School Culture and Curriculum Leadership
As I noted in the last two chapters, based upon my research and other related studies (e.g., Anderson, 2009; Daly, 2009; Henderson & Kesson, 1999; Johnson & Johnson, 2005), new professional and critical curriculum leadership identities are closely connected to perceptions about the purposes of curriculum and learning. New professional curriculum leadership emerges in relation to constructed and somewhat contradictory commonsensical beliefs about the utilitarian purposes of education, related effi ciency and productivity discourses, test-driven curriculum dialogues in “professional learning communities,” and the need for competition and critical thinking skills in a global work environment. Although new professional, effi ciency-driven curriculum leaders frequently express empathy for the children behind the achievement gap numbers, they focus much of their eff orts on instructional consistency in core academic subjects and give less attention to students’ interests, the broader culture, or social justice issues. In some contrast, critical curriculum leaders recognize the reality that test scores are important to children’s futures, but they also criticize the unjust eff ects of the tests on children-critiques that infl uence their beliefs about the purposes of curriculum (e.g., emancipation, growth) and leadership thereof. Changing what principals and teachers take for granted as “common sense” about standardized curricula and test preparation requires tapping into a diff erent set of values that they already hold but have not yet connected to curriculum leadership roles. All of this curriculum leadership identity formation takes place within a particular school culture and political time, as illustrated in this chapter.