Reflection of Decision-Making Materials

Educational Organization and Leadership: 0828.546
Reflection submitted on 30 November 1998

Although we have not discussed the newspaper article A Question of Character, but Whose?, I find it a clear statement that we are in a state of chaos! I am certain that this article is re-printed here for us to discuss the decision-making process and the consequences of doing it one way as opposed to another. Oftentimes, reflection bears that to be the case. However, this is not one of them.

The National Honor Society is an exclusive group. It is a privilege to be a member, not a right. An honor society holds good character as an example to be emulated. Leaving school without permission and under-aged consumption of alcohol (on school grounds, it appears) is not behavior that needs to be exalted. Although certainly we could all envision circumstances in which leaving school premises would not be a break in judgment, this one does not appear to rise to that standard.

Miss Taylor is a loud mouth. She is an instigator. Far be it from me to offer those as criticisms. However, who we are and how we behave dictates a lot of what happens to us. Perhaps those admitted to the National Honor Society, although still minors, have demonstrated adult behavior and adult thinking. Perhaps these individuals have learned that life has its lessons and sometimes the example of those lessons is found in the mirror. Perhaps the attitude displayed in the statement, “If I think things are being done in a dumb or inefficient way, I’m going to say something about it,” displays too much character for admittance to an honor society.

What appalls me about this situation is not so much that Miss Taylor is an emotional child, but rather that her parents are supporting the public tantrum she is throwing. Worse yet, Miss Taylor’s parents are waging the battle with her, “The big issue here is that someone has slandered her character. When people assault her that, she doesn’t accept it. And I don’t blame her,” Mrs. Taylor commented. The big issue, Mrs. Taylor, is that the lesson being taught/learned here is not that sometimes life isn’t fair (you’ve got to go along to get along, etc.), but rather, if a child has a complaint, any manner in which it is offered is okay.

I agree that the three passes in the situation offered are ridiculous. Nevertheless, it is not for a child to say. Honey does catch more flies. Perhaps demonstrating knowledge of how the system works by presenting a solution along with the critique in the proper forum would have allowed the Society to see citizenship, a necessary facet of character for admittance.

Other thoughts
The Tree Diagram tool for decision making appeals to me. Of course, it is not appropriate for all occasions. However, it is appropriate for major decisions (whatever they are). It validates my approach to collaborative decision making. Our district is in the process of evaluating Whole School Reform programs and making recommendations for establishing the program for each building. I have volunteered to evaluate the programs. This fits well with Appendix A of Leadership for Tomorrow’s Schools in that:

  • value placing decision making as close to the point of implementation (ugh!) as possible
  • value decisions being made by those who are directly affected by them
  • employees who have expertise and/or interest can make decisions that are relevant to them

Then again, one might ascribe to the old way of talking about this subject by stating the only way to effect change is to have the power to do so. If one is not on the committee, team, etc. that evaluates these programs, one is not in a position to know these programs. The building team will be presenting the programs (read: recommendations) to the faculty. That presentation should set forth an educational path for the next several years for the building. Although decision making will be shared, it will be shared more equally among some than others.

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