Leading under Pressure

Cover of Leading under Pressure

Educational Leadership in Neoliberal Times

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Synopsis

Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xvi
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Part I Social Contexts

Abstract

This chapter uses findings derived from interviews with 13 Ontario (Canada) secondary school principals to identify conditions that contribute to emotional labor, experienced in their work. Five workplace conditions that heighten participating principals' emotional labor emerged from the interviews, including advocating for students, work intensification, navigating their local policy context, managing workplace conflict and crises or tragedies in the school community. The findings suggest a need to clarify legislated expectations and responsibilities placed on principals to accurately reflect their work and counter the impact of work intensification. Principals could benefit from additional supports to deal with the impact(s) of work intensification, shepherding the school through crises or navigating shifting policy contexts and conflicts in the workplace. Rather than treating the symptoms that result from emotional labor, concrete efforts are needed to change the culture of the principalship in order to maximize the impact of leadership on student achievement.

Abstract

Canada's population is becoming increasingly diverse and the recent recognition of the need for inclusivity and diversity has led to conversations in undergraduate and graduate medical programs across the country. The intended outcomes of these conversations around representation are actions that better prepare medical graduates to meet the needs related to caring for a diverse Canadian population. It is paramount that learners see this progress toward equity, inclusivity, and diversity reflected in the leadership of their medical training programs. Actions toward this goal may be more impactful from a new understanding of leadership. This chapter focuses on a postcolonial reimagining of leadership that expands qualities that are valued, resulting in a natural diversification and increased inclusion among medical leaders. The authors write from their personal viewpoints and provide suggestions on revisioning leadership and curriculum, throughout. It is hoped that a paradigm shift in the way leaders are identified, recognized, and supported will address current challenges in medical culture and subsequent socialization of learners that influence their professional identities and ideas about who and what makes good leaders.

Abstract

Institutional racism is usually defined in terms of the “collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture, or ethnic origin.” However, my analysis of leadership theories in the educational context, and the policies and practices in developing leaders of educational settings, as well as the management of educational provision in a locality, would evidence that “collective failure” masks the design that is present in the current educational context of England. This chapter is based on original research, which utilizes Critical Race Theory and a mixed methods approach. My research data evidences that discrimination on an individual, institutional, and structural level is prevalent in the leadership of children's learning. The extent of under-representation in leadership can only be explained in that it is designed. Policies that further deregulate and fragment the provision of education through schools and allied support structures only exacerbate this situation and therefore maintain White male supremacy in the leadership of children's learning.

Part II Leading Under Pressure

Abstract

In this chapter, we will examine the tensions of contemporary higher education. Theoretically informed by the relational approach, our argument makes three major moves. First, we examine the intersection of competing normative purposes for higher education, while simultaneously balancing the compliance and regulated nature of university programs for the professions. Second, through the specific example of educational leadership programs in Australia, we then explore how these tensions play out in practice. This has implications for the leadership, instructional choices, student experience, and relations with school systems of both faculty and universities. In our final move, we go beyond orthodox analytical dualism to offer a generative contribution for navigating the problems and possibilities of educational leadership under neoliberal conditions. By illuminating the underlying generative assumptions under contested conditions, we demonstrate how ideas of educational leadership are both constitutive of and emergent from our image of organizing. In doing so, we not only describe what is taking place but offer how things can be different.

Abstract

In Canada, food insecurity is characterized by the consumption of low quantity or low-quality foods, worrying about food supply and/or acquiring foods in socially unacceptable ways, such as begging or scavenging. As of 2012, approximately 15.2% of Ontario, Canada, children are living in food insecure households, a prevalence which has remained steady since 2005. This is particularly concerning when considering that school-aged children are a population whose growth and developing is sensitive to nutritional stress, and the experience of childhood food insecurity is highly associated with the development of adverse physical, mental and learning outcomes. This study aims at establishing the relationship between food insecurity and Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) standardized test scores in order to highlight the incompatibility of the EQAO's reliance on test outcomes in determining Ontarian school's accountability, specifically for those with a high prevalence of food insecurity.

