Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Voice--what does it mean?

I was reading a blogpost from MiddleGround by Dr. Troy Roddy and he listed a number of things that he believed made for a good school. Most of the list was hard to argue with because they do make for good organizations.

High-involvement schools…
  • offer challenging and enriching courses.
  • provide faculty, students, and families a voice in the leadership and management of the school.
  • are committed to low student and faculty attrition.
  • support a culture in which all employees are appreciated.
  • nurture the work of divisional, departmental, and ad hoc teams designed to advance the mission of the school.
  • are committed to genuine professional development.
  • demonstrate individual care and concern for all school members and work to align the individual needs of these people to the overall goals and mission of the school..
  • provide a competitive salary and benefits package designed to attract outstanding professionals and maintain the “leadership density” often gained by employing such professionals.

I would like to spend a bit of time speculating about what the term voice means as it is used in the second bullet point above. Is there real power involved in the idea of voice or is it just a way to make constituentcies feel they they have are involved in the decisions of the school? Does voice mean decisions are made by vote? Does voice mean that decisions are made by consensus, and if they are who decides when consensus has been reached? Does voice mean a role in setting the agenda for what happens in a school? Does voice mean there is no hierarchy of decision making? Does voice mean everyone is equal?

Everybody wants a voice in how things are run. What exactly does that mean?

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