In meeting the bureaucratic, political demands of Texas educational standards, we hear of leaders who declare aspirations of transforming a campus into a successful, award-winning institution broadcasted on the cover of, perhaps, Time Magazine. What a lofty goal! On behalf of educators in Texas, more specifically in San Antonio, I beseech over-zealous administrators whom have resorted to unsavory measures in meeting this admirable goal, to kindly take note that it may more easily be accomplished when balance, moral integrity and professionalism are incorporated into all areas in leading a campus. Including bureaucratic policies.
Bureaucracy is the administrative structure in an organization characterized by hierarchal authority, formal division of responsibility, and standardized procedure. That being said, bureaucracy definitely serves its purpose in education; however, many educators are all too familiar with the destructive effects of its abuse.
The Good The hierarchy of authority established in a campus helps define roles of employees and ensures that responsibilities are delegated equally. Rules and regulations serve to maintain staff professionalism and collaboration with school policies, procedures, and goals. In schools with a healthy environment, the goal of teamwork is accomplished, work roles are balanced and everyone equally contributes to the success of students. This is referred to as the good of bureaucracy.
The Bad On the other hand, when administration over emphasizes the hierarchy of authority and abuses their role as leaders, unhealthy issues surface within a campus. An extreme emphasis on the role of a principal as the leader and excessive use of bureaucratic power often results in a lack of collaboration and teamwork amongst staff. We will refer to this as the bad of bureaucracy.
The Ugly Even more so, we hear of leaders who desperately go so far as to incorporate strict adherence to rules by force and punishment, otherwise termed punishment-centered rules. Sound familiar? One might describe this method as a desperate, unprofessional manner in which to deal with adults. After all, don’t most individuals cease responding to punishment and threats in grade school? I believe so. For lack of a better term, this will be referred to as the ugly of bureaucracy.
Staff members often resent compliance by force and in turn develop combative and non-collaborative attitudes towards administration and school policies. An unhealthy school culture thereafter develops and staff members all but function as a team. The opposite behavior administration seeks. In this manner, bureaucratic policies and hostile fear tactics destroy the morale of a school. The only mission accomplished here is the destruction of a school.
Administrators should be cognizant of the detrimental nature of excessive bureaucratic policies. Again, if one so desires to raise the standards of a campus and achieve recognition on the cover of “Time magazine;” perhaps one should first attempt to maintain professionalism and moral integrity in leading the campus. Lets cut through the bureaucracy and get back to the basics of education. Stop abusing bureaucratic powers, threatening and bullying teachers. Let teachers teach. One may just find educators more readily inclined to prove loyalty to “your team.”