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Corrupted Principles and the Challenges of Critically Reflective Leadership

Christine Cunningham

Corrupted Principles and the Challenges of Critically Reflective Leadership documents the author’s research as a K-12 principal in an elite American International School in Bolivia. During those years she kept a daily journal of her work that revealed exactly how the school fabricated college transcripts and passed failing students and examines why the school remained unaccountable for its corrupt actions.
Against a backdrop of national crisis when Bolivia’s indigenous majority struggled to gain executive political power and invoke inclusive and pluralistic education reforms, this book details how the school’s plutocratic processes helped to guarantee that its wealthy young graduates would retain their privileged place in society.
As the title suggests, Corrupted Principles and the Challenges of Critically Reflective Leadership reveals the author’s professional Dilemma to remain true to her education ideals while leading a corrupt school. How she resolved this ethical predicament is the crux of this study and illuminates the challenges and inspiration of doing Critically Reflective Leadership.


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CHAPTER 7 Confronting National and International Power 155


CHAPTER 7 Confronting National and International Power Seeking to locate or situate teaching in a broader cultural, social and political con- text amounts to engaging in critical reflection… [as] less of an isolated set of tech- nical procedures and more of a historical expression of shaped values about what is considered important about the nature of the educative act (Smyth, 1989: 491). As some see it, privilege is obscene. It bears the stain of advantage and superiority that is unconscionable… and thus the heightened probability of its possessors attain- ing disproportionate opportunity, power, resources and the like (Peshkin, 2001: 92). Introduction In chapter six I interrogated the local, or institutional level, factors that helped locate the grading and reporting practices at Colegio Americano within a broader theoretical context. I argued that the reasons why Cole- gio Americano failed to fail students and also fabricated course credits on students’ school-to-college transcripts emerged as a result of prag- matic decisions to utilise collusionary practices to try and get clashing value systems to work together in the school. I looked at the clash be- tween meritocracy and plutocracy on campus and suggested that the 156 teachers’ faith in meritocracy that underpinned their assessment and grading practices was a myth that was continually challenged by the more pervasive plutocratic ideals held by all other stakeholders. In looking at these school-level reasons why Colegio Americano functioned the way it did, I realised that “considerations of power under- gird, frame and distort educational processes and interactions...

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