Education and Community: The collective wisdom
of teachers, parents, and members of our community.

POLITICS

Blaise tells us that establishing the policy of any school will require the members to come to terms on politics, pedagogy, and values. Blase reports on some micropolitical researchers. Burns contends that micropolitics is "the exploitation of resources, both physical and human." He further saw the conflicting and cooperating forces as working toward a self-interest and "across a division of values." (Blase, p4) We need to be both proactive and reactive. With this in mind we should remember that politics is the conscious exercise of power to achieve goals, expand power, or extend its effects. (Blase, p7) Blase provides some background as he summarizes the work of other micropolitical theorists. Iannaccone, sees micropolitics in two ways: as the interaction in the school of administrators, teachers, and students; and as the interaction between lay and professional subsystems at the school-building level. (Blase p8) Hoyle suggests that the use of authority, beyond management, distinguishes micropolitics. Blase, p8) Ball sees the political conflict in schools as a way to possibly reach consensus. (Blase, p9) Gronn introduces an informative description of types of conflict based on an action-inaction continuum: overt conflict is in your face; covert conflict is when a group may suppress desire to dissent; latent conflict issues are "personal"; inaction through self-censorship finds groups refrain from political activity because of power of others; inaction due to idea failure is accepting lot in life. (Blase, p9) Blase concludes:

Micropolitics refers to the use of formal and informal power by individuals and groups to achieve their goals in organizations. In large part, political actions result from perceived differences between individuals and groups, coupled with the motivation to use power to influence and/or protect. Although such actions are consciously motivated, any action, consciously or unconsciously motivated, may have political "significance" in a given situation. Both cooperative and conflictive actions and processes are part of the realm of micropolitics. Moreover, macro- and micropolitical factors frequently interact. (Blase, p11)

The politics of education then includes macro-politics, the external forces, significantly influencing the micropolitics of the school. This conflict involves the politics and pedagogy components while the values of community are the macrocosm influencing the microcosm of the school. Providing an environment in which these two parts, macro and micro, can collide and bond is the trick to successful school reform. The microcosm, the school, is a political hotbed and bears close examination.