Educational Leadership Theories: Business Management v. Instructional

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Educational administration theories often reflect the period in which they were developed. Political, economic or social aspects of culture and what values and norms are considered important not only help form theory but also determine the extent to which practice is implemented. The recent rediscovery of instructional and curricular leadership is a response to the demands of federal and state legislation and performance requirements, such as 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurements. These result-oriented pressures have led both scholars and practitioners to look for the most effective ways to meet these higher academic standards. As such, curriculum content and pedagogical practices have become the focus, once again, of the public school system.

Prior to the 1950s, empirical studies generally did not inform educational administrative practices. Rather, Heck and Hallinger (2005) found less formal recommendations, based on personal experience, were handed down from administration to administration. What principals considered effective management, their beliefs of organizational structures, their value of pedagogical practice and their identification/prioritization of school needs often informed incoming administrators’ policy and practice. The leadership focus was personal, subjective and locally guided.

The 1950s and 1960s saw the launch of Sputnik, President Kennedy’s national commitment to space study and travel and the U.S. effort to prevent further Soviet Union expansion. Competition with the Russians required a technical, more scientific tack, which the federal government supported by funding math and science programs in the public schools (McCue, February 15, 2012)....

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...os Angeles: Sage.

Hallinger, P. (2003). Leading educational change: Reflections on the practice of instructional and transformational leadership. Cambridge Journal of Education, 33(3), 329-351.

Heck, R. H., & Hallinger, P. (2005). The study of educational leadership and management: Where does the field stand today? Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 33(2), 229-244. doi: 10.1177/1741143205051055

Horng, E., & Loeb, S. (2010). New thinking about instructional leadership. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(3), 66-69.

Nettles, S. M., & Herrington, C. (2007). Revisiting the importance of the direct effects of school leadership on student achievement: The implications for school improvement policy. Peabody Journal of Education, 82(4), 724-736.

Rettig, P. R. (2004). Beyond organizational tinkering: A new view of school reform. Educational Horizons, 82(4), 260-265.
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