School Administration: Persistent Dilemmas in Preparation and Practice

School Administration: Persistent Dilemmas in Preparation and Practice

School Administration: Persistent Dilemmas in Preparation and Practice

School Administration: Persistent Dilemmas in Preparation and Practice

Synopsis

A discussion of many of the dilemmas and problems facing school administrators. Topics include: conflicting beliefs regarding the fundamental purpose of school, administering racial and ethnic differences, and monetary incentives to reform teacher compensation.

Excerpt

Much of administrative preparation and practice is concerned with the process of problem solving, that is, identifying and framing problems, developing alternative solutions, and selecting among competing alternatives for the most feasible solutions. Common administrative problems, such as enrollment and workforce projections, course and transportation scheduling, and facility construction and maintainence are amenable to solution by scientific principles that produce contingencies that have well-defined rules and procedures. Other problems, however, seem to be more difficult to resolve. They defy a neat overlay of scientific rationality because they represent ongoing struggles between competing values. Attempting to use the "template of technical rationality" to address such situations may simply hide the inherent values in conflict, thus causing the problem to persist (Cuban, 1992). In other words, when we have problems, we seek solutions. Yet these potential solutions may perpetuate the problems if they do not make explicit the underlying competing values.

Larry Cuban, in his presidential address to the American Educational Research Association in 1991, "Managing Dilemmas While Building Professional Communities," contended that dilemmas are conflict-filled and persist because they require choices between "competing, highly prized values (that) cannot be fully satisfied." Unlike problems that can be solved, dilemmas can only be managed, and the key to managing these persistent dilemmas is to recognize the values in conflict.

In this book, developed from papers first presented at the 1994 International Intervisitation Program in Educational Administration held . . .

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