Centering Educational Administration: Cultivating Meaning, Community, Responsibility

Centering Educational Administration: Cultivating Meaning, Community, Responsibility

Centering Educational Administration: Cultivating Meaning, Community, Responsibility

Centering Educational Administration: Cultivating Meaning, Community, Responsibility


In this book, Starratt enters the national conversation among educational administration scholars and practitioners about what constitutes the core of their knowledge and practice. In Part I, he develops three main themes--cultivating meaning, community, and moral responsibility--which he then positions against national themes about the core of educational administration: school improvement, democratic community, and social justice. Rather than focusing on the routine managerial tasks normally associated with school administration (budgeting, personnel and legal problems, time and resource management, etc.), this text asks aspiring school leaders to reflect first on the underlying philosophical and sociological perspectives that constitute the substance of administrative work in education. Centering Educational Administration provides:

A Unique Perspective on Leadership --The author views leadership as organically related to teaching and learning, as concerned with internal capacity building in response to state-imposed accountability pressures, and as an existential process of writing one's autobiography through their day-to-day work.

An Interdisciplinary View of Educational Administration -- Centering Educational Administration asks educational administrators to bring contemporary philosophical, ethical, and anthropological issues, as well as learning theory, social theory, and political theory into their thinking about the daily operation of the school.

A Unique Perspective on School Improvement --This text asserts that school improvement narrowly defined as improving results on high-stakes tests can likewise place the nation at risk. An equally important agenda is teaching the young the basic satisfactions, norms, and potential of using their knowledge in the service of the community and of a wider humanity.

Exercises in Reflective Practice --This book challenges the reader to use the ideas of each chapter to analyze the current practices in their school and to propose concrete changes to improve the teaching and learning environment of their school.


This book has been written out of a conviction that educational administrator preparation programs need to become more responsive to changes and challenges in the complex and dynamic social arena we call education. These changes and challenges are embedded in the local and regional political context of schooling, in new approaches to teaching as a profession, and in the federal and state public policy regarding standards of student achievement. One of the first courses in a graduate program in educational administration is usually a course on fundamentals or foundations of educational administration. This book is an attempt to help beginning administrators, or those seeking state certification to become administrators, get started on the right foot in a program that will build on the perspectives developed in such a beginning course.

A fundamentals course should introduce the beginning administrator to the essentials of administering an individual school or of being a member of an administrative team in an individual school. Those who are moving into district office administration or state education departments can learn more about their responsibilities in courses dealing with district- or state- level administration, although I would hope that those courses also point to the individual school as the place where their efforts will bear fruit (Elmore, 2000).

Even when other fundamentals texts in educational administration concentrate on the individual school site, they tend to provide treatments of discrete functions of administration. Hence, we find chapters dealing with special education, extracurricular programs, testing and counseling programs, parent and community relations, scheduling, resource allocation . . .

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