chapter  7
37 Pages

Conflict or Cooperation?

Formal Roles within the Educational System

Roles refer to the parts individuals play in the social system; within schools, roles include administrators, teachers, students, and support staff. Conflicts may arise from incompatible demands on those holding particular roles. Roles in schools span the hierarchy that runs from the federal level down to individual classrooms. The federal Department of Education and the Secretary of Education play agenda-setting roles, holding power that has grown. Historically, the federal government has played a small role in the educational system. This limited influence reflects one of the founding principles of education in the United States: the priority of localism over centralization. School boards, typically organized at the district level, represent the public's voice in educational matters, and provide for citizen oversight of the educational system. At the head of each school district is the superintendent, an administrator who is coach, cheerleader, and public relations guru, all in one.