Mike McMahon AUSD
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Leading in Education

I am summarizing the book LEADING in a culture of CHANGE to assess what Alameda can do to accomplish "Student Success -Whatever It Takes" in the AUSD Strategic Plan for 2003-2008.

Each component is summarized:

  • Summary Overview of materials presented in the book
  • Educational Examples Examples presented by author of the book
  • Implications in Alameda How the book relates to Alameda
  • Creating Moral Purpose


    Moral purpose is about both ends and means. In education, an important end is to maked a difference in the lives of students. But the means of getting to that end are also crucial.

    At its loftiest level, moral purpose is about how humans evolve over time, especially in relations to how they relate to each other. Examining the evolution of self-centered and cooperative behavior of individuuals is translated into the "culture" of an organization. To be an effective leader should be driven by egoistic desires (self-centered) and altrustic (unslefish) motives.

    Recognize that moral purpose does not stand alone. However, you can not be an effective leader without behaving in a morally purposeful way.

    Edcuational Examples

    In 1997, the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy began England. The initial core goal was to raise literacy and numeracy achievement of children up to age 11. At the time, 57 percent were considered proficient in literacy and 54 percent in numeracy. They set goals of 80 percent for literacy and 75 percent for numeracy by 2002. While the case study involves a whole lot more than moral purpose, here are the related points to moral purpose:

    1. Getting more children to be literate and numerate who otherwise would not be is a good thing
    2. Beyond the stated moral purpose, strategies are needed. Those strategiesare the leadership actions that energize people to pursue a desired goal.
    3. Plualistic motives abound. Government officials want to be reelected, and leaders get a lot of personal gratification if it is successful, and there is an explicit measurable purpose.

    In summary, leadership, if it is to be effective, has to:

  • have an explicit "making-a-difference: sense of purpose
  • use strategies that mobilize many people to tackle tough problems
  • be held accountable by measured and debatable indicators of success
  • be ultimately assessed by the extent to which it awakens poeple's instrintic commitment, which is none other than the mobilizing of everyone's sense of moral purpose
  • Implications in Alameda

    There are external forces (state and federal mandates) for improving student achievement. What appears to be lacking is a specific, explicit "making-a difference" goal for Alameda. What do you think it should be?

    Back to Leading in a Culture of Change Summary

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    Last modified: November 2, 2003

    Disclaimer: This website is the sole responsibility of Mike McMahon. It does not represent any official opinions, statement of facts or positions of the Alameda Unified School District. Its sole purpose is to disseminate information to interested individuals in the Alameda community.