Schools are important institutions in the society. They are considered as sources of knowledge where many seeds of professional dreams are planted. Throughout human history, schools continue to enlighten people, transform lives and facilitate economic growth. With this pivotal role played by schools, it is equally essential to note that schools are run just like many other institutions. The manner in which a school is managed has a direct impact on the performance on students, teachers and other members of the school community. Many schools have crumbled due to ineffective leadership skills among principals and other administrators.
Education experts have no doubt that the performance of any school in the world directly depends on leadership systems and structures. Good school management creates a cohesive and conducive learning environment which augments the existence of a school community which embraces discipline and excellent academic values. A lot of research has been done by countless experts with as a sole purpose of unraveling the need of effective school leadership and management in order to achieve set objectives. One of these experts is Michael Fullan. This paper reviews Michael Fullan’s book “The Moral Imperative of School Leadership” which is based on school leadership, published in the year 2003.
Fullan’s work is considered excellent based on the manner in which he organizes his school leadership concepts in workable stages of success. The book commences by analyzing school leadership from an individual point of view, followed by the entire school, regional difference and the overall impact of the school in the global village. The author further addresses some of the barriers which hinder several accomplishments as targeted by many schools. He later portrays proper leadership especially from principals as key to successful schools. The author proposes the ultimate need of involving moral essentials in the education system in order to momentarily drive schools and attain commendable results.
Like any other writer in the world, Fullan has his share of shortcomings in addressing the issue of leadership in schools which total to three. His work focuses on a process which seems to have a beginning but lacks the end. He is also positive in his assessment work because it is mainly limited to the person involved through assumptions and the education system. His extreme positive evaluation of persons results into over emphasis of educational systems in the society rather than the love relationship which is supposed to exist between students and teachers. Fullan notes that education plays a pivotal role in any society. It is considered as the most democratizing in human culture. The author further asserts that schools have a role of developing certain fundamental aspects of life like justice, truth and beauty. Due to his positive assessment, Fullan looks at the three, justice, truth and beauty to be simple when they are the most important in conflict of democracy (Fullan, 2003).
According to the author, “moral” lacks content by itself. It merely deals with ones need of upholding acceptable behavior in life. For instance, the dismay of abortion would be considered moral, true and just if freedom was to be defined by the optimum utilization of available choices and opportunities as a human being. Good morals are essential in any system and education is generally a blend of morals in human being with spiritual and psychological aspects. He describes great leadership as one which upholds morality (Fullan, 2003, p. 50) Fullan further notes that the global village is made up numerous systems which are in constant competition with each other. As a result, there is completion among schools regardless of the radius of coverage calling for proper management and leadership. As described by Fullan, these schools are either true or false.
Additionally, the nature of cultural diversity is very important in ensuring proper school management. Affirmed in the book, issues of religion are quite fundamental in determining the leadership and management direction of a school. He bases this on the fact that no other institution in the world plays such an informative role like schools. They are very instrumental in the development of children and therefore children are the most vulnerable to any harm which may arise from schools because of poor leadership and management. Education has far reaching consequences and therefore, all stakeholders have a role in maintaining its quality through professional and acceptable leadership. The process of learning can be quite useless if the system of education is poorly oriented.
The basic underlying factor noted by Fullan is the role played by school principals in fostering good performance and discipline in schools. He therefore offers workable options to be considered in ensuring that every member of the society excels including students, teachers and other administrators without leaving anyone behind. As viewed by Fullan, principals are prominent figures not only in their schools but even in neighborhood of the school. He therefore considers them as instrumental in imparting knowledge and morality in the society. Importantly, the author notes the need for public education as it is quite essential.
As a result, management of schools must incorporate a wide array of leadership skills as a composite of the entire system. The author views school leadership as a team which requires a team leader, the principal. He however double emphasizes the need of investing in leadership training to facilitate leadership transition (Fullan, 2003, p. 36). The need for moral values in schools cannot be underestimated. The author argues that for children to be morally upright, the principal and teachers must take the lead in practicing morality. On the other hand, unity and common goals among leaders plays a pivotal role in propelling a school to a desired performance level. Indeed Michael Fullan explores school leadership with a wide eye on morals, goals and the significant role of principals in school management and in carrying the image of the community.