ERIC Number: ED280189
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-Feb-28
The Limits of Consensus.
Poster, John B.
Dynamics in the education policy arena suggest that, despite two generations of researchers extolling democratic leadership styles and consensus building over autocratic techniques, wide participation in policymaking and the broadest possible consensus are not always productive: American society has not yet agreed on what schools should accomplish. In the face of contradictory expectations, many educators feel a loss of efficacy. In addition to lost confidence, there is always the danger of lost jobs in districts where the enrollment continues to fall. To some extent, the question of power sharing and consensus building seems hollow. Sociologists have long noted that people in the human service fields encounter a dichotomy between protecting careers and protecting clients. Superintendents wishing to close schools should reorganize only with a strong board mandate. Consensus is not accountability; if interest groups agree on policies that are unpopular with the body politic, power sharing may be abandoned as participants scatter to avoid public outrage. Consensus advocates must demonstrate how to allocate influence among school professionals and what mechanisms parallel devices in the larger political system. (CJH)
Descriptors: Administration, Collective Bargaining, Conflict Resolution, Decision Making, Educational Objectives, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Leadership Styles, Organizational Theories, Participative Decision Making, Policy Formation, Political Science, Politics of Education, Psychological Studies, Research Utilization, School Closing, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Attitudes, Theory Practice Relationship
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Researchers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A