing challenges for educators. While high caseloads and may not have the time to engage
one goal of RTI is to identify students at risk for in the development and implementation of an RTI
reading problems, the trend is toward providing Tier model. Despite federal legislation that no longer
2 high-quality research-based interventions before requires a significant discrepancy between aptitude

and academic achievement or the use of intelligence intervention, along with the knowledge that most
tests, school psychologists continue to spend the students in special education have a specific learning
majority of their time conducting psychoeducational disability in reading. Early in the RTI process, stu-
assessments to determine eligibility for special edu- dents are provided with evidence-based intervention
cation placement. Allocating more time to primary to prevent severe reading problems that may lead to
prevention will require that specialists, generalists, learning disabilities. More schools are now using
and school administrators have an open mind to how evidence-based intervention to support students with
students are identified for intervention and the math and behavior problems.
willingness to adapt a more systemic approach to
serving schools. Move Away From Child Deficit Model

Lack of Universal RTI Framework School personnel have had to conceptualize stu-
dent learning and behavior problems from an eco-
The 2004 IDEA legislation introduced response to logical and cultural perspective. Response to
intervention terminology and encouraged schools to intervention takes the focus away from a child deficit
use 15% of their special education money to provide model where a learning disability is thought to exist
intervention within regular education. IDEA required in the child and places it on the students learning
that schools use evidence-based instruction and environment and his or her access to research-based
administer regular assessments to measure student instruction.
progress. What IDEA did not do was specify how an
RTI model should be designed, implemented, or eval- Alternative to LD Discrepancy Formula
uated. Furthermore, it did not require a structure with Identification
tiers or levels. IDEA also did not specify how often
student progress should be assessed. This high degree In 2003, Sharon Vaughn and Lynn S. Fuchs con-
of flexibility has led researchers and practitioners to ceived of RTI as a viable alternative to LD discrep-
use various approaches to developing models of RTI. ancy formula. They noted that RTI would lead to
earlier identification of struggling students, preven-
tion of academic problems, and progress assessment
Accomplishments of RTI with clear implication for academic programming.
Universal Screening and Progress Monitoring According to Dawn Flanagan and Vincent Alfonso
(2011), using an RTI service delivery system to iden-
One of RTIs greatest accomplishments to date is tify specific learning disabilities has an advantage in
the use of informal screening for the purpose of early that the instructional response components are
identification with students who require some addi- embedded in the identification process, streamlining
tional help. While achievement monitoring has always eligibility decisions and directly linking special edu-
been a hallmark of special education, RTI requires cation services with those provided in general educa-
progress monitoring in general education as well. tion (p. 127). RTI has also led to the use of multiple
During instruction, schools must administer formal sources of data to address student academic delays,
achievement assessments at reasonable intervals and minimizing the impact of biases and limitations of
provide this information to the childs parents. standardized norm-referenced IQ measures.
Progress monitoring can inform intervention design,
implementation, and modification. Teachers make
decisions about data collection to determine if stu- Improving RTI Service Delivery Models
dents are benefiting from the instructional program. Smart RTI

Evidence-Based Interventions Douglas Fuchs and colleagues (2012) offer rec-

ommendations for how to improve RTI. They advo-
RTI began as a model for K-3 and reading inter- cate for a Smart RTI model that emphasizes three
vention. This is due to the extensive research base on levels of prevention. Primary prevention refers to the
the prevention of reading difficulties through early first level of instruction that students receive within
6. Response to Intervention and Its Impact on Classroom Performance97

the regular education classroom. Secondary preven- before receiving more intensive special education
tion refers to the intervention services students services within the tertiary prevention level. Studies
receive that typically involve small-group instruction show that a more in-depth assessment can accurately
based on an empirically validated tutoring program. identify students who are reliably predicted not to
Tertiary prevention refers to the more intensive respond to small-group tutoring. A multistage assess-
services provided by special education personnel. ment should include data collection from universal
Fuchs et al. (2012) clarify the assumptions behind screening; 6 weeks of progress monitoring within
Smart RTI. primary prevention; teacher ratings of student atten-
One assumption behind Smart RTI is that the tion and behavior; and a battery of norm-referenced
model should not be used to prevent special educa- tests.
tion placement. The overall goal of Smart RTI is for
educators to address the more global consequences Sustainability
of school failure such as school dropout, unemploy-
ment, and incarceration. The second assumption Hughes and Dexter (2011) report on critical fac-
assumes that a comprehensive framework will reduce tors that relate to the sustainability of RTI programs,
but does not eliminate the need for tertiary preven-
Extensive, ongoing professional development
tion. Some students will need temporary services
Administrative support at the system and building
from special education while other students with
severe learning problems will require more intensive Teacher buy-in and willingness to adjust their
remediation from a special educator. The third traditional instructional roles
assumption is that specialized expertise is necessary Involvement of all school personnel
within every level of Smart RTI. The authors argue Adequate meeting time for coordination (p. 10)
that the regular education teacher cannot be held
responsible for all of the instructional interventions Parent Involvement
needed at the multiple levels of Smart RTI. At the
tertiary level, specialized expertise is needed in the Parent involvement is critical at all levels of the
areas of instructional approaches, curricula, data col- RTI prevention and intervention process. Parents
lection, and data-based instruction for students with need to receive information about how the school is
serious learning disabilities. Special educators have implementing RTI to be enabled to support learning
unique knowledge and skills needed not only at the both at home and school. Information about a
tertiary level when working alone but also when familys ecological and cultural environment can
working in collaboration with generalists within the support the schools ability to support families. The
primary and secondary prevention levels. school has the responsibility to inform a parent about
The assumptions behind Smart RTI align with the assessment results, interventions being used, and the
recommendations for a more effective RTI imple- grade-level expectations for the child. When a child
mentation process. Under a Smart RTI model, a is having academic or behavioral difficulties, the par-
two-stage screening process is recommended to ent plays an important role in working with school
reduce false positives and identify students who are personnel to make decisions about how long to wait
more likely to experience academic difficulty for an intervention to work. In this way, parents can
during primary prevention. Students identified as at help make the determination about when a special
risk are administered a thorough second screening education evaluation is warranted.
following 6 weeks of core instruction. This
minimizes the need to provide costly secondary
intervention services to students who do not require Conclusion
Tier 2 intervention.
Smart RTI also advocates for multistage assess- RTI is both an instructional and prevention frame-
ment within the primary prevention level to avoid an work, characterized by successively more intensive
RTI wait-to-fail model that relegates students to tiers of intervention to correspond to students instruc-
spend time within the secondary intervention level tional needs. RTI has brought about systemic reform

at all levels of the educational process. Most states academic achievement in one or more areasoral
have developed or are developing RTI models to expression, listening comprehension, written expres-
address academic delays and behavior challenges. sion, basic reading skills, reading comprehension,
One of the assumptions of RTI is that all students mathematics calculation, and mathematics reasoning.
can learn. The essential components of RTI include
universal screening, research-based instruction, Evidence-based intervention: Intervention that has
evidence-based intervention, progress monitoring and empirical evidence of effectiveness related to
a multitiered approach to intervention. The 2004 improved outcomes for students.
reauthorization of IDEA allows RTI as a strategy to
use in the identification of learning disabilities. Part Formative assessment: Assessment designed to eval-
of the goal of RTI is to identify students who are uate progress on specific learning objectives during
struggling academically and to provide support for instruction.
those students who may or may not qualify for special
education services. The focus is redirected to elimi- Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement
nate poor instruction as the cause of disability. RTI Act (IDEA) 2004: Legislation that ensures all chil-
implementation has primarily addressed primary dren with special needs receive comprehensive and
grade reading. While RTI programs may have already individualized services through special education or
made some positive changes in both general and spe- related services.
cial education overall, more research studies are
needed to address the impact of RTI on classroom Norm-referenced tests: Standardized measure-
performance and behavior. In addition, more studies ments designed to compare an individual students
would inform how RTI can be conceptualized at the performance to an appropriate peer group.
secondary level.
Pullout program: Instruction is delivered outside of
the general education classroom.
Key Chapter Terms
Research-based reading instruction: Under the
Academic language proficiency: Language needed to No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, instructional
access content from the academic curriculum. Academic programs primarily used in kindergarten through
language includes comprehension and vocabulary. third grade should be based on rigorous scientific
Child deficit model: Based on the medical model that
assumes a disability exists within a child while Response to Intervention (RTI): An approach to inter-
excluding environmental influences. vention for and assessment of students struggling
academically or socially. RTI is used to determine
Child find: A federal mandate of Individuals with eligibility for special education services.
Disabilities Act (IDEA) that requires states to iden-
tify, locate, evaluate, and track students with special Universal screening: Schools administer universal
needs from birth through age 21. screenings to all children that include low-cost, quick
testing from one to three times during the academic
Curriculum-based measurement (CBM): Assessments year in order to assess the effectiveness of the curricu-
used for measuring student competency and progress lum and instruction as well as to address academic
in the areas of reading fluency, spelling, mathematics, problems in a timely manner.
and written language.
Wait-to-fail model: Students with academic problems
Discrepancy formula: A formula used by schools to need to wait for intensive interventions within enti-
determine if a student meets state eligibility criteria tlement programs until they demonstrate a signifi-
for special education. A student must have a signifi- cant discrepancy between intellectual ability and
cant discrepancy between intellectual ability and academic achievement in one or more areas.
6. Response to Intervention and Its Impact on Classroom Performance99

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IN: Solution Tree Press. intervention: A research-based summary, Theory Into
Denton, C. (2012). Response to intervention for reading Practice, 50(1), 411.
difficulties in the primary grades: Some answers and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.
lingering questions. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 108-446 (2004).
45(3), 232243. International Reading Association and National Council
Ehren, B., Montgomery, J., Rudebusch, J., & Whitmore, of Teachers of English. (2009). Standards for the
K., (n.d.). Responsiveness to intervention: New roles assessment of reading and writing. Retrieved from
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http://www.asha.org/SLP/schools/prof-consult/ Kameenui, E. J. (2007). A new paradigm:
NewRolesSLP/ Responsiveness to intervention. Teaching
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research and practice to address reading and C., Wills, H., Longstaff, J., . . . Walton, C. (2007).
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35(2), 198223. instruction for English Language Learners in
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NJ: Wiley. Klingner, J. K., Artiles, A. J., & Mendez Barletta, L.
Fletcher, J. M., & Vaughn, S. (2009). Response to (2006). English language learners who struggle with
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Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. S. (2006). Introduction to inequality in special education. Cambridge,
response to intervention: What, why, and how valid MA: Harvard Education Publishing Group.
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literature on reading and its implications for Disabilities, 39(2), 99107.
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from http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/ Center. (2011). [IDEA 618 data tables]. Retrieved
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B2D44E1990F9/6684/EXSUMNRC.pdf Vaughn, S., & Fletcher, J. M. (2012). Response to
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107110, intervention with secondary school students with
115 Stat. 1425 (2002). reading difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities,
Reynolds, C. P., & Shaywitz, S. E. (2009). Response to 45(3), 244256.
intervention: Ready or not? Or, from wait-to-fail to Vaughn, S., & Fuchs, L. (2003). Redefining learning
watch-them-fail. School Psychology Quarterly, disabilities as inadequate response to instruction:
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40(5), 614. interventions in reading: Providing additional
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Further Readings One of the concerns with the RTI model is the persis-
tent high number of false positives that emerge from
Buysse, V., & Peisner-Fienberg, E. S. (2013). Handbook universal screening. The authors offer solutions to
of response to intervention in early childhood. the problem by illustrating a two-stage screening
Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooks. process that a school can incorporate within its
This book is a foundational resource for early child- RTI service delivery model to reduce unnecessary
hood educators and administrators working to improve interventions.
academic and social success of young learners. The Knoff, H. M. (2009). Implementing response-to-
authors present current research on best practices in intervention at the school, district, and state levels:
applying the RTI model in early childhood settings to Functional assessment, data-based problem solving,
address early intervention. and evidence-based academic and behavioral
Compton, D. L., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Bouton, B., interventions. Bethesda, MD: National Association
Gilbert, J. Barquero, L. A., Cho, E., & Crouch, R. C. of School Psychologists.
(2010). Selecting at-risk first graders for early Written from a practitioners perspective, this resource
intervention: Eliminating false positives and exploring e-book provides much-needed direction in the incorporation
the promise of a two-stage gated screening process. of a data-based, functional assessment problem-solving
Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2), 327341. approach to Response to Intervention implementation.



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

he idea of a common state curriculum that no individual state has the authority to impose its
might become a national model of curriculum own standards on the other 49. Only the federal gov-
is not new. In 1779 Thomas Jefferson drafted ernment has the authority and policy reach to create
a plan for education for the state of Virginia that pro- and impose such a national curriculum, but it was
vided 3 years of public elementary education for all barred by the United States Constitution from doing
children of free men at public expense. The most so. In creating a truly national curriculum, this has
advanced boys could then attend a grammar school been the proverbial rock and the hard place in
with public support. Jefferson included in his model U.S. education; that is, how to have a national but not
curriculum reading, writing, arithmetic, and history federal curriculum when only the federal government
substituted for religious instruction (Tanner & has the power to impose standards, rules, laws, and
Tanner, 1990, p. 34). policies on all the states.
The difference today is that the respective states, The move toward a common national curriculum
via a number of national associations and other by starting with a common set of standards has been
groups with financial backing from the Gates prompted by perceptions that: (1) the curriculum in
Foundation, have crafted a set of standards that U.S. schools, particularly the academic curriculum,
through incentives for adoption would become a de is not demanding enough of American students as
facto national (though, it is argued, not a federal) cur- reflected in international test score comparisons that
riculum. Called the Common Core, these standards show the United States is at the average or below
currently allow state and local school officials to average standing in selected academic areas such as
retrofit some curriculum content to implement math, science, and reading compared to other devel-
them. The assumption is that the standards will oped countries (Rotberg, 2011); (2) the difficulty the
require new rigor and richness in the curriculum respective states have in setting their own curriculum
(Hansel, 2013, p. 32). content and standards and the quandary state legisla-
The wisdom of a common national curriculum has tors and taxpayers have in understanding how good
been debated for many decades, complicated by the their respective states curriculum really is when
fact that the individual states each set their own cur- there is no common yardstick upon which to com-
riculum content, testing protocols, and standards, and pare themselves to the others; and (3) continuing


calls for improved accountability and cost controls and grandchildren born in the United States will
because of political resistance to imposing any account for 82% of the population increase in the
increase in taxes to support public education. United States from 2005 through 2050 (Nasser,
This latter objective is one aimed at improving the 2008). A single curriculum for everyone flies in the
efficiency of public schooling by creating common face of the growing diversity that will be coming to
benchmarks for rating schooling effectiveness. A school in the years ahead.
common curriculum is required to create a compan- Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron (2000)
ion common test. Such a test becomes the anvil upon called the idea that one curriculum was good for
which to engage in collective disciplinary and fiscal everyone the cultural arbitrary, and by that they
decisions regarding the potential laggards. As more meant that human culture is a construct; it is neither
states use the test scores to evaluate teachers, the good nor bad or true nor false. It just is. To elevate
more these tests are considered punitive as opposed one culture above others is essentially a political act
to helpful in improving teaching and instruction. taken by those who are in dominant sociopolitical
Early results of state tests based on the Common positions to ensure that the schools curriculum
Core State Standards show that in New York state, for advances their own social position within the larger
example, only 31% of students in third through social structure (Brantlinger, 2003). This means that
eighth grade met or exceeded the proficiency stan- neither the school nor its curriculum is a neutral
dard in math and reading on state exams in 2013. agent in the process of education, neither in the
This was down from 65% in math and 55% in United States nor anywhere else in the world. It is
English on different tests given a year earlier (Fleisher also a key to understanding some of the causes of the
& Banchero, 2013). When test scores are also used to achievement gap.
hold students back from promotion, parents also
become alarmed (Toppo, 2013). Another more cyni-
cal view of the motivation behind the Common Core An Earlier Conflict With a
State Standards is that it will allow commercial com- Common Curriculum
panies to make huge profits in selling more tests and
new books and supplementary materials as well as One of the earliest conflicts in American curriculum
new technologies by which it will be implemented that involved the idea of a common core was a
(English, 2014). Education is a $650 billion indus- scheme put forward by Franklin Bobbitt (1918/1971)
try, making it Americas second-largest economic in 1912. Bobbitt argued for a scientific approach to
sector (Anderson & Pini, 2011, p. 185). As Gene creating curriculum. He wanted businessmen to have
Glass, a respected and long-time educational more influence on education, especially in shaping
researcher observed, The corporations just woke up curriculum outcomes. Instead of the curriculum sim-
a few years ago to the billions and billions of dollars ply being the traditional subjects in schools, Bobbitt
that exist in public education, and they just decided argued for a different model. He advocated that cur-
to go for it. The incredible thing is how easy it is riculum developers should go into the real world,
(Davis, 2013, p. 52). analyze the jobs that exist in the world, and design
But perhaps the most troublesome issue with the curriculum so that once students graduated from
move toward a common curriculum is who decides school, they could step right into the real world and
what is common? The idea that there is or should be productive citizens.
be a singular curriculum that is good for everyone, at Bobbitt (1918/1971) began with a survey of
all times and in all places, is deeply presumptuous
and ignorant of the fact that the selection of curricu- the science-needs of each social class; and to each they
lum content is an act of choice of many potential would teach only the facts needed; only those that are
to be put to work. In an age of efficiency and economy
facts, figures, and cultures, especially for a country they would seek definitely to eliminate the useless and
that is growing ever more diverse and where the the wasteful. (p. 4)
White population is expected to be the minority
population within the next three decades or sooner. It Bobbitt summarized this approach when he said to
is estimated that new immigrants and their children a group of elementary school teachers, Work up the
7. Multiculturalism Versus the Common Core105