Abstract

This chapter analyzes data from a five-year case study of a secondary school undergoing turnaround, supported by a federal School Improvement Grant. The findings explore how neoliberal policies perpetuate structural inequities in the day-to-day activities of schools by describing how district choice and accountability policies marginalize students of color in low socioeconomic positions. Findings explore the challenges faced by school leaders in a neoliberal policy context and highlight the importance of policy context in a successful improvement effort. The complex web of neoliberal polices of choice and accountability led to lower enrollment, which decreased the school's base funding and led to a greater proportion of students with skill gaps, significant socioemotional needs and students in need of special education services. For school improvement to be successful and to close the opportunity gap, leaders must dismantle and disrupt racist systems and structures bolstered by neoliberal policies.

Abstract

In every decade, there tends to be a major economic crisis affecting the entire world. Recent decades have seen the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s and the global financial crisis in the 2000s. Also, natural disasters and pandemics frequently impact the socioeconomic conditions of the people. The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) is one such crisis. In such situations, the socially disadvantaged are usually the worst hit, marginalizing the disadvantaged even further. Zygmunt Bauman describes this as “collateral damage.” In schooling, as well, such collateral damage is observed across countries. The aim of this chapter is to investigate responses by one secondary school leader in Bangkok, Thailand, to COVID-19 in order to minimize the collateral damage to the students. For this aim, self-study was employed as a research method. In the midst of great confusion, a caring mind and heart for students in difficulty was at the heart of strategies that encouraged them to remain constant with respect to the world of learning.

Part III FutureScapes

Abstract

Since the turn of the new millennia, governments have increasingly moved away from professional models of educational decision-making and turned toward a neoliberal production model in which markets and test scores drive educational decisions. In this “brave new world,” teachers have become “human capital,” and principals, the managers of their productivity rather than leaders of learning. As a result of this changing dynamic, teachers have increasingly turned to teacher unions or federations, and away from local school jurisdictions and governments to protect their salaries, working conditions and professionalism. Principals, in turn, have found themselves in a no-win situation – caught between top-down demands from big governments and local school districts for teacher compliance, and big unions' insistence on fair treatment for all teachers. This chapter, therefore, intends to explore this increasingly fragile role of principals in three international settings, in our rapidly changing world.

Abstract

In 2018, Ontario regulations pertaining to principal and vice-principal performance appraisals were amended in order to explicitly require that principles of human rights and equity (1) be upheld in Performance Plan goals regarding student achievement and well-being and (2) be a focus of leadership competency development in their Annual Growth Plan. These changes were instituted to support the stated aim of identifying and addressing systemic barriers and biases. For these measures to lead to systemic change rather than mere “performative” equity exercises, those in supervisory roles require a relevant framework to guide and support this aspect of the professional development and performance of principals and vice-principals. Existing provincial educational leadership frameworks are limited in this respect. This chapter draws on foundations in Adult Development to propose how fostering an expanding capacity to hold complexity is key to socially-just leadership and the sought-after systemic change.

Abstract

During the latter-half of the twentieth century, researchers argued that the notion of universities being communities of scholars that were governed by scholars had been replaced by a mass-market higher education system. The new system is shaped by competition for students, a need to be budget conscious and, ultimately, a requirement for university leaders to be able to approach their work with a certain level of business acumen. This chapter examines what these pressures mean for those working at the middle level of university leadership, when they are increasingly appointed on managerial expertise but make decisions about academics and their work. Using Bourdieu's notions of fields to dissect these relationships, the chapter uses semi-structured interviews with faculty deans to examine how their work is guided by managerialist targets but impacts on their relationships with academics. The chapter highlights that, while the sector has acknowledged that successful leaders do not always need research profiles in the modern university, this often has a negative impact on leaders' relationships with academics.

Abstract

Humanity faces two basic problems of learning: learning about the universe and learning how to become civilized. We have solved the first problem but not the second and that puts us in a situation of great danger. Almost all our global problems have arisen as a result. It has become a matter of extreme urgency to solve the second problem. The key to that is to learn from our solution to the first problem how to solve the second one. This was the basic idea of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, but, in implementing it, the Enlightenment blundered. Their mistakes are still built into academia today. In order to create a civilized world, it is essential we cure academia of the structural blunders inherited from the Enlightenment. We need to bring about a revolution in science, and in academia more broadly so that the basic aim becomes wisdom, and not just knowledge.

Index

Pages 205-211
Content available
Cover of Leading under Pressure
DOI
10.1108/9781801173582
Publication date
2022-08-15
Book series
Transforming Education Through Critical Leadership, Policy and Practice
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-80117-359-9
eISBN
978-1-80117-358-2