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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 8 School Reconstruction? 191


CHAPTER 8 School Reconstruction? You should write as if you were already dead. That is the only way to write with in- tegrity (Attributed to Nadine Gordimer in Pusey, 2003, front pages). If we have the courage to rise to this challenge to name what’s happening within our schools, then we also need the courage to be activists and go out and fight like hell to change it (Attributed to Jonathon Kozol at ). Moving from Critique to Action In this penultimate chapter of my thesis I would like to try and focus on the reconstruction phase of Critically Reflective Practice, or CRP, with the intention of moving my analysis beyond critique and towards trans- formation. In reality, however, I have come to the conclusion that my experiences at Colegio Americano did not actually go through the cycli- cal step of reconstruction that Smyth proffered in his methodology. Thus far, the three stages of CRP I have already completed – de- scribing, informing and confronting – have enabled me to “see the nature of ideological domination” at Colegio Americano by investigating the 192 historical conditions and contemporary forces that constrained and shaped practice at the school (Smyth, 1986: 24). Throughout these steps, my reflective technique has exposed my professional practice and the school’s education processes to critical scrutiny. In doing so, I have devel- oped theory from my lived experience. This has allowed me to assimilate theory-making from practice and now the methodology suggests that I try to reconstruct the school’s practices, or...

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