As Australian schools are being dragged along in sad mimicry of the US system of standardised testing and public league tables, Sergiovanni (2000) articulated my opinions beautifully in his discussion about how to create change in schools.
Rather than positioning schools as organisations subject to market forces, and teacher as self-interested employees who respond only to incentive and penalty, he suggests “building community in schools as a means of implementing deep change” (p. 160). “Market forces, for example, may be more efficient than democratic forces, but they may not be appropriate given schools’ special importance and their responsibility to promote societal interests” (p. 161).
He describes the concepts of ‘constrained’ versus ‘unconstrained’ views of human nature, the first having the expectation that teachers will behave selfishly and need penalties or incentives to do the right thing; the second having the expectation that teachers will behave morally, putting aside self-interest for the common good (p. 156). Change forces which embody the constrained view, such as bureaucratic forces, are ultimately destructive for schools. “Instead of nurturing professional community, constrained views breed cynicism, erode civic virtue, and encourage the development of human nature’s selfish side at the expense of human nature’s altruistic side” (p. 164).
Sergiovanni, T. J. (2000). Deep change and the power of localism. In The lifeworld of leadership: creating culture, community and personal meaning in our schools (pp. 152-164). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.