A Philosophy of Educational Leadership
It is my purpose in this essay to describe my own philosophy of educational leadership, drawing largely upon the theoretical or philosophical perspective known as Essentialism to argue that when a school is led by an individual focused on a "back to the basics" approach to curriculum content, empowerment of stakeholders, and inclusion of the community, improvement sin student learning outcomes are quick to emerge. I will argue that the effective leader, who may be a school principal, other administrator or classroom teacher, should recognize that the overarching mission of the school system is to teach, to foster learning, and to prepare youth for meaningful life experiences (Grant, 1988). While schools now serve other functions in society, they must concentrate on the mission of educating youth for success (Sergiovanni, 1992).
Educational leaders, in the view o Sergiovanni (1992), are moral and ethical leaders as well as seasoned, knowledgeable professionals. They are individuals who stress trust, honesty, communication, openness, transparency, responsibility and accountability. With respect to Essentialism (to be discussed below), effective educational leaders recognize that a "back to the basics" educational strategy will offer students at all skill and achievement levels the opportunity to acquire the knowledge sets that are associated with personal advancement and understanding (Bagley, 1907).
The next section of this report will describe the principles of Essentialism, articulated initially by William C. Bagley (19070, who argued that subject matter should be the center of curriculum and that the interests of the child are best served through a rigorous, standards-driven approach to mastery of that body of knowledge deemed essential for growth and development. Following this discussion of Essentialism, a review of some of the relevant literature on effective educational lea...