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Preparation Programs

15 January, 2016 - 09:21
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Universities can and should be instrumental in thinking "out of the box" in the development of school administrator preparation programs (Peterson and Finn, 1985). The University of Michigan-Dearborn is taking the lead in innovative program development by combining the organizational worlds of the service sector through the integration of preparation programs in educational administration and public administration. The combination of educational, governmental, and nonprofit agencies working together is something that occurs in school districts across the United States daily, as well as on an international basis. Researchers have observed that combining the efforts of these agencies is a successful method of school improvement. As stated by Newmann & Wehlage, (1995) in their study of successful school restructuring:

    To build the organizational capacity required to promote student learning of high intellectual quality, schools need support from beyond their walls. We found a wide variety of external agents attempting to help schools restructure. They included state legislatures, district administrators, universities, unions, professional organizations, foundations, courts, parents, and the federal government. In the schools we studied, districts, states, parents, and private nonprofit organizations working for educational reform-we call them independent developers-were the most active and influential. (p. 41)

    Incorporating the preparation of educational administrators in a program that combines multiple entities of the service sector creates an atmosphere and educational setting for students that promotes greater mutual understanding of the functions of each sector and enhances the ability of these future leaders to work more efficiently and effectively together. Bolman and Deal (1991) support the importance of preparing leaders with multiple perspectives when they state,

    Leaders fail when they take too narrow a view of the context in which they are working. Unless they can think flexibly about organizations and see them from multiple angles, they will be unable to deal with the full range of issues that they will inevitably encounter. (p. 450)

    This broader view of organizational leadership can be utilized to improve educational administration preparation programs, educational systems as a whole, and ultimately student learning. Universities must "provide innovative programs and curriculum that will prepare educational leaders who have the courage, knowledge, and skills it will take to lead tomorrow's schools" (Lambert, 1995, p.6).