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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 9 Reconstructing the Personal 223


CHAPTER 9 Reconstructing the Personal Despair and cynicism are constant temptations we receive or to which we are ex- posed if we struggle with the concrete problems of education. Precisely because education is not the lever for the transformation of society, we are in danger of de- spair and cynicism if we limit our struggle to the classroom. What we have to do, I think … is to be critically conscious of the limits of education… It is important to accomplish something important in the institutional space of a school or college in order to help the transformation of society… If we understand how formal educa- tion relates to the global society… we avoid a certain naïve optimism which can lead us in the future to a terrible pessimism (Freire, 1987: 129). Be the change you want to see in the world. (Attributed to Mahatma Ghandi). Coming Full Circle At the starting point of this final chapter, it is timely to reflect on the Critically Reflective Practice (CRP) journey I have engaged in through- out the course of this thesis. Kemmis and McTaggart (1982) used the idea of a spiral to reflect the CRP process and the Smyth model upon which I have based my methodology used a similar representative 224 graphic to show the method’s ongoing nature from planning to replan- ning and ad infinitum (Smyth, 1986: 30-31). The graphic I designed to illustrate the on-going nature of the CRP process also indicated its conti- nuity: I used a...

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