raw material into that finished product for which it is began to develop an approach to creating national
best adapted (Tanner & Tanner, 1990, p. 180). standards in 2008.
As was done during the creation of the Common The move was accelerated when the National
Core State Standards, Bobbitt analyzed jobs of the day Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of
to determine the abilities, attitudes, habits, apprecia- Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) joined together
tions, and forms of knowledge that men need. These and forged a joint agenda. In 2009 a coalition of the
will be the objectives of the curriculum (p. 42). The NGA, CCSO, the National Association of State
same posture of designing a curriculum so that stu- Boards of Education, the Alliance for Excellent
dents will be career ready or ready for college was Education, the Hunt Institute, and the Business
a part of Bobbitts scientific method of curriculum. Roundtable forged ahead with the Common Core
He denied that the model he employed was narrow, State Standards. Only the governors of Alaska and
saying that it would be as wide as life itself (p. 43). Texas refused to participate in the initial develop-
Bobbitts proposed procedure for developing a ment of the Common Core.
common curriculum was opposed by Ohio State From this impetus it can be seen that the creation
University education professor Boyd Bode (1930), of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) repre-
who pointed out that Bobbitts approach was deeply sented a collaborative response to the assumption
antidemocratic because by using existing skill sets he that all children should be career and college ready
also froze the social status quo. Bode wrote: when they exit high school (a similar assumption was
employed earlier by Franklin Bobbitt). Even as this
The genius of democracy expresses itself precisely in assumption has been questioned (Emery & Ohanian,
this continuous remaking of the social fabric. With 2004) as emerging from a value-laden perspective,
regard to curriculum construction it requires, first of
the framers of the CCSS document began to define
all, a type of education that enables the individual, not
only to adapt himself to the existing social order, but to the important outcomes such a goal would entail.
take part in its remaking in the interests of a greater At least 50% of writing a curriculum begins with
freedom. (pp. 1920) specifying the outcomes to be obtained. Such out-
comes can be called goals, objectives, benchmarks or
Creating a common curriculum based on existing standards. Imagine a standard being a plan to travel
jobs and roles in the real world also mirrored the to a specific destination, say from New York City to
division of labor in that world that was skewed along Madrid, Spain. The standard might include not only
racial and gender lines. Training people for the exist- the destination but the need to reach it in a specific
ing world of work reproduces that world. School time period, say 2 days. About the only way to
systems and other educational agencies that used accomplish this standard would be to fly. The way
Bobbitts approach soon had to abandon it because this standard is stipulated limits the means to achieve
the jobs the curriculum was designed to prepare stu- it. So, while in theory there are optional decisions in
dents to do were changed or vanished. the use of standards, the options are circumscribed.
Curricular outcomes are always deeply entrenched
in sets of values and assumptions about what knowl-
The Contemporary Common Core edge is best suited to accomplish them. In this
Movement Briefly Reviewed respect the classic book The Saber-Tooth Curriculum
written by J. Abner Peddiwell (aka Harold Benjamin)
Robert Rothman (2011) has indicated that the move- in 1939 remains the enduring example and still a
ment to create the Common Core State Standards worthwhile read for any contemporary educational
began in 2006 when former North Carolina governor leader to understand how curriculum, or the delinea-
James B. Hunt convened a small band of educators tion of the classroom content to be taught, is a prod-
and policy developers in a meeting in Raleigh to uct of what the framers believe schools or education
consider creating national curriculum standards. should be about. It is a far cry from a culturally
Following this meeting scholarly papers were com- neutral position about what knowledge and values
missioned to examine the impact of having national are most worthy to be included in the schools
curriculum standards. After this the Hunt Institute curriculum.

The developers of the CCSS began by drafting a and revision of the document as new research is
target set of outcomes: the College and Career conducted and the standards are implemented.
Readiness (CCR) Standards for all students.
Beginning with the end in mind allowed for the Basic Premise: Purpose for the CCSS
development of step-by-step understandings through-
out K-12 schooling. They used the CCR Standards to The perceived need for a common set of standards
anchor their thinking as they determined grade-level that prepare students for college and careers was the
expectations beginning with high school and moving primary rationale for the CCSS document. Drawing
backward to kindergarten. This created a trajectory on the intended purpose, the standards outline spe-
from kindergarten to Grade 12 and formed a progres- cific expectations for student learning on this path.
sion of skills that builds by grade level to the CCR They are intended to be rigorous and set high expecta-
Standards. tions for applying knowledge in real-world situations.
The CCR workgroups used existing state stan- In addition, the writers of the standards worked with a
dards, international benchmarks from top-performing goal to provide clear and precise language so the stan-
countries, and research from college entrance exams dards would be easily understood and applicable to all
and reports to inform their thinking. Using these stakeholders. While taking pains to point out that the
documents allowed the workgroups to meet several CCSS were not initiated by the federal government,
important goals. Though relying on the best of the the developers of CCSS promote the benefits of com-
state standards available, they sought to create a suc- mon standards for all students across the nation.
cinct set of standards that were clear and rigorous. The proposed benefits of common educational
Using international benchmarks allowed the framers standards include a high-quality education for all
to focus on developing standards that would prepare students regardless of where they live. The hope is
students for competition in a global economy and that as families move from state to state and from
society. Depending on research and evidence from school to school, their educational experience will be
college entrance exams and reports helped them based on the same standards and therefore be consis-
align the standards to college and career readiness tent. It is hoped that the standards will provide oppor-
expectations. tunities for sharing resources as schools, districts,
In addition to taking existing standards, bench- and states implement common standards. The com-
marks, and research into consideration, the framers mon standards are also expected to create a more
gathered advice and feedback from several stake- informed, globally competitive citizenry and society.
holders. Important to the process was the develop-
ment of a Validation Committee (VC) made up of What Educational Leaders Need to Know
school personnel and experts on academic standards. Standards and Curriculum
VC members were selected by governors and CCSSO
members to review the process for developing the It is important to make a distinction between stan-
standards and determine whether the evidence used dards and curriculum. Standards are a set of guide-
to create the standards was sufficient. The VC met lines that describe what students need to know and be
for one day and provided feedback. able to do. Standards are not curriculum, but are
The framers also worked with an advisory group aligned with curricular materials and practices. This
with members from Achieve, Inc.; the College means standards do not include instructions for
Board; the National Association of State Boards of teaching, lesson plans for delivering content, or
Education; and the State Higher Education Executive directions for assessing students understanding.
Officers. Additional feedback was gathered from They are the what (to teach), but not the how (to
teachers, parents, school administrators, business teach or assess it). Table 7.1 further explains the
leaders, and content experts. The NGA and CCSSO distinction between standards and curriculum.
received nearly 10,000 comments during the two Since the release of the CCSS, some supplemen-
time periods when written comments from the public tary materials (outside of the standards and document
were accepted. The intent was, and continues to be, review process) have been released to inform stake-
for the feedback process to be an avenue for review holders regarding curricular materials and practices.
7. Multiculturalism Versus the Common Core107

StandardsThe What CurriculumThe How

Describes what students need to know and be able to do Describes how students will learn the standards
Adopted by the State Board of Education as state level Adopted by local education agencies as local policy
policy (mandated) and usually referred to as the Standard (often mandated) and usually referred to as
Course of Study curriculum maps, pacing guides, curriculum
frameworks, and so forth
The Standard Course of Study in most states includes the Includes all goals, objectives, and plans as well as
Common Core State Standards for English language arts lessons, activities, and tasks
and math and standards for additional disciplines
Encompasses students strategies for learning and
teachers methods for instructing
Includes demonstration of progress toward outcomes
(various assessmentsformative, summative)
Includes materials used to teach the standards (all
texts, digital devices, organizers, etc.)

Table 7.1 Standards and Curriculum

SOURCE: Cynthia Dewey

These materials included several sets of publishers Educational administrators, as instructional

criteria, which were written by the developers of the leaders acting within the guidelines and policies of
CCSS to guide educational publishers in aligning their local education agencies, make curricular
their English and math materials to the standards. decisions regarding teaching practices, materials,
Educational researchers and practitioners labeled and assessments that align with state adopted stan-
some of these materials, including the initial drafts of dards. They support and guide educators as they
the publishers criteria, as inconsistent with the body plan and implement lessons and tasks that provide
of research and practice in the field. These materials the educational experiences students need in order
were also incongruent with the intent of the standards to reach the outcomes defined by the standards.
document, which is clear throughout in differentiating They ensure educators have the necessary curricu-
standards and curriculum, and states that the CCSS lar materials to accomplish this work. They assist
do not tell teachers how to teach, but what to teach. educators in establishing and reaching goals for
Recommendations considered inconsistent with student achievement based upon collaboratively
research findings were: avoiding or limiting pre- monitoring and analyzing student data toward meet-
teaching practices when introducing texts; teaching ing outcomes.
students at their frustration level, or using texts that In order to serve as informed instructional leaders,
require some assistance from the instructor to under- educational administrators need to have a working
stand; and drastically reducing teaching narrative knowledge of the CCSS and recognition of curricular
writing and literature in the English language arts alignment to the standards (Table 7.2). More pre-
classroom. Researchers and practitioners are calling cisely, instructional leaders need to be able to observe
for evidence-based practice recommendations to sup- a lesson and document whether or not the teaching
port teaching of the CCSS and have criticized the observed is preparing students for the desired out-
supplementary curricular documents and videos that come defined by the CCSS and whether or not the
recommend practice outside of current research and assessment administered is measuring student
evidence-based understandings. achievement of the desired standard.

Standards: Look for a small set of standards for a task or lesson

What is being taught and analyze them closely.
The CCSS are intended to be fewer, clearer, and more
demanding than previous standards. This should
decrease the number of standards taught in each task or
lesson and provide more focused instruction. Be sure to
analyze the standards closely to gain an understanding
of what the standards are expecting students to know
and be able to do.
Curriculum: Look for clear alignment to the standards.
How the standards are addressed Are the standards listed in the task or lesson completely
addressed within the lesson?
Are students demonstrating the skills and abilities to
meet the outcomes described within the standards
Assessments: Look for clear alignment to the standards.
How the standards are assessed Are students demonstrating the outcomes described in
the standards listed?
Are data gathered regarding students progress toward
meeting these outcomes?

Table 7.2 What Do Educational Leaders Need to Know?

SOURCE: Cynthia Dewey

For example, suppose an educator has planned a within the standard without addressing the intended
task that focuses on Reading Standard for outcome of the standard.
Informational Text for Grade 5, Standard #6 (RI.5.6):
Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or Building Capacity
topic, noting important similarities and differences in
the point of view they represent (NGA & CCSO, The CCSS are a new set of educational stan-
2010, p. 14). The educational administrator needs to dards. They are intended to be different than previ-
be able to recognize the intent of the standard and ous standards in order to better prepare students for
look for ways the educator is teaching and assessing college and career, largely based upon ACT studies
this standard within the task. It is important that the from 2006 and 2009 that revealed students were
administrator can tease out what the standard is underprepared to meet these challenges. This neces-
specifying. sitates changes in teaching to meet the outcomes
This standard requires a particular understanding described in the standards. In order to prepare for
of point of view with informational text. With litera- these changes, educational leaders will need to plan
ture, point of view is most likely taught as identifica- for capacity building. Educators will need profes-
tion of first-person, second-person, and third-person sional knowledge and materials in order to meet the
point of view. The standard requires students to ana- tasks ahead. The role of the educational leader will
lyze the content of multiple texts by comparing and be to provide opportunities for educators to build
contrasting them focused on viewpoints presented the professional knowledge and skills necessary and
about a topic or event. It is this type of analysis of the will need to provide access to different curricular
standards that is necessary to determine alignment of materials.
standards to teaching and assessment. It is not Educators will need to read and analyze the
enough to align teaching and assessment to a concept standards with the intended purpose and guiding
7. Multiculturalism Versus the Common Core109

framework of the standards in mind. Since the stan- mind what their students will need to know and be
dards were designed to prepare students for college able to do for the grade they instruct and also the
and career readiness, educators will need to study the skills and abilities that come before and after. This
progression of standards to understand how teaching will support their ability to develop differentiated
their grade-level standards contributes to the progres- lessons for students. They will also gain an under-
sion of skills necessary in reaching the intended standing of ways to match curricular materials to the
readiness outcomes. tasks and lessons they design. If this step is also
For example, understanding how point of view is collaborative, it will allow for sharing of materials
described in Reading Standard 6 for both literature and realignment to best match their newly designed
and informational texts across grade levels will tasks and lessons. It is probable that different and
impact how teachers instruct students at their partic- new materials will be required to meet their goals
ular grade level. It will provide insight into how the and educators will need support in gaining access to
skills build from one year to the next so that students the materials they need.
are able to meet the intended outcomes by the time One of the proposed benefits of the CCSS is the
they graduate from high school. More specifically, abundance of implementation materials concurrently
fifth-grade teachers will need to know that students under development. Each state that has adopted the
compare and contrast first and third person point CCSS is creating a storehouse of resources for imple-
of view when reading literature and first-hand and mentation that includes lesson plans and materials.
second-hand accounts of the same events or topics Searching state education websites will provide
and describe differences in focus when reading infor- insight into the implementation process and access to
mational texts in Grade 4. They will also need to exemplar lessons and resources for teaching that can
know how the author develops point of view in lit- serve as either benchmarks or models for lesson
erature and how to determine an authors point of design.
view in informational text in Grade 6. This is just the
first small step, however. Reading across all of the
grade-level standards will help build an understand- Flash Points: Pushback, Problems, and
ing of the intent of the standards as educators go Politics With the Common Core
about the work of designing tasks and lessons.
Professional development can build capacity by The Common Core, and with it the distinct possi-
focusing on reading across the standards to gain bility of an emerging common national curriculum,
these connected understandings through defining revolves around several critical flash points.
key concepts and the desired outcomes. The appendi- They are:
ces of the CCSS documents are also important and
can inform this work. For English language arts, for Lack of political agreement over the proper
example, educators can work together to define what curriculum content to be included, sometimes
is intended for each grade level for important key referred to as the culture wars
concepts, such as: point of view, textual evidence, Disputes regarding the jurisdictional political
theme, central idea, objective summary, text struc- boundaries between federal, state, and local
ture, diverse formats, media, argument, claims, suf- educational authorities
Questions regarding the so-called rigor of the U.S.
ficiency of evidence, and complex texts, to name a
curriculum, if it can be considered as a collective
few. This collaborative work will provide a common
entity of the 50 states, and the extent to which
understanding and support the trajectory of the stan- curriculum should be an instrument of maintaining
dards progression. national economic dominance
After a thorough examination of the intent of the Issues concerning testing and assessment and the
standards to build college and career readiness continuing existence of the achievement gap
through a progression of skills, educators can ana- Issues concerning where to set test-score cutoffs to
lyze their grade-level standards to determine ways be fair to all students
to design tasks and lessons that align with the
desired outcomes. In doing so, they will have in These issues are now reviewed in greater detail.

Curriculum Flash Point 1: Right Knowledge a dominant group can be seen as a form of culture
and Curriculum Content Selection war in which those in power seek to maintain the
status quo.
The creation of a curriculum involves the identifi- The issue of whose interests are being pursued in
cation of a specific form, type, and set of cultural the designation of curriculum content was high-
values advanced by the creators. There is no value- lighted when the Texas State Board of Education
free curriculum. Curriculum construction per se may declined to require third graders to know about
be considered a form of engineering, but the inclu- Dolores Huerta, who was a key figure in the fight for
sion of the content within it involves a consideration farm workers rights but also was a prominent advo-
of what is worth knowing. And the question about cate of unrestricted abortion and socialism, the hon-
which knowledge is of most worth was forcefully orary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America,
asked in 1860 by Herbert Spencer in a prescient and therefore, arguably, not a role model for third
essay. His answer was that certain life activities graders (Upham, 2010, p. A17). And why would
ranked in the following order should form the basis Huerta not be appropriate as a role model? Because
of selecting the right knowledge: the cultural values of the groups who control the cur-
riculum find her a threat to their own social position.
1. Knowledge that relates to self-preservation Disputes in some states over whether evolution
2. Knowledge regarding obtaining lifes necessities should be taught in schools, and whether creationism
should be taught as a plausible alternative to evolu-
3. Knowledge in the rearing and disciplining of
offspring (children) tion, also illustrate the conflict over values in curricu-
lum design. The culture wars will continue to break
4. Knowledge in maintaining ones social and political out in the future over points of conflict with school
relations curriculum.
5. Knowledge regarding the spending of leisure time
in pursuit of ones tastes and feelings (p. 32)
Curriculum Flash Point 2: Conflict Over
Political Boundaries and the Role
It should be obvious rather immediately that the of Government
answers to Spencers questions would be deeply
embedded in a persons culture. For example, to How the Common Core was developed is fairly
respond to the question regarding self-preservation clear. What isnt clear, at least to many conserva-
would involve the matter of food. Bourdieu (2009) tives, is how the Obama administration, which
has pointed out that what one culture considers encouraged the adoption of the Common Core
delicious food another culture may consider bar- through the Race to the Top grant competition and
baric or even quite repulsive. Take sushi. The idea waivers to the requirements of the No Child Left
of eating raw fish is decidedly a matter of cultural Behind Act, could be involved without being in
conditioning. charge of it (see Ujifusa, 2013). The Common Core
And what one culture considers a necessity has been opposed by the Republican National
another considers a luxury. Owning two cars may be Committee, tea party activists, and some free-market
a matter of economic survival in the United States think tanks (Stern & Klein, 2013). The governor of
when both a mother and father work. In other cul- South Carolina, Nikki Hawley, said that the state
tures automobile ownership itself is reserved only for should not relinquish control of education to the
the extremely wealthy. There is no way around the federal government, neither should we cede it to the
matter of culture, class structure, or wealth in design- consensus of other states (Banchero, 2012). Despite
ing an appropriate curriculum. Values such as those the fact that the National Governors Association and
related to class structure, religion, and race/ethnicity, the Council of Chief State School Officers pushed
as well as those identified as liberal or conservative, hard for the Common Core State Standards, some
or right or left, permeate U.S. public life. Cultural conservative think tank pundits, such as Michael
values inevitably shape curriculum, and as Ira Shor McShane of the American Enterprise Institute,
(1986) has argued, the imposition of a curriculum by believe that the Obama administrations vocal
7. Multiculturalism Versus the Common Core111

