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PUBLIC EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY


before the electoral community can remove board members from office. This provides ample opportunity for corruption to breed and permeate in an organization. It took Logan County 4 years to bring about change from corrupt political action. As a result, students in Logan County potentially lacked adequate education for years.


Because boards of education have ultimate power over the superintendent or CEO of the organization, the success of the superintendent is sometimes measured as the manner in which he or she fulfills the requests of individual board members. These requests may not necessarily reflect the betterment of the organization but may be entirely self-serving. Failure to comply with individual board member requests can result in the removal of the superintendent, and this power creates the opportunity for politics to move from positive to negative over a period of time. Unless attention is drawn to the fallacy of this design, there will continue to be instances in which negative politics infiltrates the decision-making process of school systems. This dilemma raises the questions of the design of school system hierarchies, which may set the administration up for failure. Garland (2003) suggested that this was an accurate assessment; however, did not provide support of this generalization.


Politics may be a characteristic associated with a bureaucracy. School systems are a bureaucracy and as such, schools are mechanically structured organizations that have more difficulty adjusting to change because the organization is not designed for innovation (Mintzberg, as cited in Morgan, 1997). This design aspect may prohibit the sustained success of school systems. Schlechty (1992) believes that the management design in school systems is not consistent with business and private corporation design, limiting the ability to achieve sustained results. The reason nationwide takeovers are not sustaining, for the most part, could be due to the design of the organization. Superintendents are referred to as CEOs; however, upon examination there is little evidence that they have the operational flexibility of a CEO of a business or corporation working with a board of directors. Even when allowed to make decisions, the rules and regulations leave little room for spontaneity or actual decision-making and problem solving. Superintendents, in actuality, are treated more like managers, but expected to operate and be held accountable as leaders.


Realizing that the structures of school system can be a hindrance based on the design of the organization and the role of leadership, it seems illogical for the federal and state governments to impose change that constitutes failure of the organization due to a design that cannot be controlled by those held accountable. Even more discouraging to this researcher is the notion that there is little work being conducted to address this inconsistency. Instead, there is a constant criticism that public school leaders are synonymous with failing districts. However, while the structure of schools may be less than


90 Virginia Educational Leadership Vol. 8 No. 1 Spring 2011


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