Preface Perspective If there was ever a time when educational institutions required effective leadership, it is now. This is the first time in the history of the United States that the quality of the education provided for our citizens has been recognized politically as being strategically important to national success and survival. Educational issues are among the major concerns of voters; therefore, not surprisingly, they are debated vigorously by candidates for public office at all levels of government and they are covered regularly on the front pages of major newspapers. Today's educational leaders need to possess a broad variety of skills that enable them to function comfortably and effectively in changing environments and under highly politicized conditions. In these new circumstances, change is the only constant. The mission of this book is to foster understanding of this reality among those preparing for careers in leading educational institutions and to help develop skills necessary for working competently within them. For better or for worse, this is a dynamic and exciting period in human history. Because of the fluidity of the situation, it is a period of unparalleled opportunity and of potential danger. To capitalize on the opportunities and to minimize the dangers demands extraordinarily wise leadership in all sectors and in all enterprises, including education. While pervasive social change affects persons in all walks of life, there is bound to be greater impact upon those in positions of great social visibility and concern--such as persons holding administrative and supervisory responsibility for educational systems. Society has a right to expect adept performance from people in those positions. Under these conditions, proficient leadership cannot be a matter of copying conventional behavior. To advance education, there is a clear need for educational leaders to have and exercise: the ability to comprehend the dynamics of human affairs as a basis for relevant action under novel conditions; a better understanding of issues and processes in educational institutions; and greater originality and collaboration in designing strategic policies. Their approach to the opportunities and problems confronting them must remain hypothetical and open-ended so that more may be learned by what is done. Graham (1999) saw the accomplishments of the new public schools during the first quarter of the twentieth century concentrating on assimilating the flood of immigrants pouring into the country. The middle years focused on broadening the curriculum, especially at the secondary level, to include vocational subjects and courses in social and personal adjustment that enabled secondary schools to address the educational needs of most of the student population. The 1960s and 1970s addressed issues of equity and access among genders and ethnic groups.During the first three-quarters of the century, Graham concluded, the schools were much more successful in enrolling students than in teaching them(emphasis added). This practice is no longer acceptable. Schools must now set out to correct the situation by focusing on raising the achievement levels ofallstudents. Past assumptions used by educators in designing schools and school curricula no longer hold across the board. Children are less likely to come from majority backgrounds, they are more likely to be members of nontraditional families, and they are more likely to be poor. Education through high school and beyond is essential if graduates are to be employed in other than menial jobs and to enjoy comfortable standards of living. Well-paying employment opportunities increasingly require sophisticated intellectual skills. Educational leadership is being challenged to design new curricula that recognize the multicultural nature of students, provide institutional support for those at risk, and link schooling to employmenRazik, Taher A. is the author of 'Fundamental Concepts of Educational Leadership', published 2000 under ISBN 9780130144911 and ISBN 0130144916.