support for the initiative [Common Core] is actually novels of Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton and Mark
unbelievably harmful to the common-core effort Twains Huckleberry Finn.
moving forward (Ujifusa, 2013). Some states have For some Common Core advocates, curricular
halted implementation of the Common Core and, as rigor is also determined by international test score
of June 2014, Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina comparisons. For example, Edward Frenkel and
had dropped the standards altogether. Hung-Hsi Wu (2013) warn that Mathematical edu-
cation in the U.S. is in deep crisis. They noted that
Curriculum Flash Point 3: What Constitutes the World Economic Forum ranked the United States
Curricular Rigor and Why It Is Important 48th in the quality of math and science education.
Frenkel and Wu also noted a report from the National
Another potent flash point with the Common Core Academies warned that Americas ability to com-
has been the debate over how rigorous the Common pete effectively with other nations is fading.
Core standards actually are. Here the contestation Yet it is important to remember that every time
centers on opinions regarding what constitutes international test scores are released that show the
rigor, which in arguments over the Common Core United States is not ranked very high, a broad spec-
has been defined in at least two different ways. The trum of critics and reformers create doomsday
first is to compare books or texts used in states that scenarios. This began with the 1983 classic work A
have adopted the Common Core against what those Nation at Risk, issued by the National Commission
states used before, and to note which set of books or on Excellence in Education headed by Terrel (Ted)
texts is more advanced or intellectually difficult. The Bell, and has continued to the present day, with neo-
second is to fall back on international test score com- conservative education critic Chester Finn (2010)
parisons and use them as the basis to support the calling Shanghai outperforming the United States on
need for the Common Core. the Programme for International Student Assessment
For example, proponents of the Common Core (PISA) a Sputnik moment for U.S. education.
argue that it is rigorous because The persistent emphasis on only a few subjects in
the curriculum also has led to concern regarding
one of the Common Cores reading standards for grades how much time is spent on certain subjects to the
910 calls for students to analyze and understand the
detriment or exclusion of other subjects. This ten-
arguments in seminal U.S. texts, including the applica-
tion of constitutional principles and use of legal reason- sion involves the issue of whether schooling should
ing. How many American public schools do that prepare students for an enduring and lifelong quest
today? (Stern & Klein, 2013, p. A13) for understanding, and/or whether schooling should
be primarily interested in the economic values to be
A study completed by the neoconservative Thomas obtained by graduating skilled workers to be expert
B. Fordham Institute indicated that the Common in the trades and vocations of the moment. The
Core standards are clearly superior to those cur- place of the arts in the curriculum is also a matter of
rently in use in 39 states in math and 37 states in value preferences. While the ancient Greeks always
English. For 33 states, the Common Core is superior considered art, music, and physical education part
in both math and reading (Banchero, 2012, p. A6). of the basic curriculum, the Puritans disavowed art,
Others have argued against the idea that the music, and drama as sinful and therefore excluded
Common Core is rigorous, and noted that in some them from being taught in schools. To this day, art,
cases students will read less fiction than they had music, and other culturally specific topics or sub-
previously. Massachusetts has scored best in the jects are often neglected because they cannot be
nation on all grades and assessments of the National easily compared with nation-to-nation test results.
Assessment of Educational Progress for several years The bottom line appears to be if it isnt tested, it
in a row. But in the Bay State, as Jamie Gass and doesnt count.
Charles Chieppo (2013) point out, Common Cores Whether it is called the Common Core and
English standards reduce by 60% the amount of clas- irrespective of the rationale for creating it, that is,
sic literature, poetry and drama that students will the expressed need to enable the nation to continue to
read. For example, the Common Core ignores the be economically dominant in the international

marketplaces of the world, the issues involved What we have is a cultural difference. It should sug-
with creating a curriculum are profound and are gest that the schools are not neutral cultural grounds.
politically sensitive. It should also suggest that those groups that find
themselves more at odds with the culture and lan-
Curriculum Flash Point 4: Assessment Issues guage embedded in schools, their routines and
and the Achievement Gap assumptions, will find their achievement more diffi-
cult. Many will also find their place problematic and
The persistence of the achievement gap as revealed perceive their difficulties as a matter of personal
in test scores displayed by race and social class con- rejection of who they are as human beings. That their
tinues to be used by proponents as a justification for skin color, their language, their religion, clothing,
the Common Core. Many critics of U.S. education and food customs are also not valued or are frowned
give the impression that we are the only nation on upon become the breeding grounds of apathy toward
earth to have such a problem. Nothing could be fur- school. The perception that these differences cannot
ther from the truth, as Richard Rothstein (2004) be overcome even if they try hard results in a group-
notes: based anomie in which members of the group
become permanent outcasts. Such a state was cap-
The inability of schools to overcome the disadvantage tured very well in Jay MacLeods 1987 book Aint No
of less literate home backgrounds is not a peculiar Makin It: Leveled Aspirations in a Low-Income
American failure but a universal reality. The number of
books in students homes, for example, consistently
predicts their test scores in almost every country. Bourdieu (2009) has called the differences
Turkish immigrant students suffer from an achievement between groups a matter of cultural capital. By that
gap in Germany; as do Algerians in France, as do he meant the way any particular social group and the
Caribbean, African, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi pupils individuals in it relate to life, move their bodies,
in Great Britain, and as do Okinawans and low-caste
dress, engage in certain social customs regarding
Buraku in Japan. (p. 20)
courtship, marriage, entertainment, music, and more.
What are the common elements of these groups It should be recalled that human culture is a con-
from different nations gaps with their more main- struct, that is, an artificial creation of beliefs, atti-
stream student counterparts? In nearly all cases the tudes, customs, and actions. Cultures are not better or
groups that are not performing as well as the more worse than each other; they are different, however.
mainstream students exhibit these characteristics: Much of human culture is learned unconsciously and
so it is invisible to those who possess it; that is, they
They are of lower socioeconomic position in the dont think about it and they are not consciously
existing social hierarchy. aware of how their culture shapes their views, or
They are of a different language and/or cultural advances or inhibits their thinking or attitudes.
system. Most people think they confront the world as it
They often exhibit attitudes that are, if not hostile, is, not realizing that their cultural lens is shaping
resistant to fitting in to the norms of the school what they see and dont see. Their cultural lens also
and are disciplined at higher rates than their tells them that what they do see is natural and the
proportionate numbers in the schools, often way things are. When others dont see things the way
receiving harsher penalties than their more
they do, it is not uncommon for them to come to
privileged counterparts.
believe such people are wrong or misguided or
They have higher dropout rates from school and
lower graduation rates.
in earlier times that such people were inferior, bar-
Parents often have attitudes of helplessness, baric, savage, uncivilized, animals, lazy, stupid,
indifference, or antagonism to school and school infidels, and other such historic descriptors of cul-
authorities. tural and human inferiority.
Any discussion about cultural capital has to avoid
These commonalities should suggest that the a deficit mindset. It has not been an easy thing to do
achievement gap is more than a school issue. It is a in the past, and many educators have succumbed to
larger socioeconomic cultural issue (English, 2010). the belief that culturally different children are simply
7. Multiculturalism Versus the Common Core113

inferior in one or more ways. The important thing to are biased because they consistently show that some
understand when it comes to schools is that the social groups usually underperform on them when
school and its curriculum privileges compared to others. Tests are skewed to assess what
is privileged as curriculum, and in turn, the entire
the cultural capital (which includes world views, lin- school, its expectations, routines, view of difference
guistic codes, certain types of knowledge, and material and exceptionality are similarly biased. The problem
objectssuch as books) of a particular social class, the with the Common Core is that it is common only
dominant social class. The school does not act primar-
ily, however to teach children anything they dont
to a certain select group of parents and students. It is
already know, but to certify the knowledge of the chil- simply imposed on everyone else, something
dren of the dominant class by giving them high marks, Bourdieu and Passeron have called the cultural arbi-
certificates, and diplomas. (Reed-Danahay, 2005, p. 47) trary. While the cultural capital embedded in the
Common Core State Standards and ultimately the
For this reason, Bourdieu and Passeron (1979) curriculum content is natural for some students,
discerned in their study of which groups of children for others it is an alien and arbitrary choice to which
succeeded best in schools that it was the children of they are subjected and some are never successful
the wealthier or more privileged groups who did well with it and leave school as early as possible.
in schools, so much so that they inherited the The Common Core privileges one form of cultural
school as if it were a birthright. This phenomenon is capital over many others. School ought to be a place
repeated all over the world where there is an achieve- where various forms of cultural capital are respected
ment gap. And it means that the achievement gap is and the children represented from that distinction are
also a gap between social group distinctions and is not de-privileged or made to feel inferior or less
unlikely to be erased anytime soon because of it. human because of who and what they are. Once an
Another realization should be that the achieve- important understanding is reached that the sources
ment gap is about a lot more than stuff on tests and of the achievement gap encompass more factors than
test scores. Tested information is connected to the the school, but also that the school itself produces
expectations of the dominant social class via the cur- some factors leading to the gap, then a deeper under-
riculum that it is supposed to assess. Members of the standing of the gap and how it can be confronted can
dominant social class would not permit the school to be reached. Unless this occurs, no amount of money
teach or test anything they did not find important to or effort aimed at reforming schools will fully
their own sense of what is important and worth erase the achievement gap, because they will not deal
knowing. They will fight very hard to make sure the with its true sources.
school maintains their perspectives and interests
(Brantlinger, 2003). Curriculum Flash Point 5: The Issue of
Deborah Reed-Danahay (2005) comments about Where to Set Test Cutoff Scores
the often misrecognized purpose of schooling when
she observes, the function of education is to pro- While there seems to be a general consensus about
duce a social hierarchy and that this conflicts with educational standards, the issue of where to set test
the value of a truly democratic system that would cutoff scores for a states students is less an educa-
enable all students to have access to skills leading to tional problem than a political one. For example, in
school success (p. 47). Despite the rhetoric about Texas, when the state adopted a new more demanding
all children learning in school, the school is set up set of expectations, the legislature responded by lower-
so that all children do not learn equally well in ing test and curriculum requirements (Gewertz, 2013).
school. Unmasking this rather ugly truth means that The very tricky issue of raising the bar is fraught
given the conditions that exist in schools today, all with a states officials determining how many stu-
children will never be successful in them. The dents may fail or be graded as not proficient or
schools will continue to privilege what they do with minimal. If such terms result in politically unac-
the interests of the dominant social class. ceptable large groups of students being ranked in the
The perspective of Bourdieu and others regarding lower categories, such numbers can led to wide-
cultural capital is beyond the idea that the tests in use spread pessimism about the value of the test and the

curriculum it is supposed to assess. One alternative is

to set the bar higher in stages so that school systems ALIGNMENT
have a chance to ramp up their systems of teaching to
avoid the public perception that their schools were
not very good after all. This approach appears to have
been taken in Louisiana where the state superinten-
dent put forth a plan that the full impact of new A B C
common-core-aligned tests wouldnt be felt on
school grades until 2025 (Ujifusa, 2013).

written taught tested

Curriculum Alignment curriculum curriculum curriculum

A partial solution to the problem of the use of Figure 7.1 The Requisite Curriculum Alignment
selective classes of students and their form of cultural for Any Plan of Accountability
capital is that of curriculum alignment. Curriculum
alignment was earlier called either curriculum over-
lap or instructional alignment (English & Steffy, Since majority children already come to school
2001, p. 90). It emerged from a variety of attempts to with a huge advantageaccording to Barry (2005),
improve pupil test performance in the 1980s. It was the achievement gap is estimated to start at 22
discovered that, if the curriculum overlapped with monthsstudents who lack the legitimated cultural
the test, pupil scores were better. The first statewide capital embodied in the school have increased access
use of alignment was in Missouri in 1991. to that which is assessed. Preliminary results
Curriculum alignment is a concept that the cur- show that under these circumstances, minority
riculum, the test, and teaching should be matched or achievement improves (Moss-Mitchell, 1998).
congruent. This would be especially true if the test Today curriculum alignment is an accepted con-
were the kind of high-stakes instrument that was con- cept, especially with various accountability
nected to measures of schooling effectiveness and approaches that can either reward or punish teachers,
remuneration for teachers and school leaders. school leaders, or school systems for test score gains
Think of a three-legged stool as shown in or losses. For accountability to be fair, the content of
Figure 7.1. One is teaching, the other is curriculum, tests must be connected to a curriculum to which all
and the third is testing. They are all connected in a students have access. Teachers and school leaders
common structure. A teacher is supposed to teach must be provided with curriculum, textbooks, and
the approved curriculum, perhaps one based on the other materials that are aligned with the assessment
Common Core. In turn, curriculum and teaching are instruments so that they will know what will be
assessed by the test. Put another way, one teaches to assessed. In addition, sample test items should be
the curriculum and since the curriculum is already available so that teachers understand how students
matched to the test, when one is teaching to that will be assessed, sometimes referred to as the perfor-
curriculum one is also teaching to the test. mance conditions under which students will be
Curriculum alignment helps students who do not tested. The idea is that testing should be assessing
belong to the cultural majority perform better what is business as usual in a school and not some
because it ensures that the tested curriculum will atypical set of conditions. Within this idea is that
be taught. As a practice, then, alignment ensures students should not be surprised by the test. It should
that the disadvantages of some home environments be a fair and reliable measure of the learning they
that accrue because some are less apt to be matched have acquired in a typical school year.
to school expectations, routines, and content than There are two ways a school leader working with
others, will decrease. Alignment creates a more teachers can approach curriculum alignment.
level testing playing field as a result (Moss- Referring again to Figure 7.1, one can attain align-
Mitchell, 1998). ment by adopting the approach A-B-C, which means
7. Multiculturalism Versus the Common Core115

that first a written curriculum is developed, then it is The testing situation should be a fair measure of
taught, and lastly it is tested. That approach is called pupil learning when they have been adequately
frontloading (English & Larson, 1996). Frontloading prepared.
is the typical sequence that connects the written to The simple truth is that for students to be fairly
the tested curricula. This approach was followed in and reliably assessed, the school, its curriculum, and
the development of the Common Core standards. It its teaching should be aligned to the assessment.
ensures that the testing tail never wags the There should be few surprises for students when tak-
curriculum dog. ing a test. Whatever differences are revealed in test
However, it ought to be obvious that the sequence performance should be those connected to student
can be reversed. So, for example, the sequence learning and ability, and not to being unprepared for
C-A-B or C-B-A can be employed by beginning the test because the school, its curriculum, and its
with the test and working back to the written and/or teaching staff failed to adequately provide an aligned
taught. That is the idea of backloading (English & curriculum in which A-B-C were connected.
Larson, 1996). As a practice, backloading will work In summary, the teaching staff teaches what is
when the state of the curriculum is of very poor tested and it teaches the curriculum the way it is
quality and/or specificity. This occurred in many going to be tested. Both the tested curriculum and its
states when they initially created a state-level cur- performance conditions should be part of sound test
riculum, often with very poor levels of specific preparation practices in use in the school. If the first
content and with wide ambiguity in what was actu- time a student encounters curriculum content or a
ally desired to be learned. The actual alignment to specific test item format is on the day the test is
state level assessments turned out to be very low given, then the school has failed that student. A low
(Rothman, 2004; Webb, 2002). In such cases, the test score is not due to inadequate learning, but to
largest factors of predicting student performance are inadequate preparation for learning to be correctly
socioeconomic ones, an indicator of cultural capital and fairly assessed.
acquisition. Finally, even with curriculum alignment in place,
As a practice, backloading involves a thorough curriculum content that fails to recognize differ-
analysis of test items as a type of assessment with an ences in cultural capital and the influence of the
eye toward discerning whether the content being home environment on the development of that capi-
assessed matches the existing curriculum and whether tal will not erase the achievement gap. In that
the performance conditions in the item have been respect, neither will the Common Core, since it is an
taught in the classroom. In other words, if the test example of Bourdieu and Passerons cultural arbi-
involves the use of multiple-choice items, students trary. The gap is the product of that arbitrary being
should have practice with multiple-choice items as a imposed on all children irrespective of their cultural
way of learning how to respond appropriately. backgrounds.
Similarly, students should practice writing essays to The Common Core, regardless of whether in
prepare for a test where an essay response is desired. political terms it was created from the ground up, is
Testing formats should be familiar to students. still only one possible cultural lens among many
In addition, backloading should involve an analy- other possibilities. The antidote is a multicultural
sis of the cognitive levels involved in the assessment. lens, within one beam of light broken into a rainbow.
Using Blooms Taxonomy (1956) for example, if the
test item is at level 5, synthesis, but classroom
instruction has been at much lower levels, say level 1 Conclusion
factual recall, there is a mismatch between how stu-
dents were taught and how they are going to be Even in states that have not formally backed away
assessed. Under these circumstances teachers will from the Common Core standards because of the
often say, I taught that, but the teaching was not at political backlash, states and schools face challenges
the same or higher level of cognition as the assess- in implementing them. It is also highly doubtful any
ment. Students are then surprised when faced with a new set of single standards will erase the achieve-
test item for which they have no prior experience. ment gap anytime soon, and it will be some

time before the Common Core standards can be culture upon others is an arbitrary act, usually with
determined to have improved international test score political dominance, to engage in its application to all
comparisons upon which so much political capital other cultures.
has been expended. The simple fact is that one
cannot test excellence into a curriculum or the Cultural capital: A form of noneconomic capital that
schools. One can only test what is in the curriculum represents modes of living and thinking, deportment,
and in the schools in the first place. dress, linguistic patterns and accents, as well as man-
ners. It is the cultural capital of the political elites
that dominate the selection of the formal
Key Chapter Terms curriculum in schools of the state.

