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The Legacy of Educational Administration

A Historical Analysis of an Academic Field

Izhar Oplatka

In light of attempts to trace the philosophical and historical foundations of educational administration as an academic field of study that is concerned with the management and operation of educational organisations, this book aims at reviewing important epistemological developments in this field since the early 1960s. Specifically, the author poses several questions, such as what counts as the field of educational administration and what is this field in each decade since the early 1960s? What is the knowledge base of educational administration? What is its unique identity? And what are the types of publications and the methodological tools used throughout the years by the field’s members? Based on a qualitative content analysis of the field’s various academic journals since the appearance of the first journal, the author identifies six legacies – empirical, practical, evaluative, training, ideological and critical that the field leaves behind in our time.


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Chapter Three: The period of academic institutionalisation 47


47 Chapter Three: The period of academic institutionalisation The 1960s, where our historical analysis commences, were marked by events, processes and paradigms that influenced a generation of the field at that time, such as a growing distrust of societal institutions, including schools and universi- ties (Willower, 1993), and an increase in federal funding for administrator train- ing programmes and the study of EA (Culbertson, 1974; Walker, 1964). This was the time of the welfare state and the civil rights movements in many Western na- tions, which defined the principal’s role as an autonomous leader of welfare re- forms who used his expertise to devise the best means of implementing govern- mental programmes and legislation (Bottery, 2006). In this period (the 1960s and the 1970s), EA as a field of study was ‘export- ed’ from the US, where it had grown over several decades, to other countries. New professional organisations were founded around the world (British Educa- tional Leadership, Management and Administration Society [BELMAS], the Commonwealth Council for EA and Management [CCEAM], the European Fo- rum on EA [EFEA], and the Australian Council for EA), with the aim of improv- ing EA and fostering high standards in the practice and study of EA at all levels, and facilitating intellectual and empirical exchanges (Ewing, 1975). Thomas (1971), the interim secretary of CCEAM in these years, described the CCEAM as ‘a new centre for educational leadership, whose purpose is to encourage more tertiary institutions to establish training in EA for senior or even...

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