Educational Leadership Blind Spots: How Institutional Ethnography Helps in the Rethinking of Administrative Practice

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: 424
Oral Presentation
Lois ANDRE-BECHELY , Cal State Univ Los Angeles
The nature of educational governance in the US in which there is federal, state and local control of public schooling creates a variety of institutional arrangements for delivering education to students from kindergarten to university. Historically, US educational institutions have struggled with providing equal and equitable education for all students. Laws and policies have been implemented to address these concerns, yet inequalities and inequities persist. Policy implementation usually resides with those in education administration – a profession influenced by many different management and leadership theories. There are scholars who have argued for studies of educational administration that examine institutional processes, ways that schools and universities are organized, how services are delivered and such, however, few have considered the role that Institutional Ethnography (IE) can play in rethinking and reworking administrative practice. At the same time, IE scholars remain puzzled with leadership and management theories and practices as they relate to ruling relations and the organization and coordination of people’s everyday work, work that people in places like public schools do.  The paper will explore the missed opportunities to show just how inequalities and inequities actually happen given current educational leadership theory and practice, provide examples of how IE adds a different perspective to the organization and coordination of educational work, and suggest ways to improve administrative practice and outcomes by including key elements of IE.