Educational leadership: a critical pragmatic perspective
Underlying the controversy surrounding educational reform and the crisis facing American public education today is the question of leadership: Who is to exercise it and what direction should it take? In his systematic redefinition of educational leadership, Spencer J. Maxcy develops a democratic, participatory model of leadership at all levels. Drawing on the work of philosophers from John Dewey and William James to contemporary neo-pragmatists, he explores the nature of shared leadership and its potential to foster socio-cultural reform through schooling. Maxcy begins with a review of leadership theory and the ways in which competing theories continue to affect education. New directions in research are assessed, particularly the shift away from treating educational leadership as a form of management rather than a relational phenomenon. In examining the implications of a philosophy of democratic leadership, the author takes his inquiry into practical areas, including the empowerment of teachers, the sharing of leadership among teachers and administrators, the preparation of educational leaders for a postmodern era, and the development of leadership qualities in children. The current trend toward decentralization of schooling is discussed in light of his proposed model, together with the demand for moral vision in education and the need for creativity as an integral part of the educational process. Making a convincing case for the distribution of leadership among the administration, teachers, students, and the larger community, this book will be of interest to anyone concerned with critical issues in education-from policy-makers and educators to the informed general reader.
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