A Philosophical Approach to Education Leadership
An examination of many philosophers’ opinions on the importance of powerful leaders as educators.
The following paper is a literature review which is organized as simply as possible along an organized framework. First is a brief introduction to the present state of debate over educational leadership and its effects on the criteria and methodology used in source selection. The second section deals extensively with an analysis of literature dealing with the philosophy of education. The third section deals directly with the present socio-political state of the crises and the way in which theories of leadership shape the fabric of politics and society. The fourth section deals with the theories of reform which compete for the attention of the leader, and attempts to establish the most useful and important steps which may be taken. It is in this section that the concept of co-regulatory leadership is introduced and found to be superior to all others on not only a philosophical, political, and sociological standpoint, but also in terms of positive results for the school’s academic success and the maintenance of a positive environment. An understanding of the different styles of leadership, the current sociopolitical conflict over schools, and the history of philosophical views on educational leadership is important because they have influenced a current proposal for effective schools.
“Leadership is undoubtedly the single most important aspect in creating a school environment for success. The quality of leadership in schools has become increasingly important in school reform to improve academic achievement of the students enrolled in school. The school leader (generally the principle) is inevitably held accountable for raising test scores, ensuring quality teacher, and making certain that all children achieve high academic standards. Demands will constantly be made upon his/her person that he/she find a way to “fix” the problems with the system (such as those mentioned in Chapter 1), and unfortunately, just as often as not the more he/she tries to fix the problem, the worse it becomes, or the more other problems crop up to take its place. Certainly some would suggest that leadership is one of those rare disciplines which is best served when it is least practiced, that is to say, the best leaders are those which do not lead too much, but rather create an environment in which the “led” may actually learn to find their own way. (Allen, 1992; Beare, 2001; Gatto, 1992; Freire, 2000; Oyler, 1996) Students which are given the freedom to control their own destinies, guide their own education, and create their own environment, schedule, and society have proven time and again to be better adjusted and more learned than their over-dominated peers in leadership-intensive schools. (Freiberg & Rogers, 1994; Taylor, 1993.) It is in hopes of promoting an understanding of this approach, and facilitating leadership (or one might say replacing it) through power-sharing and democratic procedures, that the following literature review focuses so extensively on the philosophical/moral and the actual practicality of a co-regulatory approach.”
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