Backloading: The practice of reaching alignment by Curriculum: The actual designation of the content
starting with the test of form of assessment in use (or plan of studies) to be taught and that is expected
and creating a written curriculum from the test- to represent the means by which the expectations
designated content and also influencing teachers to (standards) are realized.
use it as a focus for teaching.
Curriculum alignment: The match or congruence
Common Core standards: The expectations or between the written curriculum, the taught curricu-
expected outcomes of learning desired when there is lum, and the tested curriculum. Alignment includes
a common curriculum in place. The Common Core not only the content of the curriculum and the test,
standards have been internationally benchmarked but the match between cognitive levels as well.
and represent desired academic competencies.
Frontloading: The attainment of alignment to
Cultural arbitrary: Since human culture is an artifact, assessment/tests and/or teaching by starting with the
that is, a social construction, there is no natural designation of the curriculum content prior to teach-
culture. The selection and imposition of one form of ing or testing.

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news/articles/SB10001424127887323420604578652 31(3), 32.
450468865758 Rothman, R. (2004). Benchmarking and alignment of
Frenkel, E., & Wu, H-H. (2013, May 7). Republicans state standards and assessments. In S. Fuhrman &
should love common core. The Wall Street Journal, R. Elmore (Eds.), Redesigning accountability
A15. systems for education, (pp. 96114). New York,
Gass, J., & Chieppo, C. (2013, May 28). Common core NY: Teachers College Press.
education is uncommonly inadequate. The Wall Rothman, R. (2011). Something in common: The common
Street Journal, A15. core standards and the next chapter in American
Gewertz, C. (2013, December 11). States grapple with education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
setting common test-score cutoffs. Education Week, Press.
33(14), 6. Rothstein, R. (2004). Class and schools: Using social,
Hansel, L. (2013, May 22). The common core needs a economic, and educational reform to close the
common curriculum. Education Week, 33(32), 32. Black-White achievement gap. New York,
MacLeod, J. (1987). Aint no makin it: Leveled NY: Teachers College Press.
aspirations in a low-income neighborhood. Boulder, Shor, I. (1986). Culture wars: School and society in the
CO: Westview. conservative restoration 19691984. Boston,
Moss-Mitchell, F. (1998, May). The effects of curriculum MA: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
alignment on the mathematics achievement of third- Spencer, H. (1860). What knowledge is of most worth?
grade students as measured by the Iowa Test of In Education (chap. 1). New York, NY: Appleton.
Basic Skills: Implications for educational Stern, S., & Klein, J. (2013, May 4). Conservatives and
administrators. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, the common core. The Wall Street Journal, A13.
Clark University. Tanner, D., & Tanner, L. (1990). History of the school
Nasser, H. E. (2008, February 12). U.S. Hispanic curriculum. New York, NY: Macmillan.
population to triple by 2050. USA Today. Retrieved Toppo, G. (2013, August 8). Tougher exams pressure
March 12, 2011, from http://www.Usatoday public schools. USA Today, 3A.
.com/news/nation/2008-02-11population study_ Ujifusa, A. (2013, June 12). State opposition jeopardizes
N.htm common-core future. Education Week, 32(35), 36.
National Commission on Excellence in Education. Upham, D. (2010, April 27). Is Texas messing with
(1983). A nation at risk: The imperative of history? The Wall Street Journal, A17.
educational reform. Washington, DC: U.S. Webb, N. (2002, April). An analysis of the alignment
Department of Education. between mathematics standards and assessment for
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices three states. Paper presented at the American
& Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Education Research Association, New Orleans, LA.
Common Core State Standards for English

Further Readings ACT, Inc. (2009). The condition of college readiness

2009. Iowa City, IA: Author.
ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the
ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa This research report was used to validate the need for
City, IA: Author. the standards and was used to inform the College and
Career Readiness Standards.
This research report was used to validate the need for
the standards and was used to inform the College and Bode, B. (1930). Modern educational theories. New York,
Career Readiness Standards. NY: Macmillan.

Bode, a professor at Ohio State, criticized the work of Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/
Franklin Bobbit in a classic analysis that is still modern k-12-feedback-summary.pdf
when thinking about the Common Core debates of our This document describes the feedback process and
times. However, for a good understanding, the reader reports themes in feedback gathered.
may want to become familiar with Bobbits proposals to
develop a relevant curriculum by using real world NGA & CCSSO. (2010, June). Summary of public
data. feedback on the draft college- and career-readiness
standards for English-language arts and mathematics
English, F. W. (2010). Deciding what to teach and test [online]. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards
(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. .org/assets/CorePublicFeedback.pdf
This book focuses on issues of curriculum design and This document describes the feedback process and
validation and brings issues of cultural capital and the reports themes in feedback gathered.
cultural arbitrary into focus on matters of creating a
Peddiwell, J. A. (1939). The saber-tooth curriculum. New
one size fits all curriculum as in the case of the
York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Common Core.
The reader of this chapter might wonder how a book
English, F. W. & Steffy, B. E. (2001). Deep curriculum published almost half a century ago could possibly be
alignment. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Education. relevant today. This little paperback book will surprise,
This book provides the rationale for, and a step-by-step amuse, and provide keen insights into the nature of
guide to, curriculum alignment, frontloading, and back- knowledge and how it is selected and the rationale for
loading, as well as test item deconstruction. that selection.
NGA & CCSSO. (2009). Common core state standards Perna, D. M., & Davis, J. R. (2007). Aligning standards
initiative standards-setting criteria [online]. & curriculum for classroom success (2nd ed.).
Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/ Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Criteria.pdf This is a very practical book that shows in detail how to
This document outlines the criteria used by the work- move from a standards-based curriculum into class-
groups as they developed the College and Career room practice. It provides examples of how to work
Readiness Standards. curriculum standards into lesson planning and pro-
vides sample charts and graphs.
NGA & CCSSO. (2010, March). Common core state
standards initiative frequently asked questions Rothman, R. (2011). Something in common: The common
[online]. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards core standards and the next chapter in American
.org/assets/CoreFAQ.pdf education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education
This document defines educational standards and dis-
cusses the CCSS Initiative, who developed the CCSS, For an educational leader who wants to get the big
and the adoption and implementation process. picture of how the Common Core came into being and
the contemporary challenges it faces with implementa-
NGA & CCSSO. (2010, June). Reaching higher: The tion, this small and readable book is just a superb
common core state standards validation committee source.
[online]. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards
.org/assets/CommonCoreReport_6.10.pdf Tanner, D., & Tanner, L. (1990). History of the school
curriculum. New York, NY: Macmillan.
This document describes the role of the Validation
For the serious practitioner who wants to delve deeply
Committee, how members were chosen, and who mem-
into past curricular controversies, movements, names,
bers were, and reports summary feedback.
and places, this resource would be hard to top. It is
NGA & CCSSO. (2010, June). Reactions to the March complete and concise, and it will illustrate the continu-
2010 draft common core state standards: Highlights ing flash points in curriculum development in the
and themes from the public feedback [online]. United States.
Challenges and Solutions

Texas Womans University

he chapter examines the demographic con- growth to the 6 percentage point decrease in the
text of the Hispanic population and the edu- White population, which went from 69% in 2000 to
cational implications of its steady growth in 63% in 2011.
the United States. It also depicts four main chal- Among Hispanics, two thirds of the population is
lenges facing school leaders from this development of Mexican origin and one third is of Puerto Rican,
along with five potential solutions that include Salvadoran, Cuban, Dominican, and other origins.
strategies school leaders can use to overcome the Two thirds of the Hispanic population in the United
stated challenges. Although the term Hispanic States is concentrated in five states: California,
appears more often than Latino in this chapter, for Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois. Table 8.1
the purposes of this chapter, the terms are used shows the number of the Hispanic population in these
interchangeably. states in 2011 and the percentage these figures repre-
sented based on the overall number of the Hispanic
population in the United States. As Table 8.1 shows,
A Decade of Continued Growth as of 2011, about half of the Hispanic population in
the United States (47%) lived in the two states of
According to the Pew Hispanic Center (now called California and Texas. Data from the analysis con-
the Pew Research Centers Hispanic Trends Project), ducted by the Pew Hispanic Center also revealed that
which used the U.S. Census Bureaus 2011 American since 2000, five other states (South Carolina,
Community Survey to analyze the Hispanic popula- Kentucky, Arkansas, Minnesota, and North Carolina)
tion, the Hispanic population increased from 35.2 have experienced the fastest growth of the Hispanic
million in 2000 to 51.9 million in 2011 (Motel & population in the United States to date. The rates of
Patten, 2013). This signifies an increase of 48% in a growth in these states between 2000 and 2011 ranged
little over a decade. Today, Hispanics make up 17% from 120% to 154%.
of the U.S. population, up 4 percentage points from The Hispanic population is the nations youngest
the 13% they represented in 2000. Compare this major racial or ethnic group, with a median age


either the largest poverty rate of any racial group in

Number of % of the Total
Hispanics U.S. Hispanic the United States, or the second largest, in 2011
State (millions) Population* (Lopez & Cohn, 2011). Consequently, Hispanic
households are more likely to receive food stamps
California 14.4 28% than all U.S. households, and fewer than half of
Texas 9.8 19% Hispanic households own their homes. Also, a
staggering 30% of the Hispanic population lacks
Florida 4.4 8% health insurance, compared to 15% of the U.S.
New York 3.5 7%
Illinois 2.1 4%
Latinos and Education
Table 8.1 Number and Percentage of the Hispanic
As discussed in the previous section, the past decade
Population in the United States in 2011
has been one of continued growth for the Hispanic
SOURCE: Claudia Sanchez, using statistics from Pew Hispanic
population in the United States. The issues that face
Centers analysis of the U.S. Census Bureaus 2011 American
Community Survey, http://www.pewhispanic.org/2013/02/15/hispanic- Hispanic children are not unique to them, but are
population-trends/ph_13-01-23_ss_hispanics6/ severely exacerbated in this group. School leaders
* The total Hispanic population in the United States in 2011 was face challenges to educate children of poverty, meet
estimated at 51.9 million. the needs of language minority children, reduce
dropout rates, and prepare students for college. In
many schools, Hispanic children make up most of the
of 27, while the median ages of Blacks, Asians, and children in poverty and language minority children.
Whites, are 33, 36, and 42, respectively. The Hispanic Hispanic children also face particular issues with
population in the United States predominantly speaks regard to finishing school and going on to graduate
Spanish and English at home, with about 25% of the from college. The remainder of this chapter discusses
Hispanic population ages 5 and older reporting they these challenges and, later, presents culturally appro-
speak only the English language at home. priate strategies that can aid school leaders in
addressing these issues.
Educational Attainment
Challenge No. 1: Preparing to Respond to
Among Hispanics ages 25 and older, the rate of School Enrollment Projections
high school diploma attainment grew from 52% in
2000 to 63% in 2011 (Motel & Patten, 2013). School leaders must be ready to respond to the
Further, rates of college attainment and enrollment needs of a steadily growing Hispanic population in
among Hispanics also rose in the last decade. The public schools. According to The Condition of
percentage of Hispanic adults ages 25 and older who Education 2014 report (Kena et al., 2014) issued by
attained a bachelors degree or more grew from 10% the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES),
in 2000 to 13% in 2011. As well, the percentage of the total public school enrollment for prekindergar-
Hispanics ages 18 to 24 who were enrolled as an ten through 12th grade grew from 47.7 million in
undergraduate or graduate student went from 20% in 2001 to 49.5 million in 2011. By 2023, the total
2000 to 33% in 2011. public school enrollment is estimated to increase by
7% to 52.1 million (Kena et al., 2014).
Household Income From fall 2001 through fall 2011, the share of
enrollment of White students in grades PreK-12
Median household income is lower among decreased from 60% to 52%. Conversely, the share
Hispanics ($39,000) than the United States overall of enrollment of Hispanics, the fastest growing
($50,000) (Motel & Patten, 2013). Depending on group of students in U.S. schools, increased from
how the poverty rate is calculated, Hispanics had 17% to 24%. By 2023, the share of Hispanic
8. The Growing Hispanic Population in U.S. Schools121

enrollment is projected to increase by 6 percentage These figures are similar to data released in a
points, to 30%, while the share of White enrollment report by the NCES (Ross et al., 2012) that indi-
is projected to continue its downward trend by cated that while 6% of White students were enrolled
7 percentage points, to 45%. The share of Black stu- in high-poverty schools for the school year 2010
dent enrollment is expected to decrease slightly from 2011, the rate of Hispanic enrollment in high-
16% to 15%. According to the projections, begin- poverty public elementary and secondary schools
ning in 2014 and continuing through 2023, the per- for that same year was 38%, second only to that of
centage of public school students who are White will Blacks (41%).
be less than 50% while the enrollment of Hispanics
and Asians/Pacific Islanders will continue its upward Challenge No. 3: Addressing the Needs of
trend (Kena et al., 2014). Language Minority Children

Challenge No. 2: Educating A third challenge for school leaders is the edu-
Children of Poverty cation of children whose native language is other
than English. According to the 2012 NCES report
A second challenge facing school leaders today Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence
is the education of children of poverty. According Study (Ross et al., 2012), 22% of the student popu-
to The Condition of Education 2014, in school year lation ages 5 to 17 spoke a language other than
20112012, 19% of public school students attended English at home in 2010. Among the student popu-
a high-poverty school while only 12% did during lation that speaks a language other than English at
school year 19992000 (Kena et al., 2014). In fact, home, a smaller group is designated as English
the percentage of school-age children living in language learners (ELL). The term ELL applies
poverty across the nation increased from 16% in to students being served in PreK-12 public school
the year 2000 to 21% in 2011. In 2012, all regions programs of language assistance such as bilingual
of the United States (Northeast, South, Midwest, education or English as a second language (ESL).
and West) reported an increase in poverty rates for The percentage of U.S. public school students
school-age children. The South had the highest who were English language learners was 9.1% in
rate of poverty for school-age children (23%), fol- 20112012, up from 8.7% in 20022003 (Kena
lowed by the West (21%), Midwest (19%), and et al., 2014).
Northeast (17%). One of the issues public education has yet to
In 2011, the South also included two of the three conquer is the successful academic preparation of
states with the largest percentage of Hispanics in the students whose native language is other than
nation (Texas and Florida) as well as states with the English. Results from state-mandated tests continue
largest rate of increase in the Hispanic population to reveal a disparity in the achievement of native
(South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, and North English speakers or non-English language learners
Carolina) (Motel & Patten, 2013). The Condition of and that of non-native English speakers or English
Education 2014 reports that in 2012 the poverty rate language learners. In 2011, for instance, the National
for Hispanic children under the age of 18 (33%) was Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) read-
lower than the rate for Black children (39%) and ing scale scores for non-ELL students in Grades 4
American Indian/Alaska Native children (36%) and 8 were higher than their ELL peers scores. The
(Kena et al., 2014). However, because of their higher fourth grade score difference between non-ELL and
numbers in the population, as of 2010 more Hispanic ELL students was 36 points and the eighth grade
children under 18 were living in poverty6.1 million score difference was 44 points. The disparity
that yearthan children of any other racial or between average scores of two student groups is
ethnic group. An analysis of U.S. Census Bureau known as the achievement gap in NAEP reading
data by the Pew Hispanic Center showed that in scores (Aud et al., 2013). These results confirmed
2010, 37.3% of poor children were Latino, 30.5% the long-standing disparity in reading scores
were White, and 26.6% were Black (Lopez & between non-ELLs and ELLs that NAEP has identi-
Velasco, 2011). fied since 2002.

