Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
dissonance. noun. conflict or anxiety resulting from inconsistency
between one's beliefs and one's actions. [definition from the American Heritage
I believe that one of the biggest challenges facing school leaders today is
the issue of dissonance. As the definition above
notes, cognitive dissonance refers to the disconnects
between what we believe as leaders and what we do. Here are some examples of
dissonance that regularly occur in the lives of school administrators:
- Few administrators believe that the current American focus on yearly,
one-time, standardized tests (as opposed to more instructionally-sensitive
progress monitoring assessments) is healthy for students, teachers, or schools,
yet they spend a great deal of time and energy on preparing for and working with
the results from those tests.
development almost never leads to long-lasting, substantive changes in
practice, yet most school systems continue to provide training for teachers and
staff using that very model.
terminated (after appropriate remediation opportunities are given) than actually
These are just a few examples. I'??m sure that you can come up with others and
invite you to add your own in the comments to this post. There are other
dissonance issues too. For example...
- time dissonance: the disconnect between the amount
of time administrators have and the amount of work they have to do it;
what our society expects schools to do and what they actually are able to
is best instructional practice (i.e., high-yield instructional strategies) and
what occurs on a day-to-day basis in many teachers'?? classrooms;
technology skills and knowledge that students need for the new millennium and
the capacity of most schools to prepare students for their future lives and
currently serve disadvantaged students and how we should be.
We must find ways to resolve these conflicts. Although most states have
adequate numbers of people with administrative licenses, fewer individuals are
willing to actually take the job of principal or superintendent. The time
demands, stress, community and legal pressures, and other factors are just too
much for many educators, who look at administrative jobs and say, "??Who wants to
deal with that? Not me!"
We know that sustainable success in schools never occurs without effective
leadership. If schools are to attract talented, creative people to serve in
leadership positions, we must somehow figure out how to reduce the
The best-selling author tells us his methods.
- James Patterson has sold 300 million copies of his 130 books, making him one of the most successful authors alive today.
- He talks about how some writers can overdo it by adding too much research, or worse, straying from their outline for too long.
- James' latest book, The President is Missing, co-written with former President Bill Clinton, is out now.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
- Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.
- The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
- The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
- Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
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