The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition
Edited By Eleanor Blair
22. Teacher Leadership: A New Foundation of Education?
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A New Foundation of Education?
J. Casey Hurley
Educational history, philosophy, politics, and sociology are the traditional foundations of American public education. They are “foundations” because they address how schools strive to achieve public education’s purposes and ideals. Historians chronicle the struggle to achieve fundamental ideals. Philosophers explore the purposes of schools. Political pundits analyze the educational policies of state and local governments. And sociologists describe how schools mirror society as they struggle to achieve the ideals of its citizens. Teacher leadership is a new foundation of education because it explains how schools organize themselves for continuous improvement.
Teacher leadership has not been recognized as a foundation because, until recently, more popular ideas competed for the best ways to organize schools. Structuring schools around teacher leadership competes with the beliefs that the principal ought to be the school’s instructional leader, and central office administrators ought to direct improvement efforts from a district-wide perspective. The whole point of recent teacher leadership literature, however, is that teachers must be engaged in continuous school improvement, and their leadership is needed to ensure its success. How else could a school’s continuous improvement cycle be successful? Schools structured around the premise that principals or central office personnel lead the continuous improvement cycle see the cycle broken whenever a new principal or superintendent is hired. Teacher leadership literature simply argues that continuous improvement requires organizational structures that...
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