Challenge No. 4: Reducing Dropout Rates and A 2009 survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic
Increasing College Completion Rates Center found that Latinos in general recognize the
importance of a college education (Lopez, 2009).
A fourth challenge in public education is the The survey found that the main reasons behind the
need to decrease dropout rates and increase college low educational attainment of Latinos were financial
completion rates. struggles and pressure to support their families.
Other reasons for the lag in educational attainment
Status and Event Dropout Rates among Latinos included poor English skills, a dis-
like of school, and a perception that additional edu-
Status dropout rates represent the percentage cation was not required for the career paths they
of individuals ages 16 through 24 who are not preferred.
enrolled in school and have not received a high
school credential (either a diploma or an equiva-
lency certificate such as a GED certificate). In Solutions and Strategies
2012, the status dropout rate for Hispanics was for School Leaders
13%, compared to 8% for Blacks and 4% for
Whites (Kena et al., 2014). The previous section discussed four main challenges
Event dropout rates, on the other hand, represent school leaders must consider, namely, the impor-
the proportion of students who leave school each tance to respond to school enrollment projections,
year without completing a high school program (Aud the need to educate children of poverty, the urgency
et al., 2013). While event dropout rates provide a to meet the needs of language minority children, and
picture of the proportion of students who at one point the need to reduce dropout rates and increase college
participated in a high school program, status dropout completion rates. This section suggests strategies to
rates provide cumulative data on dropouts among all help school leaders address the aforementioned
young adults within a specified age range (whether challenges.
or not they participated in a high school program at
some point). Status rates are therefore higher than Solution No. 1: Fully Acknowledge Your
event rates because they include all dropouts ages Responsibility to Step Up to the Challenge
16 through 24, regardless of when they last attended
school (Aud et al., 2013). School leaders must be ready to respond to
A report from the NCES (Chapman, Laird, Ifill, & school enrollment projections. The question is not
KewalRamani, 2011) indicated that during 2009, a if, but when, a school leader will need to address the
higher percentage of Hispanic students dropped out issue of cultural and linguistic diversity in the
of high school than any other racial/ethnic group. school setting. All projections suggest cultural and
The event dropout rate was 5.8% for Hispanics and linguistic diversity in public schools is on the rise
4.8% for Blacks, compared to 2.4% for Whites. and the Latino population continues to be an impor-
While Whites and Blacks experienced a downward tant part of this growth. In urban, suburban, and
trend in event dropout rates for nearly two decades rural school settings, the influx of Latino children
(1972 through 1990), Hispanics dropout rates into U.S. schools will continue, and as a result,
remained unchanged during that period. Hispanic school leaders who can respond to the demands of
event dropout rates did begin to decline in 1995, for our schools new reality become a must. So how is a
the first time since 1972, and continued to decline school leader to prepare for an increasing Latino
through 2009. school population? The first step is for school lead-
Ross et al.s (2012) study reported on postsecond- ers to fully acknowledge their responsibility to
ary attainment in the United States. Only 52% of equip themselves with the tools that will enable
Hispanics who became full-time students attending a them to build schools that can prepare academically
4-year institution of higher education in 20032004 successful students. The second step is to actively
attained bachelors degrees by 2009, while 73% of do what is necessary to acquire such tools. The
Whites achieved this goal. remainder of this section suggests concrete steps
8. The Growing Hispanic Population in U.S. Schools123

that can help school leaders prepare to meet the Early exit bilingual education programs
challenges discussed earlier. temporarily support limited English speakers in
their native language. The main goal of early exit
programs is to mainstream limited English speakers
Solution No. 2: Implement Solid Education as soon as possible.
Programs for Language Minority Children
In contrast to bilingual programs, all-English pro-
To respond to the challenge of addressing the grams either make no use of students native lan-
needs of language minority children, school leaders guage, or may use students first language incidentally
must support the implementation of strong educa- to clarify a concept. The delivery of content, however,
tion programs. In the broad menu of program is done only in the second language since the use of
options for English language learners (ELLs), bilin- the students native language is deemed a distraction
gual education is more effective than all-English from the acquisition of the English language.
approaches (submersion, structured English School leaders who aim for successful student
immersion, ESL), especially in cases where ELLs outcomes must build on the linguistic foundation
native language is stronger than their second lan- ELLs bring with them. Developing ELLs first
guage (De Jong, 2013; Thomas & Collier, 2002). language not only develops ELLs ability in the
James Crawford and Stephen Krashen (2007) define language they acquired first, but also could
bilingual education as improve their cognitive skills (Bialystok, 2011;
Engel de Abreu, Cruz-Santos, Tourinho, Martin, &
the use of students native language to accelerate
English-language development. Children receive con- Bialystok, 2012). These developed cognitive skills,
tent-area instruction in both languages, although the in turn, have the potential to accelerate the acquisi-
proportions may vary (with English phased in rapidly tion of the English language both socially and
or gradually). Goals include developing academic academically.
English, promoting academic achievement in English,
and in some models, cultivating proficiency in both
languages. (p. 15) Solution No. 3: Promote High-Quality
Instruction for Children of Poverty
The philosophy behind bilingual programs and Language Minority Children
stresses the need to build on the linguistic foundation
As the schools instructional leader and lead
students already have in their native language to
administrator, a principals duty is to promote a
develop students cognitive and linguistic skills in
school culture that encourages instruction of high
two languages. Bilingual education programs distin-
quality for all children, where teachers do not blame
guish between conversational and academic lan-
students and their families for existing academic
guage proficiency and bilingual program types
shortcomings but instead recognize
include the following, listed from more effective to
less effective according to findings from a 2002 the role of economic change (including a decrease in
national study of effective programs for the long- factory and skilled labor jobs to which one could
term academic achievement of language minority aspire and with which one could support a family) and
students (Thomas & Collier, 2002): structural inequalities related to access to education;
housing; healthcare; and basic nutrition (Trumbull &
Pacheco, 2005b, p. 109).
Two-way bilingual or dual language education
consists of classrooms with native English speakers
and limited English speakers who acquire a second Hold and Communicate High Expectations
language while they learn academic content.
Late exit bilingual education consists of
High-quality instruction is not possible without
classrooms where the goals are (a) to prepare having high academic expectations for students and
students who are bilingual and biliterate in English communicating such expectations to students and
and students native language and (b) to succeed their families. High expectations alone do not suffice;
academically. Late exit programs typically run from they must be combined with adequate support sys-
kindergarten through fifth grade. tems for student learning. In fact, the more teachers

attribute failure to students backgrounds and the Opportunities to practice strategies that encourage
more students backgrounds are viewed as barriers to interaction among students from different
academic achievement, the less teachers tend to take backgrounds where group formation is not always
responsibility for students success (Trumbull & assigned by the teacher, but also determined by the
students (Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b).
Pacheco, 2005b).
The fifth assumption of professional development
Promote a Collective Responsibility for educators is that schools should actively promote
for Students Learning
specialized training (Vialpando & Yedlin, 2005) in
Instructional leaders promote a collective the following areas:
responsibility for students learning, so that every-
All aspects of school-based assessment, from test
one finds ways to adjust instruction to students
administration to interpretation of results;
needs and everyone also finds ways to effectively
English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual
engage students by using strategies that connect to education;
students and their interests. Instructional leaders Principles of language and literacy acquisition for
support teachers to renew themselves within col- first and second languages;
laborative learning communities that examine stu- Culturally responsive pedagogy; and
dent and adult work in addition to serving as a Multicultural training for school administrators and
forum for the sharing of teachers ideas on main- staff members.
taining high expectations in addition to strategies
for high-quality instruction. To this end, school The sixth assumption is that all professional
leaders encourage professional development oppor- development efforts should encourage repeating
tunities that are carefully designed for educators cycles of collaboration and reflection among educa-
and school staff. tors. The purpose of this type of collaboration is to
To better serve an increasingly diverse student
population, six main assumptions can guide the Find out what has worked for students from
different backgrounds with different skills
design of strong professional development opportu-
(Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b).
nities for educators. First, competent leadership
Design culturally responsive curriculum, instruction,
should buffer teachers from outside stressors and and assessment, taking into account the students
foster their professional life, including ongoing pro- educators are teaching (Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b).
fessional development focused on student success Provide educators with opportunities to do
(Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b). The second assump- microteaching, or short practice teaching sessions
tion is that the school community has norms in with colleagues, in order to practice the new
which teachers are responsible for student success strategies they learn (Vialpando & Yedlin, 2005).
(Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b). Third, the school cul- Provide educators guidance on how to adapt and
ture should foster and develop a common under- modify instruction to meet the needs of learners
standing among educators and all other instructional (Vialpando & Yedlin, 2005).
personnel of the ways in which particular instruc- Provide educators opportunities to describe, reflect
upon, and support the curriculum (Vialpando &
tional practices help learners achieve high academic
Yedlin, 2005).
goals (Vialpando & Yedlin, 2005). The fourth
Observe how different students participate in
assumption is that all professional development classroom activities to determine what strategies
efforts should represent reach which students, and involve students in choice
about their work (Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b).
Meaningful opportunities for educators and other
school staff. Participants must identify the
importance and relevance of the professional Solution No. 4: Advocate for Children and
development activities (Vialpando & Yedlin, 2005). Families of Poverty
Opportunities to learn useful strategies educators
can use to increase their knowledge of students and A school leader is not only an instructional leader
their cultures (Vialpando & Yedlin, 2005). and lead administrator but a leader advocate for the
8. The Growing Hispanic Population in U.S. Schools125

students, their families, and the community at large. schools operate (Trumbull, Rothstein-Fisch, &
Strategies to assist school leaders in advocating for Hernandez, 2003). Rather than assuming families
children and families of poverty include forming and know their way through the school system, school
participating in multicultural school committees for leaders investigate how much they really do know. To
family advocacy, having a system in place to identify this end, school leaders conduct informal group talks
and advise families in need, informing families and share any vital information parents may wish
about the way the school system works, and encour- to know.
aging professional development activities focused on Parents familiar with the way the school system
student and family advocacy. works understand the meaning of schooling concepts
such as homework, desirable reading habits, report
Form and Participate in Multicultural School cards, standardized tests, and the PTA. Families unfa-
Committees for Family and Advocacy miliar with the system may not be aware of the mean-
ing or implications of these concepts, so may need
The vital role of teachers advocacy for students plenty of information and guidance to successfully
and families is well documented in the literature, and internalize new meanings of schooling.
is also part of teacher education standards and com-
petencies (Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005a). School
leaders are well aware of teachers role as advocates Encourage Professional Development Activities
and consequently support the development of teacher Focused on Advocacy
advocates by promoting the creation of committees
whose purpose is to advocate for students and their School leaders committed to student and family
families. The committees can consist of teachers, advocacy actively promote professional development
aides, administrators, and parent representatives. To activities where teachers and other school personnel
get started, members can define their general goal for can constantly explore and reshape their perceptions
advocacy as well as specific objectives with corre- of advocacy. These professional development activi-
sponding tasks and benchmarks. Advocacy commit- ties allow educators to examine ways in which they
tees can assist in bridging the gap between the school can promote justice and equity. For example, as
culture and families cultures by promoting deeper Trumbull and Pacheco (2005b) suggest, they can
Advocate for equitable allocation of resources
within the school and the district.
Establish a System to Identify and Advise Collaborate with other teachers to evaluate the
Families in Need adequacy and cultural representativeness of the
school library.
From parent support and education to health care Oppose tracking systems that group high achievers
and financial assistance, todays school leaders, and low achievers separately.
teachers, and personnel must be knowledgeable of Support districts efforts to gather data in ways that
community resources that can assist families in need. will allow disaggregating by race and ethnicity (as
Further, schools must find ways to make families well as other aspects of identity such as gender and
aware of such resources and to advise families on socioeconomic status) for examination of patterns
how to access help. School leaders are well aware of privilege and differential access to programs and
that all assistance to families must be communicated courses.
in the language families speak well.
Professional development activities focused on
student and family advocacy encourage educators to
Inform Students and Families About
the Way the School System Works
take a stand. When role play is incorporated into
professional development exercises, for example,
Family involvement in childrens schooling is suc- educators can gain practice speaking out when they
cessful if it results in teachers increased understand- see that low expectations of certain groups are
ing of their students families and communities, as accepted (Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b). Professional
well as families increased understanding of how development exercises can provide opportunities for

teachers and school staff to create, monitor, and familys contextual factors, school and home lan-
enforce a school policy that supports correcting guage barriers, families and schools cultural beliefs
racial or ethnic slurs and using them as an opportu- with respect to the roles of parents and schools, fami-
nity to educate students about their impact and the lies lack of familiarity with U.S. schools practices
fact that they will not be tolerated in the school and policies, families lack of knowledge about the
(Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b). subject matter of homework, and families exclusion
As is the case in all strong professional develop- and discrimination by school staff or school organiza-
ment activities, efforts directed toward promoting tions (Boethel, 2003; Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b).
family advocacy among educators should promote Although research shows that most parental involve-
teamwork where educators could ment efforts launched by schools are directed to
minority parents and families, these efforts often have
engage in conversations about race with colleagues a low rate of success due to the ways in which schools
and community members; attempt parental and family involvement approaches
listen to what others have to say, and work hard to (Boethel, 2003; Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b).
recognize other perspectives;
To help close the education gap facing Hispanic
collaborate with other teachers, administrators, and
students, a stronger alliance becomes a must between
parents to establish a conflict resolution plan that is
culturally appropriate;
schools and Hispanic families. Such alliance is per-
cultivate opportunities to learn from people unlike haps even more crucial in the case of Spanish-
ones self; and speaking families with limited English proficiency,
examine ones own values, and evaluate whether since they may be more vulnerable to becoming
ones behaviors are in line with these values alienated from school due to language differences
(Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b). (De Gaetano, 2007). To develop into effective allies,
schools must work with families to promote chil-
Solution No. 5: Develop and Support Strong drens acquisition of language and content while
Family Involvement Programs making parents aware of the ways in which their
involvement is a major factor influencing students
To respond to a couple of challenges mentioned academic success (Delgado-Gaitn, 2004).
earlier, namely, the urgency to meet the needs of lan- Effective family involvement strategies for the
guage minority children and the need to reduce drop- Hispanic Spanish-speaking population have included
out rates and increase college completion rates, personalized phone calls (Delgado-Gaitn, 2004);
school leaders can develop and support solid family warm and positive face-to-face conversations with
involvement programs that echo the importance of parents (Espinosa, 1995); as well as monthly parent
academic success in grades PreK through 12 and meetings and newsletters. Also, informal interactions
beyond. The involvement of parents in their chil- with teachers, along with personal relationships with
drens education is a strong predictor of students them have been identified as Hispanic parents
success in school (Delgado-Gaitn, 2004; Hamilton, preferred ways of communicating (Trumbull &
Roach, & Riley, 2003). Unless there is evidence of a Pacheco, 2005b).
successful homeschool two-way communication Trumbull and Pachecos (2005b) guidelines for
that is sustained throughout the school year every maximizing family involvement include four sugges-
school year, no school could claim that it is success- tions. First, have informal and personal interactions
ful in involving families in their childrens education with families that make families feel more comfort-
or that it knows the languages and cultures of its able asking questions or sharing information than
students and families well. they would be in a formal meeting. Second, be flex-
Parental or family involvement is often a difficult ible about scheduling conferences, meetings, and
goal to achieve. Differences between minority fami- volunteer opportunities to allow for more parental
lies and schools cultures frequently become barriers responsiveness. Third, the authors recommend close
that hinder effective communication and prevent work with paraprofessional and school volunteers
schools and families from developing successful part- from students communities, as well as staff from
nerships (Delgado-Gaitn, 2004; Hamilton et al., community-based organizations, to facilitate com-
2003). Barriers to family involvement often include munication and a real two-way understanding. The
8. The Growing Hispanic Population in U.S. Schools127

fourth suggestion is that schools reach out to families Many Hispanic families, especially recent immi-
both formally and informally. grants from rural areas, may understand that their role
Perhaps the first step toward creating solid family is not interfering with the schools or teachers work.
involvement programs is for school leaders to relate to For instance, this may mean refraining from visiting
students and families cultures. School leaders can the school or classroom and not expressing their opin-
relate to Hispanic students cultures by immersing ions or asking questions of the teacher or school staff.
themselves in Hispanic families cultures, recognizing To many Hispanic families, these behaviors are often
that families and schools understanding of parental synonymous with respect for and trust in the teachers
involvement may differ from one another, identifying work. Many educators, however, will often mistake
the ways in which families prefer to communicate with these behaviors for disengagement and indifference.
the school, and validating families home language. As a school leader, find out how families perceive
involvement, and do not assume families will share
the schools beliefs. Ask families how they wish to
Immerse Yourself in Families Cultures
participate in their childrens education; let them
To engage families in linguistically and culturally know what the school recommends they do to become
sensitive ways (De Gaetano 2007), school leaders involved, and assure them that it is appropriateand
need to know the cultures of the childrens families. expectedto visit, ask questions, and share their
Learning about culture is an inside-out process that opinions about their childrens schooling. Also, once
starts by examining and re-examining ones own val- you have understood whether the schools and fami-
ues and beliefs in light of the similarities and differ- lys expectations may differ, be flexible in terms of
ences between ones culture and that of the other. what you expect from families and take cues from
Immersing ones self in another culture requires parents and families as to what they feel is appropriate
engaging in experiences that will teach one about for them in terms of their involvement in childrens
families values, customs, beliefs, and communication education (Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005b).
patterns. Some examples of how this can be done are
Identify the Ways in Which Families Prefer to
visiting students neighborhoods and their homes;
Interact With Schools
learning from families when conducting home visits
and talking to students family members Families have different preferences about com-
(grandparents, extended family members); municating with schools, and teachers and schools
going to places where the community gathers
need to know what they are (Orozco, 2008). In gen-
socially, such as churches and temples;
eral, Hispanic families favor warm, inviting class-
shopping at grocery stores of families communities;
watching television or listening to the radio with
room and school environments. As stated earlier,
students and families; and families feel more comfortable communicating with
listening to the music grandparents, parents, and the teacher or school staff in small groups, at infor-
children like and asking what the lyrics say. mal, face-to-face talks, rather than in one-on-one,
formal meetings. When rapport has been established,
Once engaged in these experiences, one can reflect families may prefer home visits.
on the ways in which one is culturally similar to and Before the school year begins, lead school efforts
different from students families. This reflection has to survey families about how they prefer to commu-
the potential to promote intercultural understanding. nicate. Give families options such as formal or infor-
mal meetings, individual or small-group talks, phone
calls, written notes, flyers, email, and an interactive
Recognize That Families Understanding of Parental
Involvement May Differ From the Schools

Different cultural groups understand the role of Validate Families Home Language
parents in childrens education in different ways.
Culturally diverse families beliefs and practices Validating families native language is a way to
often differ from schools expectations (Barton, involve parents by acknowledging and celebrating
Drake, Perez, St. Louis, & George, 2004). their cultural and linguistic identity (De Gaetano,

