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Inherent moral problems lurk among technical rationality’s false assumptions. Technical rationality often disguises the dominant culture’s political agendas as purely technical processes (English, 2003). And with its emphasis on management skills, technical rationality tends to de-skill educators in cultural matters, turning principals into technocrats and teachers into technicians.

Maintenance of the status quo

Angus (1996) notes that the conventional approach explains social and cultural practices “in terms of their supposed contribution to a stable and coherent organization” (p. 976) and that the conventional view “takes the status quo as normal and natural rather than as the product of a political human action” (p. 980). Universities and PK-12 education alike have long histories of maintaining the organizational status quo. One reason for this is bureaucratization at both levels, particularly in PK-12 education.

As the size and number of public schools in the U.S. increased, so did the level of bureaucracy. Spring (1990) reports that by the end of the 19 th century the bureaucratization of school districts included a top-down hierarchy, differentiated roles, graded schools, a uniform and graded program of study, and “an emphasis on planning, order, regularity, and punctuality” (p. 136), all elements still present in traditional districts. Spring concluded that bureaucratization “ensured that the dominant values of the school system would be Protestant and middle class” (p. 111).

The organizational field of school leadership policy, according to Roach, Smith, and Bouton (2011), includes such stakeholders as university preparation programs, state policy makers, private foundations, and professional organizations. Roach et al. conclude that the field is in a state of institutional isomorphism, defined as “the tendency for seemingly different institutions to adopt very similar policies and practices” (p. 76). Isomorphism centered on state standards “locks schools, colleges, and departments of educational leadership into training ‘best practices’ rather than utilizing the academy to generate new knowledge in administrator preparation” (p.97) or to develop “new forms of practices to meet the needs of an increasingly complex set of school and student factors facing educational leaders in the United States” (p. 102). More specifically, principal preparation programs’ symbiotic relationships with other institutions in their organizational field, combined with the other institutions’ lack of commitment to equity and social justice, inhibit university preparation programs’ development of leaders for equity and social justice.

The faculties of conventional principal preparation programs, of course, bear a fair share of responsibility for maintaining the status quo and failing to address matters of equity and social justice. Curriculum and teaching in conventional principal preparation programs tend to avoid content on equity and social justice and many professors of educational leadership resist efforts to integrate such content into coursework (Sensoy&Diangelo, 2009). Rusch (2004) concluded many professors of educational leadership do not know how to prepare educational leaders for work with diverse populations and thus fear and avoid discussions on equity and social justice in their classes. The avoidance of social justice issues by conservative professors is a source of tremendous frustration for students wishing to discuss those issues (Rusch, 2004) and faculty members committed to social justice (Sensoy&Diangelo, 2009).

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Source:  OpenStax, Beyond convention, beyond critique: toward a third way of preparing educational leaders to promote equity and social justice. OpenStax CNX. Jul 08, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11434/1.2
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