Chapter 8: The Micropolitics within Schools #schoolpolitics
FAQ 1. What is micropolitcs? Micropolitics is the transactions, process or communication between educational professionals and citizens. It emphasizes “informal aspects of self-interest and bargaining among school-site actors.” This could also include interest between the educational professionals at a school with each other.
FAQ 2. What is the difference between organizational and micropolitical theories? Usually organizational theories focus on formal structures of authority, with emphasis on authority, goal adherence, consensus and motivation. Micropolitical theories focus on self-interest and bargaining, with emphasis on power, conflict, interests, control.
FAQ 3. What are the types of ways that principals lead? Usually principals are divided into two types: status quo or an agent of change. The status quo principals tend to maintain what is already in place. The agent of change principals look for ways to make the school better.
FAQ 4. How does the principal influence others through the micropolitical environment? Since teachers have much autonomy once they close their doors and begin teaching, principals use bargaining to influence what is happening in the classrooms.
FAQ 5. How do “leader” principals differ from “manager” principals? Leaders tend to favor defining missions and tend to work more hours with parents and superintendents and have faculty support. Managers tend to favor supervising teaching.
FAQ 6. What is the burnout rate of teachers? “Texas reports that 76 percent of their principals turn over by their fifth year and 61 percent leave after three years.” These numbers are high across the nation.
FAQ 7. What are the five aspects of a principal’s responsibilities? The five aspects are: defining the school’s mission, promoting the instructional climate, managing the curriculum and instruction, supervising teaching, and monitoring student progress.
FAQ 8. What are the impacts of collective bargaining in schools? Collective bargaining has caused the principals’ job to be more complex. No longer can principals use a standard structure for hiring or firing because more participants are interested in the politics, such as labor professions, organized and unorganized citizens and elected officials outside of education. Decision-making in schools moves to district or higher levels. Principals must take on new constituents, broadening scope of issues and new criteria for success in their jobs.
FAQ 9. What are the patterns of institutional change in education? First, social needs that are not being met challenge the old ideas and practices. Second, Reformers and defenders suggest reform. Third, policy change attempts to resolve the conflicts. Lastly, the cycle begins again as the new ideas become institutional norms.
FAQ 10. How does micropolitics affect the teacher/student relationship? The teacher ultimately controls which resources and content the students will receive. These decisions by the teachers are influenced by federal, state, district and school micropolitics. Ultimately, when the school day begins, teachers and students shut their doors and learning begins with the teachers in control.