2007). To relate to families culture, it is important to needs to be in the language families speak and
communicate in their native language. Below are understand best. In many cases, this means commu-
some strategies that can help school leaders validate nicating in Spanish. To encourage family involve-
and relate to families language. ment, consider sending home short and informative
bilingual (English and Spanish) newsletters, which
Take a Survival Spanish Course. Learning another can be in paper, electronic, or video formats. In
language takes a long time, but one does not have to designing the newsletter, always consider the literacy
learn the new language perfectly to start communi- levels of families and the technology available in
cating in it. Survival Spanish courses allow learning families homes. Contrary to common belief,
basic communication skills. As a school leader, you Spanish-speaking parents with low incomes and low
can make sure the school offers a survival Spanish levels of education often have access to multiple
course for teachers and school staff. If a course of this technological methods (Walsh, Buckley, Rose,
nature is not an option at your school, you can lead a Sanchez, & Gillum, 2008).
one-on-one language tutoring course. All you need is
a well-defined goal, such as a list of words and Ensure Access to Bilingual Books in School and
phrases you want to learn and a willing native speaker Classroom Libraries. Bilingual books are critical
eager to trade tutoring hours with you. That speaker literacy tools in bilingual classrooms, and they also
may be a bilingual teacher aide, a volunteer, a parent, validate the students and families cultural back-
a colleague, or a member of the community. This grounds and language. By incorporating bilingual
person could teach you what you want to learn in books in your classroom library, many Spanish-
Spanish, and you could teach the person something speaking parents will be able to relate to the lan-
he or she wants to learn in English. guage and will be likely to share the book with their
Having one-on-one tutoring sessions with a native child.
speaker of the language you want to learn will give
you a good language model in addition to a great Use Spanish Proverbs or Dichos. To be successful,
opportunity for interacting and further exploring the parental involvement programs must relate to the
new culture. many sociocultural contexts present in families
(Souto-Manning, 2006), and consider these con-
Use Live Translators or Interpreters. Identify peo- texts when promoting awareness of the benefits
ple in your school and community who speak associated with parental participation in childrens
Spanish and English, and who are willing to serve education. One possible way to counter two of the
as translators during face-to-face parent-teacher obstacles cited in the published literature (namely,
conferences and other situations such as phone schools and homes language barriers and fami-
conferences and online communication. Translators lies lack of familiarity with U.S. schools prac-
are usually members of the community, such as tices and policies) in a culturally and linguistically
parents and older members of the students extended appropriate way may be the use of dichos or folk
families. sayings in the Spanish language (Sanchez, 2009).
A key component of the Hispanic oral culture and
Use Electronic Translators and Apps. Two online Spanish language discourse, dichos have been
translators are Google Translate, which is also avail- identified as culturally and linguistically appropri-
able as an iPhone and Android smartphone app, and ate tools for family involvement. Dichos, or popu-
Bing Translator. When using these online tools and lar sayings, may prove effective in enhancing
apps, it is a good idea to ask a native speaker for communication between the school and Spanish-
input on the accuracy and appropriateness of your speaking families. Rooted in oral tradition
translation before sharing the translated message (Ziga, 1992), dichos are commonly used by
with your audience. Spanish-speaking people to express their values,
attitudes, and perceptions (Espinoza-Herold,
Share Traditional and Technology-Enhanced 2007). The concept of dichos is explained in
Bilingual Newsletters. Communication with families greater detail in Sidebar 8.1.
8. The Growing Hispanic Population in U.S. Schools129

Sidebar 8.1 Teaching With Dichos

As short traditional guides of conduct, dichos endorse moral and ethical values (Delgado-Gaitn, 2004). They transmit
cultural values and beliefs to younger generations by teaching lessons about life, offering advice, summarizing ideas,
and expressing a specific perspective on a given situation (Chahin, Villarruel, & Viramontez, 1999). These metaphori-
cal images of cultural values and beliefs are spontaneous, brief, and often developed with rhyme (Ziga, 1992). They
are funds of knowledge of a people and part of the historically accumulated body of knowledge essential for house-
hold functioning and well-being among native speakers of Spanish (Gonzlez, Andrade, Civil, & Moll, 2001). Given
their cultural and linguistic relevance among Hispanics, and their potential to impact individuals belief systems,
dichos may also influence the ways parents bring up a child, their style of communication, and their thoughts about
formal education (Espinosa, 1995).
Dichos can be used as slogans or mottos to encourage behaviors conducive to family involvement (Sanchez, Plata,
Grosso, & Leird, 2010). Teachers, administrators, and other school staff can incorporate the slogans or mottos in set-
tings where Spanish is spoken to communicate with families. For example, assume that teachers wish to invite par-
ents to talk about the importance of working together in childrens education. One dicho to help persuade parents
to become involved is Dos cabezas piensan mejor que una, which means Two minds are better than one. Another
helpful dicho is En la unin est la fuerza, which means In unity, there is strength. Both dichos can be interpreted
as conveying the need to have the teacher working alongside families to encourage children to learn.
In settings where Spanish is not commonly used, teachers and school staff could integrate dichos into their com-
munication efforts with families, provided that dichos are applied within appropriate contexts. Bilingual resource
books can assist non-Spanish-speaking teachers and school staff in understanding and interpreting most commonly
used dichos. Popular resource books for dichos include the Dictionary of Proverbs: Spanish/English and English/
Spanish (Carbonell-Basset, 1996), 101 Spanish Proverbs (Aparicio, 1998), and My First Book of Proverbs/Mi Primer
Libro de Dichos (Gonzlez, Ruiz, & Cisneros, 2002).

Conclusion what is necessary to better serve an increasing

Hispanic student population is the first step toward
The Hispanic population in the United States continues overcoming these challenges. Next, it is a must to
to grow at unprecedented rates. This shift in the demo- implement strong education programs for language
graphic landscape of this country requires that public minority children and high-quality instruction for
education respond to four urgent challenges. The first economically disadvantaged children. It is also impor-
challenge is the need to prepare for the demands of tant to advocate for children and families of poverty
current school enrollment and projected enrollment and to develop and support strong family involvement
rates indicating a substantial and growing presence of programs that are both linguistically and culturally
Hispanic children in U.S. classrooms. Second, public appropriate. By implementing these solutions and the
schools must successfully prepare an increasing num- strategies suggested in this chapter, school leaders
ber of children of poverty from Hispanic origin. Third, will be better prepared to face the demands of an
schools must meet the needs of an increasing number increasingly diverse student population.
of language minority children, an important subgroup
among Hispanic students. Finally, reducing dropout
rates and increasing college completion rates among Key Chapter Terms
the Hispanic population is an ongoing challenge.
This chapter proposes five solutions for school Achievement gap: Occurs when one group of stu-
leaders to step up to the aforementioned challenges. dents outperforms another group, and the difference
School leaders acknowledgment of their responsibil- in average scores for the two groups is statistically
ity and their commitment to actively engage in doing significant.

Dropout: Term used to describe both the event of students who have not completed their formal high
leaving school before completing high school and the school education and who may earn a high school
status of an individual who is not in school and who equivalency certificate by achieving satisfactory
is not a high school completer. High school com- scores. GED certificates are awarded by the states or
pleters include both graduates of high school pro- other agencies, and the test is developed and distrib-
grams as well as those who complete equivalency uted by the GED Testing Service of the American
programs, such as those that prepare students for the Council on Education and education publisher
General Educational Development (GED) test. Pearson.
Transferring from a public school to a private school,
for example, is not regarded as a dropout event. Event dropout rate: Estimates the percentage of high
A person who drops out of school may later return school students who left high school between the
and graduate but is called a dropout at the time he beginning of one school year and the beginning of
or she leaves school. Measures to describe these the next without earning a high school diploma or an
behaviors include the event dropout rate (or the alternative credential (e.g., a General Educational
closely related school persistence rate), the status Development [GED] certificate).
dropout rate, and the high school completion rate.
GED certificate: This award is received following
English as a second language (ESL): Designates the successful completion of the General Educational
programs and instructional strategies used to teach Development (GED) test. The GED program, spon-
the English language to non-English speakers. The sored by the American Council on Education, enables
programs and strategies do not use the students individuals to demonstrate that they have acquired a
native language for instructional purposes. level of learning comparable to that of high school
English language learner (ELL): An individual who,
due to any of the reasons listed below, has sufficient Racial/ethnic group: Classification indicating gen-
difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understand- eral racial or ethnic heritage. Race/ethnicity data are
ing the English language to be denied the opportu- based on the Hispanic ethnic category and the race
nity to learn successfully in classrooms where the categories listed below (five single-race categories,
language of instruction is English or to participate plus the two or more races category). Race categories
fully in the larger U.S. society. Such an individual exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity unless other-
(1) was not born in the United States or has a native wise noted. White: A person having origins in any of
language other than English; (2) comes from envi- the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or
ronments where a language other than English is North Africa; Black or African American: A person
dominant; or (3) is an American Indian or Alaska having origins in any of the black racial groups of
Native and comes from environments where a lan- Africa. Used interchangeably with the shortened
guage other than English has had a significant term Black; Hispanic or Latino: A person of Cuban,
impact on the individuals level of English language Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American,
proficiency. or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
Used interchangeably with the shortened term
Equivalency certificate: A formal document certify- Hispanic; Asian: A person having origins in any of
ing that an individual has met the state requirements the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia,
for high school graduation equivalency by obtaining or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example,
satisfactory scores on an approved examination and Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia,
meeting other performance requirements (if any) set Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and
by a state education agency or other appropriate body. Vietnam. Prior to 20102011, the Common Core of
One particular version of this certificate is earned by Data (CCD) combined Asian and Pacific Islander
passing the General Educational Development (GED) categories; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific
test. The GED test is a comprehensive test used pri- Islander: A person having origins in any of the
marily to appraise the educational development of original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other
8. The Growing Hispanic Population in U.S. Schools131

Pacific Islands. Prior to 20102011, the Common Structured English Immersion: Designates programs
Core of Data (CCD) combined Asian and Pacific and instructional techniques whose goal is ELLs
Islander categories; American Indian or Alaska rapid acquisition of the English language at the
Native: A person having origins in any of the original expense of the students native language. SEI pro-
peoples of North and South America (including grams use structured and sequential lessons that are
Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation largely based on the mainstream curricula and taught
or community attachment. exclusively in the English language.

Status dropout rate: Reports the percentage of indi- Submersion: Also known as sink or swim. In these
viduals in a given age range who are not in school classrooms, English language learners do not receive
(public or private) and have not earned a high school support in the form of ESL instruction or native
diploma or an alternative credential. language instruction.

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Further Readings This book gives a comprehensive overview of history,

politics, theory, and practice regarding the education of
Cloud, N., Genesee, F., & Hamayan, E. (2000). Dual English language learners.
language instruction: A handbook for enriched
Freeman, R. D. (2004). Building on community
education. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.
bilingualism: Promoting bilingualism through
This book details ways to develop and sustain high-quality schooling. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon.
instruction in the context of dual-immersion education.
This book demonstrates how schools can promote
Crawford, J. (2004). Educating English learners: English language development, high academic achieve-
Language diversity in the classroom (5th ed.) ment, and multilingual expertise within bilingual com-
Los Angeles, CA: Bilingual Education Services. munities.
8. The Growing Hispanic Population in U.S. Schools133

Genesee, F., Lindholm-Leary, K., Saunders, W. M., & This report suggests the following strategies for creating
Christian, D. (2006). Educating English language equitable communities in schools: encouraging reflec-
learners: A synthesis of research evidence. New tive practice of students and adults, increasing multicul-
York, NY: Cambridge University Press. tural understanding, keeping diverse schools physically
This report by the Center for Research on Education, and emotionally safe, promoting cultural responsive-
Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) presents research ness regarding high expectations, ensuring diverse
findings on English learners language, literacy, and participation, and attending to students emotional
general academic development. needs.

Lindholm-Leary, K. J. (2001). Dual language education. Zarate, M. E. (2007). Understanding Latino parental
Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters. involvement in education. Los Angeles. CA: The
This book was one of the first in the field of bilingual Tomas Rivera Policy Institute. Retrieved on May
education to present a thorough overview of a variety of 30 from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED502065
dual language programs from the United States. .pdf

Ross, R. (2013). School climate and equity. In T. Dary & This study explored the different definitions and percep-
T. Pickeral (Eds.), School climate: Practices for tions of parental involvement in education from the
implementation and sustainability (School Climate perspective of a variety of stakeholders. School admin-
Practice Brief, No. 1). New York, NY: National istrators will find this report helpful as they seek to
School Climate Center. promote parental involvement in schools.


University of North Carolina Greensboro

onsider a principal newly assigned to a Best Practice Defined
struggling, majority minority middle
school. She pores over the schools In their seminal work, Best Practice: New Standards
achievement and demographic data, along with data for Teaching and Learning in Americas Schools
from surveys, and learns all she can from school (2012), now in its 4th edition, Steven Zemelman,
faculty and other stakeholders, including students Harvey Daniels, and Arthur Hyde note that the terms
and parents. She recognizes that students are good practice and best practice are everyday
struggling to master grade-level math content, phrases used to describe solid, reputable,
especially in the areas of complex problem-solving state-of-the-art work in a field (p. 1). Their use of
and algebraic concepts. Additionally, she learns that the term underscores several concepts: (a) best
many of the schools African American students practices are state of the art, reflecting current
derisively equate math success with acting White. research and underscoring the notion that what
Alongside the school improvement team and with constitutes best practice will change over time as
input from a subgroup of students and parents, she more is learned and understood about teaching and
works to identify root causes of these challenges learning; (b) the word reputable reflects the notion
and to draft a thoughtful, intentional plan, drawing that best practices represent consensus (or as close to
upon available research and the wisdom of the it as we get in education) of professionals in the
faculty, including their expertise about the local field; (c) best practices are based on research, and;
context. This principal embodies a commitment to (d) best practices represent mindful practice.
best practices. Often, the terms good practice, best practice,
This chapter defines best practices, provides a promising practice, evidence-based practice,
critique of the concept, and identifies general, research-based practice, scientifically based
field-specific, and approach-specific defensible practice, and excellent practice are conflated and
teaching practices. Additionally, it offers concrete used interchangeably. Grover J. Whitehurst, who
strategies that educational leaders can use to leverage served as assistant secretary for educational research
best practices to serve students effectively, ethically, and improvement at the U.S. Department of
and equitably. Education during the George W. Bush administration,


in 2002 defined evidence-based practice as the evidence-based practices, where evidence comes
integration of professional wisdom with the best from scientifically based research, which privileges
available empirical evidence in making decisions quantitative, experimental design as the gold
about how to deliver instruction (p. 3). He standard for research and marginalizes qualitative
recognizes the role of professional expertise and and mixed methods research. This is manifest in the
judgment that considers context alongside research federal governments What Works Clearinghouse,
in shaping instruction. Essentially, best practices are which acts as a powerful arbiter of what do and do
intentional, considered approaches that reflect not constitute best practices in education. Taken
educator judgment and research. Additionally, best further, this approach manifests itself in the mantra
practices are defensible practices (Skelton, 2009). that what counts is what works, where value is
Nothing we do as educators is value-free. As such, indicated by the ability to effect certain ends, and
educators must be mindful of the values underscored concerns about ethical and moral dimensions and
in their judgments and must ensure that practices are the value-ladenness of knowledge and assumptions
ethically defensible. are elided.

Looking Backward: From Where Does the Best Practices: A Critique

Concept of Best Practice Come?
While the concept of best practices has notable
The discourse of best practices reflects the 17th- and merits, there are also substantive concerns about it
18th-century Enlightenment notion of betterment that fall into four broad categories: theoretical
through change grounded in scientific knowledge. challenges, issues of social justice and equity,
Enlightenmentor modernistvalues include challenges of practice, and misuse of best practices.
certainty, objectivity, and the belief that science
provides a linear arc of progress toward ever better Theoretical Challenges
ways of doing and being. Further, modernist thinking
Best Practices as a Neoliberal Mechanism for
eschews ideology and privileges a belief in value-free, Control and Accountability
objective reasoning (and by extension research) and
the application of correct (identified by research) Neoliberalism involves the privileging of economic
practices. values over social values and the privileging of
In the early 20th century, F. W. Taylor (1911) market forces, including competition and privatiza-
ushered in the era of scientific management or tion of social institutions, including education. This
Taylorism, the aims of which were focused on discourse is inextricable from the discourse of
efficiency of management and production. The accountability, which emphasizes measurable
attending results were devaluation of worker creativity outcomes as a mechanism of surveillance, usually in
and agency. In the 1960s and 1970s, process/product the form of standardized achievement test scores.
researchers worked to map specific teacher behaviors Here best practices are those that increase test scores,
to student achievement, resulting, for example, in and best practices are advanced within the framework
attention to teacher behaviors that promoted time on of accountability.
task. Discourses of best practice can be found today Neoliberalism tends to elide issues of power,
in manufacturing, business, finance, medicine, law, ethics, equity, and social justice. It promotes external
architecture, and the social services, including the reward and punishment and marginalizes discourses
treatment of mental illness and substance abuse. that speak to democratic roles of education, including
Vestiges of Taylorism are reflected in a contemporary the development of an educated citizenry and
tendency to apply science in a myopic way to improve freedom from oppression, and to humanistic roles of
efficiency and achieve ends. education, including attending to the needs of the
This assumption that what is best is knowable whole childintellectually/academically, socially,
and can be applied universally to bring about emotionally, and physically. To the extent that the
predicted outcomes underscores a commitment to language of best practices is used to reify neoliberal
9. The Continuing Search for Best Practices in Classroom Instruction137

