ERIC Number: ED277083
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Mar-11
Reference Count: 0
Legalism as an Obstacle to School Quality.
Daniel, George H.
One of the most serious impediments to the development of high quality education in the United States is excessive legalism. This legalism takes two forms: administrative legalism is the trend toward ritualistic conformity to increasingly detailed, bureaucratic rules and regulations; judicial legalism is the tendency to cast all social issues and disputes into a due process or litigious framework. The numbers of lawyers and court cases in the United States have increased dramatically in recent years. The effects of litigation and the threat of litigation upon school administrators have been to reduce administrators' authority over final decisions and to encourage administrators to adopt the policies and take the actions that are least likely to be challenged in court. Nonassertive administration is thus rewarded, bold initiatives for excellence are discouraged, and individual rights are given precedence over the general social good. School officials tend to respond to the risk of being sued in five ways: through inaction, delay, formalism, changing the character of decisions made, or reversing decisions under legal duress. The threat to effective educational leadership is significant enough to merit serious attention and research. (PGD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of School Administrators (Dallas, TX, March 8-11, 1985).