Monday, May 23, 2011

Moral Leadership Chapter 8 The Virtuous School

  • Although virtue is a justifiable end in it's own right, the evidence from research on school effectiveness and school culture increasingly suggests that effective schools have virtuous qualities that account for a large measure of their success.

Focus Schools
  • Autonomy over budgets, schedules, educational programs, hiring, and other factors was effective only if it directly facilitated the establishment of purpose and social contract.

Building a Covenant
  • When purpose, social contract, and local school autonomy become the basis of schooling, two important things happen. The school is transformed from an organization to a covenantal community, and the basis of authority changes, from an emphasis on bureaucratic and psychological authority to moral authority.
  • The family has always been one of the most important kinds of communities. Families inspire deep loyalty. Family members work together and benefit one another, supplying economic and social needs. Tradition and social rules are passed along from parents to children.

The Moral Imperative
  • Moral imperative refers to what is good; the term managerial imperative, to what works.
  • The virtuous school seeks to operate on the basis of both what is good and what is effective.
  • Like individuals, schools can be thought of as having character.

Moral Principles
  • The principle of justice is expressed as equal treatment of and respect for the integrity of individuals.
  • The principle of beneficence is expressed as concern for the welfare of the school as a community
  • Kant- Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only
  • Over the long term, the leader's influence should not be directed at providing teachers with answers or solutions but rather with helping them invent their own answers and solutions.
  • The heart of the school as moral community is it's covenant of shared values.

Guidelines for Deciding
  • Private schools can handle the problem by publicly declaring their purposes and values.
  • Public schools generally have little control over the teachers to be employed or the families to be served. One option is for them to build, within the larger school, smaller communities that function as semiautonomous schools.
1. relationships with other people create obligations of various kinds, and these should be honored unless there is compelling reason not to do so.
2. Certain ideals enhance human life and assist people in fulfilling their obligations to one another.
3. The consequences of some actions benefit people, while those of other actions harm people.
4. Circumstances alter cases.

  • Covenants must be built from the bottom up, as each school (or school within the school) strives to complete the transformation from organization to community.
  • Statements of values are intended to provide direction and inform decisions

A Personal Perspective
1. The virtuous school believes that, to reach it's full potential in helping students learn, it must become a learning community in and of itself.
2. The virtuous school believes that every student can learn, and it does everything in it's power to see that every student does learn.
3. The virtuous school seeks to provide for the whole student.
4. The virtuous school honors respect.
5. In the virtuous school, parents, teachers, community, and school are partners, with reciprocal and interdependent rights to participate and benefit and with obligations to support and assist.
  • Rules should be viewed and understood as a constitution, which comes complete with a rationale shared with students and other members of the school community.
  • Hawthorne effect - when people believe their talents are valued and they are important, everything works; when they do not, nothing works.
  • As servant, the school fully accepts it's responsibility to do everything it can to care for the full range of needs of it's students, teachers, and parents.
  • Respect is a form of empowerment. It invites people to accept higher levels of responsibility for their own behavior and for the school itself.
  • The virtuous school respects diversity.

effective schools have virtuous qualities that contribute to their success. Virtuous schools move from bureaucratic and psychological to professional and moral authorities when purpose, social contract and local school autonomy become the standard practices, which develops a covenantal relationship, doing what is both good and effective as a moral imperative. As Kant says,"Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only."

I agree with many of the assumptions that moral authorities are inherent in virtuous schools, but the mention was made that private schools have an easier case to establish a virtuous school than public schools. It was said that private schools hire staff focused on the already established morals of the community, while public schools often have issues with this because there is not as much say in the hiring process. I feel that both organizations face similar issues related to the establishment of virtuous schools based on moral principals, but schools that have longevity of leadership and purpose, with leaders willing to lead leaders, are the organizations that have an easier ability to sustain moral imperativity. Private schools with inexperienced leadership or focus will have similar issues hiring and retaining staff as does public schools. However, due to the nature of the private schooling, I agree that the morals are more clearly established, and people may seek to work in that environment. Also, possibly the issue of tenure may be a hurdle that public schools face which private schools do not when dealing with the removal of ineffective staff. But the stages of organizational development to achieve a gift us state that emphasizes moral authority is inherent in all schools.

Works Cited
Sergiovanni, T. (1992). Moral Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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