discourse, it does a disservice to the multifaceted role critically reflective educators can the diverse needs
of education in society and to students. of diverse students in diverse context be ethically
and effectively met.
What Constitutes Evidence: Scientific
Evidence for Best Practices
Resistant to Change and Antithetical to Innovation:
An aspect of modernism is the notion that reality Fixed Versus Dynamic Best Practices
is external, objective, and both knowable and The phrase best practice connotes status. Once
verifiable through the application of (quantitative) identified and adopted, best practices are codified
empirical research. Such scientific evidence serves such that they are resistant to change. Consider the
to identify best practices. Within the modernist and five-paragraph essay, math problem sets, and book
neoliberal discourses, there is a clear hierarchy of reports. There are innumerable practices to which
scientific evidence promulgated by the U.S. educators remain committed, even as more innovative
Department of Education that places quantitative approaches are developed. We must think of best
experimental research at the pinnacle andin practices as fluid and dynamic as opposed to fixed.
descending order of worthcomparison groups What might have served as a best practice at one
(quasi-experimental design), pre-post treatment point in time may no longer be best practice. For
comparison, correlational studies, case studies, and example, in the second edition of the aforementioned
anecdotes (Whitehurst, 2002). Qualitative research Best Practice: New Standards for Teaching and
is severely marginalized. This is misguided at best Learning in Americas Schools (1998), Zemelman
and dangerous at worst. While random trials may and colleagues illustrate an exemplary whole
help to establish causal links between certain language program. In the fourth edition (2012) the
practices and outcomes, they cannot attend to authors articulate instead a balanced approach to
issues of how and why something works, nor can literacy. What is once a best practice will not always
they address issues of appropriateness or value. be a best practice, as new methods and research may
This hierarchy of evidence excludes whole worlds support different practices. Additionally, nascent
of research and severely limits our access to fields, like that of neuroscience, provide new
actionable data. direction for best practices, although some research-
ers think that unwarranted conclusions are often
Best Practices as Simplifying and drawn from brain research and that the findings dont
Deskilling Teaching support all the specific practices that are advocated
As Louise Anderson Allen argues in her entry on as brain-based. Still, what we know about the brain
best practices in the Encyclopedia of Curriculum can positively influence classroom practice. For
Studies (2010), best practices are leveraged in an example, in the second edition of Patricia Wolfes
attempt to teacher proof curriculum and instruction Brain Matters: Translating Research Into Classroom
and, in doing so, oversimplify teaching and Practice (2010), she emphasizes the role of exercise
disenfranchise educators: and nutrition in healthy brain functioning; advocates
the use of problems, projects, and simulations; and
Clearly, the concept of best practices was conceived of identifies specific brain-compatible strategies,
and touted to be the simplification of the complex task such as mnemonic strategies to aid memory and
of teaching. As a nonlinear task, however, teaching does active rehearsal strategies, such as peer teaching,
not easily lend itself to being reduced to a formula or to
a recipe. . . . Best practice also deskills teachers. . . .
to promote long-term retention of learning.
Teachers are now encouraged in fact, required to be Another risk is that teachers will be averse to
compliant deliverers. (p. 81) experimenting and trying emerging methods and
technologies because they have not been vetted as
To the extent that disembodied best practices are best practice. Overemphasis on best practices can
valued over the expertise and experience of stifle innovation. See Sidebar 9.1 about flipped
educators, they are coercive and serve as technologies instruction as an emerging method for leveraging
of control over educators. Only by cultivating technology to radically rethink the use of class time.

Sidebar 9.1 Flipped Instruction: Possible Emerging Best Practice

Flipped or reverse instruction basically flips traditional school and home learning roles. Traditionally, a teacher
might provide direct instruction in class while students take notes. Then the teacher leads the class in guided
practice, and afterwards students complete independent practice as homework. In a flipped model, instruction that
can be delivered outside of the classroom using technology is pushed to the home, where it is learned in advance of
class, freeing up class time for discussion, collaboration, student-teacher conferencing, application, problem solving
and student questions. Often in flipped instruction, the teacher will create or identify videos, applets (interactive,
web-based software applications), podcasts, websites, or online simulations that serve to provide instruction that
would typically take place in the classroom.
Within the emerging best practice of flipped instruction, there are best practices for flipping. For example,
flipped videos are typically shortoften no more than 10 or so minutesand feature a picture-within-picture of the
teacher explaining what the student is seeing in the larger frame. Additionally, best practices in flipped instruction
include identifying a purpose for learning; using engaging and well-considered audio and video; tying content
accessed outside the classroom to classroom work; embedding flipped content into an effective pedagogical model,
such as inquiry learning; promoting student reflection and metacognition of flipped content; and attending to issues
of equity due to the digital divide (Bergmann & Sams, 2012).
Educators must be mindful of the digital divide that privileges some students and marginalizes others, based on
access to an Internet-enabled device (e.g., desktop or laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone) with quality video and
audio capabilities and high speed Internet access. Flipped instruction pioneers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams,
authors of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day (2012), identify strategies that promote
access, including burning flipped content to DVDs or CD-ROMs or making technology available to students before
and after school.
There is, however, little systematic research on flipped instruction to date, and evidence of the benefits of flipped
instruction are largely anecdotal. As such, educators must be critical practitioners when considering moving to
flipped instruction. That said, flipped instruction is the type of innovation that can be squelched if we maintain a
fixed notion of best practices, as opposed to a more fluid or dynamic approach that recognizes the need for
experimentation in teaching and learning. Flipped instruction is a fruitful area for action research at the classroom
or school level.

Best Suggests Just One Way teach; instead, what constitutes exemplary teaching
can vary across schools and classrooms (Gabriel
The very phrase best practice implies that there
& Allington, 2012).
is a single best way to do something and that as
educators we must seek out this pinnacle of
performance and replicate it. In this respect, the best Issues of Power, Equity, and Social Justice
is very much the enemy of good. Additionally, the
The Ecological Fallacy and Attention to the Mean
notion that there is one best way to teach is countered Versus Outlier
by a good deal of research. There is, in fact, a
multiplicity of good, defensible ways to approach Ecological fallacy refers to the act of making
instruction. A landmark study by Guy L. Bond and inferences or assumptions about individuals based on
Robert Dykstra (1967) of first-grade reading meth- collective data on groups to which the individual
ods and materials found that no one approach is so belongs. When we too greatly emphasize the central
distinctly better in all situations and respects than the tendency of data (i.e., what the average students
others that it should be considered the one best achievement or profile looks like for a certain group)
method and the one to be used exclusively (p. 123). and underemphasize outliers or individuals, we risk
Additionally, in a number of large-scale, federally committing ecological fallacy. Ecological fallacies
funded studies of exemplary teaching, researchers come in many varieties, from assuming that a
have found that there is no single one right way to specific girl will prefer fiction to nonfiction to
9. The Continuing Search for Best Practices in Classroom Instruction139

inferring that all students who were not proficient on For example, in response to the idea that
a standardized achievement test require the same kindergarteners can begin to write their own books,
interventions. While central tendencies, like averages, some educators might respond, That might work in
can give us part of the picture, we must recognize some rich White neighborhood but certainly not
that any group is comprised of diverse, unique here. Educational leaders must take care to allow
individuals who may have different strengths and context to inform instructional decisions but not limit
needs and as such require different approaches and them.
strategies. Being equitable means doing different
things to meet different students needs.
Best Practices Located Primarily at
the Practitioner Level
Attention to Context
Most works on best practices in education focus
When considering best practices, we must ask, on classroom-level practice. This is reasonable given
Best for whom, in what context, under what that substantial research shows that the teachernot
conditions, for what goals/ends/purposes and best as materials or facilities or programs or principalshas
determined by whom, using what criteria and the greatest impact on student learning of any
evidence, and selected over what alternatives? school-related factor. As such, it stands to reason that
Context is key and includes historical, social, much of the discourse of best practices focuses on
political, and cultural elements. There is no best teacher-level strategies.
practice that serves all students needs at any given The danger here is twofold. First, the myopic
time in any given setting. It is imperative that focus on teacher-level best practices ignores the fact
teachers, as critically reflective experts, consider the that larger, systemic issues can greatly magnify,
particulars of context in making instructional constrain, or corrupt the influence of teachers. As
decisionsdrawing upon their knowledge of their such, by focusing solely on the teacher level, the
field of practice and their knowledge of the particular discourse of best practices elides the responsibility of
case. An approach or strategy that was successful in educational leaders to ensure systems are aligned
one setting may be ineffective or even counterpro- with best practices. Additionally, educational leaders
ductive in another. Alternatively, a different setting must leverage best practices at the program level for
might require dissimilar or additional supports whole school improvement.
reinvention and adaptation, instead of adoption. For Second, teachers enacting individually selected
example, many schools are implementing professional practices fail to capitalize on the power of teacher
learning communities (PLCs). PLC initiatives are not collaboration and shared goals. When all educators
uniformly successful. In some cases, this is because in a school have a shared vision for student success
cultural work needs to be done in a school to ready and work collaboratively together to enact that
educators for the kind of collegial relationships that vision, teachers efforts are synergistically magnified.
PLCs both require and enhance. In other cases, it is As such, attention must be given to teaching as a
because there is an emphasis on strict compliance to collaborative endeavor, including cultivating a shared
a particular PLC model instead of more flexible vision; collaborative planning, assessing, and
adaption of the model to suit the particular needs of reflection; and the role of teacher leadership within a
a group of educators. framework of distributed leadership.
The converse concern here is that educators
dismiss a promising practice because it cant work
Lack of Focus on Systemic Issues
here. While context is key, it should not be used to of Equity, Bias, and Marginalization
dismiss ideas and strategies before they are afforded
thoughtful consideration. Sometimes dismissal of Linda Darling-Hammond, in her influential book
ideas as irrelevant or inappropriate for a given The Flat World and Education: How Americas
context reflects ungrounded assumptions or a failure Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future
of imagination that keeps educators from seeing (2010) argues that as a society, our attention should be
and embracing potentially powerful strategies. focused not on the achievement gap but on the

opportunity gap, the accumulated differences in mindful, reflective practitioners. Best practices
access to key educational resourcesexpert teachers, should be used at the service of such teachers, never
personalized attention, high-quality curriculum as their masters.
opportunities, good educational materials, and plentiful
information resources (p. 28), which is compounded Challenges of Practice
over generations. Best practices, when focused on
When Best Practices Arent: Poor Implementation
compartmentalized instructional strategies, omit
attention to larger and more compelling issues of Even the best ideas can be bastardized upon
institutional and systemic bias and marginalization. implementation. While a practice must be reinvented
For example, best practices such as accessing and and adapted as opposed to mindlessly adopted, we
building upon prior knowledge, writing across the must take care to implement a practice fully and with
curriculum, or hands-on learning will never resolve or fidelity; otherwise, the expected benefits or outcomes
ameliorate systemic problems of low expectations for may be undermined. The challenge comes in
poor students, stratifying or segregating students by balancing the need to fit the practice or program to a
ability, limiting access to high-level, rigorous specific context and not the other way around, while
coursework, inequitable distribution of quality teachers, also recognizing that there are elements or components
and the absence of culturally relevant pedagogy of an initiative that must be implemented with
(Murphy, 2010). In the context of these powerful fidelity in order to see results. For example, perhaps
forces, best practices seem insignificant or even moot. school faculty decide to implement a universal
program on prevention of substance abuse that
Perverse Effects: Costs of Best Practices research has shown to be effective, but they recognize
that a component of the programnine weekly
When looking at what works or at best practices 90-minute evening parent sessionsis not a good fit
for achieving a certain end, we need to examine for their community where a substantial number of
intended and unintended consequences. For example, parents work second shift at a local steel mill. If the
in working to raise Advanced Placement (AP) exam faculty cut out the part of the program that engages
scores, a school might restrict access to the courses parents, then the program may not be as effective.
to only those students who are likely to score well. Instead, if the faculty offer sessions every other
This might indeed result in higher AP scores, but it Saturday for 3 hours, they may be adapting the
unjustly restricts other students from access to program in a way that is sensitive to the local context
rigorous, deep content. This is a social justice issue, but still maintains fidelity to a critical component of
as all students should have access to and should be the program. Reinvention and adaptation of practices
encouraged to challenge themselves with rigorous must be a function of context and not a function of
content. Educators must be ever vigilant about the educator convenience.
use of best practices at the expense of other desirables. Additionally, if practicesfor example a writing
workshopare implemented haphazardly or
Best Practices Encourage Abdication of Critique inconsistently, then the effects are likely to be
disappointing. At the school level, deep implementa-
Because best practices are ostensibly the bestas
tion of a program or reformby 90% or more of
determined by some external and assumed trustwor-
facultyis needed to effect real change. As practices
thy entitythey are taken as given and therefore
are implemented, attention should be paid not only to
uncontested. This encourages abdication of critique.
the impact of the practices but the degree, adaptation,
In other words, because best practices have some
and consistency of implementation.
figurative stamp of approval, educators may be
reluctant to challenge, critically examine, or question Best Practices as Too Particularistic
these practices. This is dangerous. As previously
discussed, sometimes best practices result in In What Successful Teachers Do: 91 Research-
perverse, unintended consequences or may not be Based Classroom Strategies for New and Veteran
appropriate for a certain context. Judgment regarding Teachers, authors Neal A. Glasgow and Cathy
instructional practices must always reside in critically D. Hicks (2003) introduce each of 91 strategies,
9. The Continuing Search for Best Practices in Classroom Instruction141

identify classroom applications of and research on Best Practices: Appropriate Versus Effective
each, and call attention to precautions and pitfalls.
What is effective in producing an outcomesuch
Many of the strategies included in the book are
as increases in test scorescan be inappropriate or
laudable, such as those related to student
even perverse. Certainly, a teacher who extracts from
collaboration, using assessment and feedback, and
students higher test scores by threatening, bullying,
integrating technology. At the same time, there is a
and punishing would be roundly condemned. That
real concern that focusing on isolated, particular
which is best at obtaining certain ends may not be
strategies, such as the jigsaw technique (strategy
appropriate or ethical. Consider these findings from
no. 2), may elide or overshadow larger principles of
research on effective teaching for at-risk students:
service, as Joe Osburn, Guy Caruso, and Wolf
Wolfensberger argue in The Concept of Best
Teachers who ask the most high-level and the fewest
Practice: A Brief Overview of its Meanings, Scope, low-level questions, teachers whose pupils ask more
Uses, and Shortcomings (2011): questions and get more feedback from their teachers,
teachers who tend to amplify or discuss pupil-initiated
There is a danger in particularizing as this obscures comments most are the ones who are least effective.
high-order principles such as a positive relationship of (Medley, 1979, p. 24, emphasis added)
the server to the served, holding and conveying positive
high expectations of the party served, and countering If a teacher were to act on this research and focus
negative stereotypes to which the party may be
vulnerable. (p. 218) solely on lower-level questions, she would be guilty
of what George W. Bush (2000) referred to as the
soft bigotry of low expectations. She would be
In the example featured at the beginning of the
teaching students that their questions and comments
chapter, analysis of assessment data indicated weak
do not matter, that their work does not warrant her
math performance by African American students.
thoughtful feedback. Such teaching would be
Without attention to the root causes of this
unethical and would mis-serve her students. There
underperformance, educators might invoke certain
are two issues here: The first is that our practices
best practices in mathsuch as having students
must always be ethical and defensible. To borrow
illustrate or act out word problemswhen the real
from the medical profession, primum non nocere
issues may lie in students cultural construct of
first, do no harm. Appropriate instruction is that
strong math performance as acting White and
which is fitting (context-relevant) and ethical.
the prevalence among educators of a deficit model
Second, we must be mindful about what ends or
that perseverates on and pathologizes students
outcomes we aim for in education. When
weaknesses instead of leveraging their strengths.
considering best practices, we must ask, Best at
Sometimes focusing on micro best practices obscures
what? In other words, we need to have a sense of
the need to focus on macro issues like systemic bias
what we want to accomplish in order to critically
and cultural misalignment.
consider practices to bring about the intended result.
For example, if the end goal of instruction is to
The Misuse of Best Practices cultivate students who are creative, collaborative
Best Practice of Terrible Practices problem solvers, instruction will look quite different
than if the end goal is success on state standardized
There are arguably better and worse ways to do achievement tests. Unfortunately, in this era of
just about anything, including practices that are accountability, what is best is generally considered
themselves far from best. Even those things that are in terms of raising test scores.
less desirable in educationa management approach
to leadership or a direct instruction approach to Best Practices as Those That Lift Test Scores
pedagogyhave best practices. Indeed, there are
entire books written on how best to do these things Often, best practices are defined in terms of
that are themselves suspect. Educational leaders demonstrated impact on raising achievement test
must ensure not just that things are being done right scores. This is often the evidence used for
but that right things are being done. evidence-based practice or scientifically based

practice. This is a narrow view of the role of a technical exercise in applying a list of best practices.
teaching and learning. It inappropriately elevates How, then, should educational leaders approach the
certain practices, such as test preparation, narrowing use of best practices? The section that follows
of the curriculum, and short chunking of instruction focuses on this question.
(instruction in short, limited, skill-based activities, as
opposed to multilesson learning on larger concepts),
over practices such as interdisciplinary, collaborative, Best Practices for
inquiry-based projects as well as a more comprehen- the Use of Best Practices
sive focus on the whole child. If we want students to
be nimble, collaborative, creative problem-solvers, as Given the extensive critique of best practices in this
the goals of 21st-century teaching and learning chapter, the reader may well wonder whether the
(e.g., Partnership for 21st Century Learning, n.d.) concept of best practices is ruined or at least
suggest, then using test scores as both the goal of and emasculated. The preceding critique notwithstanding,
evidence of best practices is imprudent. Educational the discourse of best practices can be generative and
leaders must be mindful of the larger picture for productiveand can even promote equity and social
teaching and learning. Once that vision has been justicewhen approached critically and reflectively.
articulated, then best practices for achieving that The following section provides strategies for utilizing
vision can be considered. best practices in an ethically defensible manner.

