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Teacher Leadership

The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition

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Edited By Eleanor Blair

Teacher leadership as a dimension of teachers’ work has never been more important. This topic has emerged as a major component of both state and national standards, and as such, it is included in most contemporary teacher education programs. Three decades of research have focused on teacher leadership as an essential element of school improvement, but its relationship to the potential transformation of the teaching profession remains unexplored. This revised edition of Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education provides an overview of the scholarship being done in the field and a framework for questions and discussions regarding the sustainability of teacher leadership efforts. In this edition, each of the five sections is accompanied by an introduction and reflection questions on the various issues related to teachers acting as leaders in classrooms, schools and communities. The book opens with a completely new section that presents scholarship related to teacher leadership and social justice, where the role of ideology in the work of teacher leaders is considered. This book includes the work of over thirty authors and is an essential tool for guiding dialogue regarding the various facets of teacher leadership and its impact on school culture, student learning and professional learning communities within the context of twenty-first century school reform. Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader is intended for undergraduate and graduate education students.
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22. Teacher Leadership: A New Foundation of Education?

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CHAPTER 22



Teacher Leadership

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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