Skip to main content

View Diary: Governance in the School Trenches (8 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  and governance of government! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, leftyparent
    Yet in our public educational institutions we follow the “enlightened despot” model of governance.  We convey power to our meritocratic experts, who we put at the top of a command and control structure where we rely on them to determine the “best practice” and then use their position at the top of a hierarchy of control to force everyone below them in that hierarchy to execute the determined “best practice”.
    This doesn't just happen in schools, it's in our other public institutions as well (where there is often considerably less attention paid to "accountability"). Likewise, most government offices are suffering are from years of the same deprivation that is wrecking our schools.

    I left public school teaching 2 years ago, and now I'm working for a local government. I've found that the problem is essentially the same, but in non-educational institutions I see much less meta-thinking, much less (if any) consideration given to what the "best practices" are. Where I work, management seems to make decisions based on what will be immediately easiest and cheapest for them; there is none of the pretense found in education that their decisions are "research-based" or have anything to do with "best practices." Impact on the workers is ignored and if anyone gets upset managers write it off as "bad attitude." Management wants, management gets -- it might be the worst possible practice, it is not for the worker to question only to do.

    Schools have the benefit that at least principals are trained for their roles, even if it's not always apparent. In the rest of government, management positions are often handed out as political rewards to people who don't really want to manage anything - however they do enjoy the title, salary, and benefits. They definitely do not read Stephen Covey!

    Good points about the emotional deposits and withdrawals. Bad managers (including principals) tend not to bother with the deposits. Honestly, government organizations (including schools) are some of the very least democratic, least compassionate workplaces I've ever encountered where unhappy and resentful workers are accepted as the norm. Again, years of slashed budgets haven't helped.

    I know I've gone off topic, but please indulge me on one more point -- that MANY government workers (at least where I am in local gov) do not have civil servant status. We may have a union, but we're still at-will employees with no right to due process. Without that, the union is effectively neutered. I do hope that teachers can hang onto that right.

    I really appreciate this diary -- these ideas should be applied to the governance model of ALL our public institutions. Thank you for an interesting way to frame the problem.

    •  It makes sense the problem is more widespread... (0+ / 0-)

      than just public education and includes other public institutions as well.  As you say...

      Government organizations (including schools) are some of the very least democratic, least compassionate workplaces I've ever encountered where unhappy and resentful workers are accepted as the norm.
      I wonder if it is the authoritarian governance model that our young people learn to accept in schools that prepares them to accept rather than challenge the vestiges of that model in society's other institutions.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 03:08:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site