Supervision Concern: Best Practices as Checklist Leverage Best Practices to

Promote Equity and Social Justice
Best practices can help school and district leaders
make decisions on how to invest resources (e.g., on Certain best practices, such as holding high
group sets of leveled books, or books based on expectations, heterogeneous and flexible grouping,
students individual reading levels, instead of basal and differentiation, when provided to all students,
readers for primary literacy classrooms), on can actually promote equity and social justice.
professional development (e.g., on providing rich, Additionally, best practice in data use involves
job-embedded, ongoing professional development on analysis of data to uncover and address hidden
enduring pedagogical approaches versus one-shot inequities, such as the common overrepresentation of
sessions on education fads), and on what to look for African American students in discipline referrals and
in classrooms. Leaders should know what good underrepresentation of female students in advanced
instruction looks like, how to identify it, and how to science courses.
cultivate it. Best practices can help to do these things. Additionally, the discourse of best practices itself
That said, there is a risk that educational leaders will should be reoriented towardand best practices
reduce best practices to a checklist of observables should be defined asthose practices that abolish
and mindlessly evaluate educators against the marginalization, reduce the opportunity gap, and
checklist. This would be inappropriate for a number promote social justice, as opposed to those practices
of reasons. First, as discussed above, context is key. that increase test scores. Further, best practices for
Educators need the discretionary space social justice require educators to serve as
(Hlebowitsh, 2012, p. 3) to make instructional transformative intellectuals who ask hard questions,
decisions based on the particular needs of their point out issues of injustice, and challenge
particular students at a particular point in time. orthodoxy.
Second, teaching is a complex practiceboth art and
scienceand any reduction of that complexity to a Promote Educators Critical Intelligence
checklist is misguided and both oversimplifies and and Creative Intelligence
deprofessionalizes teaching. Thus while educational
leaders should be well versed in practitioner dialogue In Evaluation as Practical Hermeneutics,
and research about best practices, they must also Thomas A. Schwandt (1997) defines critical
recognize that doing what is best for students is never intelligence as
9. The Continuing Search for Best Practices in Classroom Instruction143

the ability to question whether the [end] is worth questioning, planning, acting, assessing, reflecting,
getting to. It requires not simply knowledge of effects, and adjustingcycling through the inquiry process
strategies, procedures and the like but the willingness
continually. Inquiry involves teachers raising
and capacity to debate the value of various ends of a
practice. . . . This is fundamentally an exercise in questions and identifying challenges, looking to both
practical-moral reasoning. (p. 79) external evidence as well as their own experience and
expertise, making thoughtful decisions, acting upon
Educators must cultivate this critical intelligence those decisions, then reflecting on the data (formal
in order to judge various best practices and to avoid and informal) that speak to the intended and
being positioned as passive drones who mindlessly unintended consequences of those decisions and then
employ this or that best practice as defined by an responding appropriately. Joe L. Kincheloe, in his
external entity. Actualizing critical intelligence book Teachers as Researchers: Qualitative Inquiry
frames educators as agentic in considering values as a Path to Empowerment (1991) argues that
and evaluating ends. This is difficult to do in highly educators must push their knowledge to new levels
directive school districts that require compliance via new questions involving topics which transcend
with best practices as defined or adopted by the mere teaching technique (p. 4). Action research is
school district and thus may require strategic systematic inquiry by educators for educators, the
resistance by educators. goals of which, according to action research expert
Aligned with the need for critical intelligence is Geoffrey E. Mills in Action Research: A Guide for
what John Dewey referred to as creative intelligence the Teacher Researcher (4th edition, 2011), include
in a book by that name (1917/1970). Creative gaining insight, developing reflective practice,
intelligence is effecting positive changes in the school environment
(and on educational practices in general), and
an intelligence which is not the faculty of intellect improving student outcomes and the lives of those
honored in text-books and neglected elsewhere, but involved (p. 5). Action researchers are reflective
which is the sum-total of impulses, habits, emotions,
records, and discoveries which forecast what is desirable
and undesirable in future possibilities, and which
contribute ingeniously in behalf of imagined good. Promote Collegial Dialogue on Best Practices
(p. 6768)
Educators are most powerful and effective at
Here Dewey liberates intelligence from inert advancing student learning when they work
knowledge and exhorts its use for envisioning a collaboratively. Crucial to this collaboration is an
better world and transforming the current world ongoing, critical dialogue about best practices,
toward that vision of the future. Further, he frames including their potential, limitations, and discur-
creative intelligence as an amalgam of external sive situatedness, as discussed previously. Indeed,
(records, discoveries) and internal (impulses, habits, educator collaboration is itself a best practice
emotions) sources of knowing. Again, here the and can be cultivated within professional learn-
educator is positioned as an empowered, capable, ing communities, which are collaborative learning
agentic being responsible for imagining and groups orientated toward sharing and applying
bringing about future good. This discursive learning to advance student growth. PLC expert
positioning of the educator is a major shift from Shirley M. Hord, in her book Learning Together,
educator as automaton implementing a teacher-proof Leading Together: Changing Schools Through
curriculum using externally identified, prescribed Professional Learning Communities (2004), iden-
best practices. tifies five principles of mature PLCs: shared and
supportive leadership, shared values and vision,
Promote Teacher Inquiry collective learning and application of learning,
supportive conditions, and shared personal prac-
Praxis is the integration of theory into reflective tice. Within PLCs, best practices are a focus for
practice, and one vehicle for advancing praxis is dialogue as opposed to a checklist of observable
teacher inquiry. The cycle of inquiry includes teaching behaviors.

Best Practices 5. integrative (trans-disciplinary) units, which may be

theme-based and which focus on big ideas that
What follows in these sections is an introduction to cross content areas;
three dimensions of best practices: general (across 6. representing to learn, which requires students to
multiple grades and content areas), field specific talk, write, draw, act out, and in other ways
(discipline-specific), and approach or technique represent their learning; and
specific. A comprehensive treatment of best practices
7. the use of formative-reflective assessment, which
at each of these levels is beyond the scope of this involves assessment for learning and assessment as
chapter; however, the Further Readings section at the learning, where observational records, student
end of the chapter provides additional resources. portfolios, learning exhibitions, and other
assessments not only reflect student learning but
General Best Practices foster it as well.

General best practices refer to those that span In their book How Learning Works: Seven
multiple grades and content areas. In the 4th edition Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching
of Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in (2010), Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges,
Americas Classrooms (2012), Zemelman and Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, and Marie K.
colleagues identify what they call progressive and Norman identify strategies for teaching and learning
constructivist principles of best practice: Learning is that stretch across grade levels and content areas,
student-centered, authentic, holistic, experiential, each of which is introduced here.
and challenging; higher-order cognition is
emphasized through developmental and constructiv- Prior Knowledge
ist teaching that encourages students to express and
reflect on learning; and learning is interactive, The activation of students prior knowledge serves
reflecting a social, collaborative, and democratic to anchor and filter new learning. Teachers can
classroom community (pp. 89). Additionally, they identify student prior knowledge by dialoging with
identify seven structures of best practice teaching, colleagues, administering diagnostic assessments,
including: having students self-assess their prior knowledge,
and by examining student work for patterns of error.
1. gradual release of responsibility, the intentional, The authors offer a number of strategies for activating
staged transfer of responsibility from teacher to student prior knowledge, including brainstorming,
students through modeling, shared practice, guided concept mapping, explicitly linking new content to
practice, and independent practice; previously learned content, using analogies and
2. classroom reading-writing workshop, in which examples, and having students reason through new
students select their own focus for reading and material based on their prior knowledge. Additionally,
writing, collaborate with classmates, keep their teachers must address insufficient, inappropriate,
own records, and self-assess, and where teachers and inaccurate student prior knowledge before and
model, conference with students, and conduct during instruction of new content.
mini-lessons based on students needs;
3. strategic reading, which includes metacognition Organization of Knowledge
and pre-reading, during-reading, and after-reading
comprehension and meaning-making strategies; The second general strategy involves recognizing
that how students organize knowledge influences
4. collaboration, in which classroom instruction is
decentralized and the role of the teacher shifts from
how they learn and apply what they know (p. 44)
front-of-class commander to supporter of flexible and that experts and novices organize knowledge
groupings of students, including ad hoc groups and differently, where experts have rich, meaningful
teams of students who work together in long-term knowledge structures that support learning and
teams for projects, novel studies, writing groups, performance and novices tend to build sparse,
and inquiry-based learning; superficial knowledge structures (p. 45). To enhance
9. The Continuing Search for Best Practices in Classroom Instruction145

the way students organize knowledge, teachers can increase fluency and automaticity of skill integration;
utilize concept maps; provide students with a big and providing diverse contexts in which students can
picture sense of key learning in their course; apply skills.
analyze tasks to determine the type of knowledge
organization that will best facilitate learning (linear Targeted Feedback
approach, use of tables, etc.); use contrasting cases
(two examples that share features but also differ in The fifth strategy focuses on the use of feedback to
important ways) and boundary cases (anomalies); aid learning. Targeted, specific, and timely feedback on
have students categorize using multiple schemas; deliberate practice can guide successive practice.
and make connections among concepts explicit. Teachers provide instructional scaffolding within the
zone of proximal development, which refers to a level
of challenge such that students cannot yet perform
successfully on their own but can with support; this is
The third strategy focuses on leveraging principles also known as students instructional (as opposed to
of motivation to promote learning. This involves independent) level. Students need sufficient
recognizing that goals serve as the basic organizing goal-focused practice at an appropriate challenge level
feature of motivated behavior (pp. 7071) and hold coupled with feedback that communicates progress
subjective value, including attainment value and directs subsequent efforts. Feedback is generally
(satisfaction gained from mastery), intrinsic value more effective when it comes soon after performance
(satisfaction from the process of doing), and and when it is frequent. Teachers can use rubrics to
instrumental value (accomplishment of other goals, articulate performance expectations; provide models
usually involving extrinsic rewards). In order for and nonexamples of performance aligned to rubrics;
students to be motivated to accomplish goals, they and provide feedback in relation to the rubric
must not only value them but also have positive performance criteria. Teachers should prioritize their
outcome expectations, which are beliefs that specific feedback, perhaps providing feedback on one dimension
actions will bring about a desired outcome (p. 76). at a time in order to avoid overwhelming students.
Motivation is promoted when students perceive their Additionally, teachers should balance positive feedback
environment as supportive of their pursuit and with constructive feedback, provide opportunities for
achievement of valued goals. Teachers can stimulate peer feedback, and require students to articulate how
motivation by connecting content to student interests; they used feedback to inform subsequent efforts.
providing authentic, real-world tasks; articulating
relevance of content to students current academic Classroom Climate
lives and future professional lives; demonstrating
passion and enthusiasm for content; ensuring that The sixth strategy is based on the importance of
objectives, instructional activities, and assessments the intellectual, social, and emotional climate of the
are well aligned; providing early opportunities for learning environment. Learning climates can be
students to be successful; articulating expectations centralizing (inclusive and welcoming) or
and providing rubrics to establish clear performance marginalizing (exclusive and discouraging) to groups
targets; and allowing student choice of learning and individuals. Particularly toxic are classroom
activities, reading materials, resources, and more. environments in which stereotypes operate or in
which stereotype threatthe tension that arises in
Promoting Mastery
members of a stereotyped group when they fear
being judged according to stereotypes (Ambrose
The fourth strategy involves fostering mastery by et al., 2010, p. 174) is activated. Additionally, stu-
helping students acquire component skills and dents perceptions about how approachable the teacher
integrate and apply skills appropriately. Teachers can is and whether their teacher is interested in and cares
do this by deconstructing complex skills into their about them influence their views of climate. To
component parts; diagnosing and addressing missing promote a healthy classroom climate, teachers can
or weak component skills; providing practice to communicate that ambiguity is acceptable; encourage

multiple approaches; be mindful of unintentional in different fields read differently, attending to

messages being sent to students (e.g., about their varying text features and utilizing differing strategies
ability); avoid expecting an individual to represent to make meaning of complex texts. For example, in
his or her minority group; reduce anonymity; model the subfield of chemistry, students are expected to
inclusive attitudes, language, and behavior; establish attend to a texts narrative and to read alternative
and reinforce norms for interaction; avoid representations (e.g., graphics, figures, diagrams,
marginalizing students; seek feedback on climate; etc.) in a recursive, repeated back-and-forth way
address tensions directly, and use discord as a (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). Also, as students
teachable moment; and model active listening. progress through school and move into higher levels
of science, skills and routines are less general across
Self-Directed Learners the sciences and more particular to subfields, such as
chemistry, due to specific organization of subfield
The last strategy involves helping students become knowledge, increased abstraction, and progressively
self-directed learners, capable of assessing what a task more sophisticated and technical vocabulary.
requires, planning their approach, monitoring prog- Additionally, fields and subfields have differing
ress, and making adjustments as needed. This requires rhetorical structures and implicit understandings
metacognition. In order to promote metacognition for about ways of doing and speaking the discipline. To
self-directed learning, teachers may model metacog- the extent possible, these need to be explicitly spelled
nition and have students do guided self-assessments out for students, and field-specific expectations must
and reflect on and annotate their work. be articulated, modeled, and practiced.
The National Research Council, in 2011, released
its Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices,
Field-Specific Best Practices Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, which served
as the conceptual framework for the Next Generation
Each discipline or field has best practices specific
Science Standards (Achieve, 2013), released in spring
and unique to it. Here the field of natural sciences is
of 2013. The framework includes eight instructional
used as an example. Best practice in science involves
practices for science and engineering, including
inquiry, which ostensibly reflects the way in which
asking questions (science) and defining problems
real scientists do science. Inquiry labs fall along
(engineering); developing and using models; planning
a continuum (Brickman, Gormally, Armstrong, &
and carrying out investigations; analyzing and
Hallar, 2009). At one end of the continuum is closed
interpreting data; using math, information technology,
inquiry in which students are provided the research
and computational thinking; constructing explanations
question, protocol, and materials and are given
(science) and designing solutions (engineering);
directions regarding what data to collect and how to
engaging in argument; and obtaining, evaluating, and
analyze it. Closed inquiry is sometimes referred to as
communicating information.
cookbook or recipe inquiry. Further along the
Zemelman and colleagues (2012) offer additional
continuum is guided inquiry, in which the teacher
best practices for the natural sciences, which include
may pose the problem or question and then provide
building on students innate curiosity about the
support and guidance to students as they select
natural world; providing students with opportunities
variables, establish the experimental design, plan
to construct, defend, and critique arguments with
procedures, collect and make meaning of data, and
empirical evidence (p. 202); integrating science and
report findings. On the other end of the continuum is
engineering; and providing opportunities for
authentic or open inquiry, in which students choose
scientific discussion and debate.
their own research question, identify variables,
design experimentation, collect and analyze data, and
then report the data vis--vis other studies or theories. Approach-Specific and Technique-Specific
Best practice science instruction moves toward more Best Practices
authentic inquiry and away from closed inquiry.
Additionally, educators must cultivate science Best practice pedagogical approaches, such as
literacy, which requires the recognition that experts problem-based learning (PBL), themselves have best
9. The Continuing Search for Best Practices in Classroom Instruction147

practices. John R. Savery (2006), in the inaugural power, equity, and social justice; challenges of prac-
issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based tice; and misuse of best practices. The aforemen-
Learning, defines PBL as an instructional (and tioned concerns notwithstanding, the discourse of
curricular) learner-centered approach that empowers best practices can be generative and productive when
learners to conduct research, integrate theory and used in an ethically defensible manner, which
practice, and apply knowledge and skills to develop a involves leveraging best practices to promote equity
viable solution to a defined problem (p. 12). He and social justice, educators critical intelligence
further identifies 10 best practices, what he frames as and creative intelligence, teacher inquiry, and
PBL essentials, that are paraphrased here: collegial dialogue on best practices.
Best practices can be found along three dimensions
1. Students must take ownership of their learning. of practice: (1) general best practices that span
2. Problem simulations must be messy and permit multiple grades and content areas and include
free inquiry. practices such as strategic reading, integrative units,
and the use of timely, frequent, and specific feedback;
3. Learning must be trans-disciplinary.
(2) field-specific best practices, such as those
4. Student collaboration is critical. particular to the natural sciences, which include
5. Student self-directed learning must be applied to inquiry, science literacy, and additional strategies
the resolution of the problem. such as developing and using models, integrating
science and engineering, and building on students
6. The PBL must close with a reflective debriefing
innate curiosity regarding the natural world; and
exercise designed to consolidate learning.
(3) approach-specific and technique-specific best
7. Self- and peer-assessment is an integral part practices, such as those for problem-based learning,
of PBL. which include, for example, students responsibility
8. PBL activities must be transferable to and valued in for their own learning, messy problem simulations
the real world. that permit free inquiry, and the incorporation of
student collaboration.
9. Student evaluation must incorporate knowledge-
based and process-based dimensions.
10. PBL must serve as the pedagogical foundation of Key Chapter Terms
curriculum and not be a component of a didactic
curriculum. (pp. 1214) Best practices: Sometimes used interchangeably with
good practice, excellent practice, promising practice,
This is merely one example of approach-specific evidence-based practice, research-based practice,
best practices. Technique-specific practices for and scientifically based practice, the term refers to
everything from collaborative learning groups to the assimilation of professional wisdom with
jigsawing to development of formative assessments available research.
Discourse: A way of thinking and viewing the world
that is embedded in language; we function within and
Conclusion through multiple discourses, which tend to be so
taken for granted that we are not aware of them. An
Educators can leverage best practices, those practices example of a dominant discourse in contemporary
that reflect professional wisdom and existing research American education is the discourse of accountability.
and evidence, to maximize student learning. With
roots in Enlightenment thinking and modernist Social justice: Concept that includes the notions of
commitments, best practices are associated with an liberty for all people and freedom from oppression. It
approach that privileges efficiency and attaining refers to efforts to thwart and remedy inequities,
ends. There are a number of critiques leveled against especially those that are institutionally sanctioned, as
best practice discourse, and these fall into the four well as violations of civil and human rights, especially
broad categories of theoretical challenges; issues of of traditionally marginalized groups.

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