ERIC Number: ED392117
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Leadership in Evolving Democratic School Communities.
Rusch, Edith A.
Early in this century, John Dewey wondered how educators could justify believing in democracy if they did not practice it in schools. This paper presents findings of a study that located the underlying values that support the social construction of democratic praxis in schools. It explored how school leaders in democratic school communities viewed the dialectic relationship between schools and communities and between democratic beliefs and practices, and identified underlying factors that foster democratic practices. Data were derived through action inquiry--a series of interviews with six leaders of seven schools engaged in a network project, interviews with a peer administrator and superintendents in each district, and observation. Standpoint theory was used to examine the human actions that result from human understandings. Findings suggest that school leaders committed to democratic practices understand leadership as an idea, not as a process; exhibit equity in their language and behavior; view "learning together" as school culture; engage in building capacity; and accept the status of "outsider within." The interaction of practitioner and researcher in the participatory research process leads to deeper understanding of embedded notions that limit democratic practices. Suggestions for how leadership is taught in administrator-preparation courses are offered. (Contains 58 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).