Schools, as we know them today, were born in a time when economies and societies depended on agriculture rather than service and manufacturing. In the 19th century one-room multi-grade schoolhouses served small close-knit communities that were self-reliant and shared a common identity. At this point schools tended to be governed by a single trustee; often the same person who taught.
By the 20th Century, these small schools began to consolidate, become larger and more complex, and thus had diversified stakeholders. Curriculum expanded as industry began wanting input into the specialization, health and wellbeing of their future employees and schools took on many of societies’ non-academic responsibilities as communities demanded it. As a consequence, teachers began unionizing, governing boards politicalized, and governments began regulating from a national level.
Bureaucracy and administration in schools often overlooks individual students and short-changes their learning opportunities. Today teachers are often afforded ‘non-contact’ time which is designated for them to plan and prepare for their ‘contact time’. This precious time is often contaminated by the reality of attending mandatory meetings, ‘covering other classes’, completing and filing clerical mandates, analysing global achievement data ad nauseam ad infinitum – duties that seem to have nothing to do with planning or preparing teaching and learning opportunities for the individual students with whom they work….
Is it possible for schools (as we know them today) to promote teaching and learning over bureaucrating and administrating?