Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Publication date: 1 February 2008


Ross Thomas, A. (2008), "Editorial", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 46 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/jea.2008.07446aaa.001

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


As we commence the Journal’s 46th year of publication it is necessary to acknowledge two changes in the composition of the Editorial Advisory Board. Nadine McCrea has tendered her resignation after several years of service. Nadine, from the University of New England, contributed generously to the operation of the Journal and, in particular, in the evaluation of submitted papers. Her particular expertise is in early childhood education. I thank her for her professional generosity.

Joining the Board is Cynthia Uline of San Diego State University. Cynthia is Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of the Centre for the Twenty-first Century Schoolhouse. Included in her research interests are educational leadership, the planning and design of educational facilities, and school change and improvement. Cynthia has published in the Journal and, in fact, with co-author Megan Tschannen-Moran, has contributed a most significant article to this issue. On behalf of members of the Board I welcome Cynthia and wish her an enjoyable and productive involvement with this journal.

Other editorial commitments

Not long before composing the manuscript for this issue of the Journal I completed another editorial task – that of Series Editor for a most exciting research project conducted in public high schools in New South Wales. The research – “An Exceptional Schools Outcomes Project (AESOP)” – sought to identify factors characteristic of a select number of schools whose achievements were consistently of exceptional standard. Seven books were published addressing exceptional outcomes in, for example, English, Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Welfare Programs. Of particular interest to readers of the Journal will be Leadership for Exceptional Educational Outcomes by Steve Dinham (who is also a member of the Journal’s Editorial Advisory Board). His detailed analysis of leadership within 38 exceptional schools finds expression in an insightful and detailed model at the heart of which is the concern of all staff – teachers, heads of departments, and principals – for their students’ achievements. Dinham’s model of leadership is worthy of note: central to its function is a focus on students and their learning which influences and is influenced by seven “contributing” categories – personal qualities and relationships; vision, expectation and a culture of success; school planning and organization; teacher learning, responsibility and trust; external awareness and engagement; student support, common purpose and collaboration; and professional capacity and strategy.

Additional details of Leadership for Exceptional Educational Outcomes may be obtained from me at the address below.

This issue

There are six articles in this issue contributed by authors in Australia, the USA, Singapore and Israel. Issues addressed include school leadership, teacher appraisal, teachers’ career stages, school facilities and student achievement, “turning around schools”, and “starting up schools”.

In the first of these McCormick and Barnett establish nine prima facie hypotheses exploring the relationships between teachers’ demographic characteristics, their perceived locus of control and career stages. In total, 416 teachers from randomly selected high schools in New South Wales provided data on the selected variables. Significant gender and experience differences were identified at several career stages. The authors suggest that teachers’ generalised beliefs about personal control may be related to career stages. Consequently, school practices should nurture beliefs in personal control, rather than dependence on powerful others within the school setting.

Easley next reports on his New York study of attrition and retention among Alternative Route Certification (ARC) teachers. ARC teachers are more likely to be people of colour who speak a second language, live in an urban area, and who are more likely to teach in urban schools that serve minority students. A mixed-method approach employing triangulated data enabled the teachers to be surveyed and to participate in focus groups. ARC teachers, it was found, are drawn to the profession, not only because of their own moral ideals, but also they are highly responsive to their principals’ moral leadership. Moral leadership is expressed through a respect for teachers as professionals, dialogue with teachers, and focusing on the right things.

The appraisal of teachers in primary schools in Singapore is the theme of the third article. Herein Kelly, Ang, Chong and Hu investigate the attributes of the performance appraisal system via survey and factor analysis and step-wise multiple regression of data gathered. Perhaps not surprisingly, fairness of the performance appraisal system and clarity of the appraisal criteria were related to greater satisfaction with the system, more positive attitudes towards the performance bonus, and higher job satisfaction and motivation. It was also found that teachers who expressed greater trust in their appraiser and a more positive view of the appraiser’s credibility also reported more cooperativeness amongst the teachers in their school.

In the following article Uline and Tschannen-Moran provide a most timely and significant report of their study seeking a relationship between the quality of a school’s facilities and the performance of its students. In view of recent efforts in the USA to improve the state of educational infrastructure, the purpose of the authors’ research is particularly appropriate. A battery of instruments provided detailed data from teachers in 80 middle schools in Virginia. Data, subjected to bivariate correlational analysis and multiple regression, revealed a link between the quality of school facilities and student achievement in both English and mathematics. The quality of facilities was also significantly and positively related to three school climate variables and school climate in turn was seen to play a mediating role in the relationship between the quality of facilities and student achievement.

The failure of some schools to educate students effectively has in the recent decade assumed great concern among educational authorities in many countries. Calls to “turn around” failing schools have thus become more frequent and more spirited. Nevertheless, research and administrative action to address this challenge in schools must still be regarded as limited. In this article Murphy presents the results of his exhaustive survey of literature on turnaround organizations in both the public and private sectors in the hope that this information from the organization sciences will contribute to the educationist’s knowledge of and ability to address this challenge. Three noteworthy themes emerge from Murphy’s analysis: leadership is the critical variable in the “turnaround equation”; change of leadership is generally an essential element in organizational recovery; and the type of leadership (not the style) is important in the reintegration of organizations.

In the final article Eyal reports on his intensive interviews of a group of Israeli parents who founded a new school. The perspectives of the school founders, school employees, and those who supported the founding of the school enabled a triangulation of data and a grounding of findings. The study revealed that bonding and bridging social capital complemented each other – the former was employed to take advantage of existing opportunities in the community, the latter was used to explore new opportunities that would otherwise not be available. Parents with cultural capital know the “rules of the game” and could therefore take advantage of valuable network opportunities to ensure the school’s survival.

Four book reviews complete this issue.

A. Ross Thomas