Policy Studies for Educational Leaders An Introduction

Policy Studies for Educational Leaders An Introduction
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  • ISBN-13: 9780130993939
  • ISBN: 013099393X
  • Edition: 2
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR


Fowler, Frances C.


According to proverbial wisdom, necessity is the mother of invention. Proverbial wisdom is certainly correct in the case of Policy Studies for Educational Leaders: An Introduction.The idea for this book was born in the summer of 1990 when, new Ph.D. in hand, I was invited to teach a graduate course in education policy at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. After discovering no suitable textbooks, I ordered a few paperbacks on current issues and put together a course packet consisting of articles on various aspects of education policy. Although my students were bright and motivated, I often felt frustrated; none had taken a college course in political science and few had been involved in the policy process at any level. I found, therefore, that I had to devote much class time to filling in the gaps in their knowledge. Often I longed for a good textbook that would provide basic information, freeing up precious class time for substantive discussions of policy issues. That fall I began a new position at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where one of my responsibilities was a graduate course in education policy. As I worked with my students over the next few years, my earlier feelings were reinforced. The lack of a good, basic text hampered my teaching in various ways. Thus, the idea for this book was born. As I revised and restructured the course during those years, I also gathered materials for a future textbook, developing an organizational structure and a series of learning materials for students. TEXT PHILOSOPHY AND FOCUS Policy Studies for Educational Leaders: An Introductionis based on the following set of beliefs: Educational leaders need to be literate about policy and the policy process.The time is long past (if indeed there ever was a time) when education administrators could tell themselves that "Politics and education don't mix" and sit complacently on the sidelines while others make important policy decisions for the schools. In today's rapidly changing policy environment, those who lead our schools musthave a basic understanding of education policy and how it is made. Otherwise, they will be reactive rather than proactive; and, when they move into action, they are likely to make serious blunders. Educational leaders need both theories and practical information about education policy and policy making.Unfortunately, many people in education believe that theory and practice are unrelated and; indeed, opposites. I reject this view. If school administrators are truly to be reflective leaders, they need tools for thinking, deeply and critically, about education policy. Among these necessary tools are knowledge about major research findings, analytical frameworks, and important political theories. However, people who are politically inexperienced also need practical advice about how to apply this abstract information. Therefore, this book presents both the underlying theories and specific recommendations for practice. Educational leaders need to understand power and how to use it responsibly.The underlying theory behind this book is conflict theory--the belief that policy grows out of conflict between different individuals, groups, and institutions. Since the outcome of these struggles is shaped by the balance of power among the participants, students must understand power. Conflict theory is a large theoretical house, ranging from the pluralists who focus on the dynamics of practical politics to scholars whose thinking has been influenced by Marx and Gramsci, with many stops in between. Unfortunately, education scholars in the United States tend to set up a binary opposition between the pluralists and more "critical" thinkers, focusing on either practical politics or cultural politics to the exclusion of the other. In my opinion, these approaches are neither theoretically adequate nor pedaFowler, Frances C. is the author of 'Policy Studies for Educational Leaders An Introduction', published 2003 under ISBN 9780130993939 and ISBN 013099393X.

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