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Viewpoint: A Time To Lead

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Teaching is not a profession that values or encourages leadership within its ranks. The hierarchical nature of public schools is based on the 19th century industrial model, with the consequent adversarial relationship of administration as management and teachers as labor.

Recognizing the serious flaws in this way of thinking, the school reform reports of the late 1980s made compelling recommendations for teachers to provide leadership in restructuring the nation's schools. The reports emphasized the importance of creating new roles for teachers that acknowledge the centrality of classroom teaching and extend teachers' decisionmaking power into schoolwide leadership activities. The 1986 report of the Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession, A Nation Prepared, went so far as to say that without teacher support "any reforms will be short-lived'' and that "the key'' to successful reform of schools "lies in creating a new profession...of well-educated teachers prepared to assume new powers and responsibilities to redesign schools for the future.''

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