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ERIC Number: ED191164
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr-9
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Protecting Private Realities by Managing Public Symbols: Mystifications, Cover-Up, and Martyrdom.
Burlingame, Martin
Honesty on the part of administrators about what goes on in schools is not always the best policy. Schools as organizations lack agreement about goals, means, roles of participants, and historical precedents. Nevertheless, most teachers do a good or average job and most educational results are adequate. Therefore the use of "mystification,""cover-up," and "martyrdom" is the best policy. Mystification may take the form of publicly expressed goals, prophecies, or perceptions of the past that hide the great disagreement among school people on these issues. Cover-ups hide the diverse activities going on in schools by simplification or relabeling of instructional activities. Martyrdom (in the form of resigning a position) may be necessary when other tactics no longer work. Educational leadership depends on a sense of optimism based on the knowledge that average teachers and administrators using average techniques and seeking rather conventional goals can produce good results. Therefore, sagacious educational leaders often merely leave well enough alone. Believing in their own "success" is a serious danger for administrators since they have very little control over what goes on in schools. A good administrator is advised to examine the constructive roles of mystification, cover-up, and martyrdom and to be wary of the destructive role of success. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 7-11, 1980). Not available in paper copy due to faint and broken print of original document.