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Do you remember the cartoon in "Highlights for Children" magazines?  To help children learn better ways to behave there were two characters, Goofus and Gallant, who depicted the "wrong" way and the "right" way to do things.


GOOFUS in School Administration









"You want us to do WHAT?

"We don't HAVE to!"

"You can't MAKE us!"

"Oh, that wouldn't work!"

"We've never done it that way."

"I'll have to consult our attorney."

"Maybe we could put it on the agenda

(next year) as a discussion item."




GALLANT in School Administration







"How can we do it better?"

"What a great idea!"  

"Let's try it!"

"We could totally make that work!"

"Good thinking going on here!"

"That's a terrific solution!"

"So many creative suggestions!"

"You've really done your homework!"

"Let's write this all down so we won't forget anything!"














GOOFUS AND GALLANT in Education Leadership


Goofus:  We won’t.  You can’t make us.  We don’t have to!

Gallant:  How can we do better? 


Goofus:  How can we make it appear that we're “involving” parents and other stakeholders without actually changing anything, and without authentically engaging them as full partners in school govenance/decision-making?

Gallant:  How can we truly engage parents and other stakeholders in school decision-making by increasing the knowledge and leadership capacity of all participants?


Goofus:  How can we minimally comply with the letter of the law while actually ignoring the spirit of the law so that we can continue to do as we please?

GallantHow can we maximally carry out the spirit of the law to accomplish the real intent?


Goofus:  How can we “announce” a public participation opportunity in a way that will minimize response but still legally fulfill our obligation?

Gallant:  How can we reach the most people with a genuine invitation that will lead to the optimal public participation?


Goofus:  How can we hold a public meeting to minimize input from attendees and maximize my own control of agenda, communication, and response?  

Give boring presentations, use educator jargon and dull powerpoint visuals, arrange setting in crowded room with young children present, give sequenced second language translations instead of simultaneous, don't leave much time for questions or suggestions and make it uncomfortable for people to participate, etc.  People will not want to come back!


Gallant How can we hold a public meeting for maximum participant engagement, lively Q&A, enthusiastic response, minimal interruptions/distractions, comfortable small group discussions to generate ideas, etc?

Spice up presentations, use common language with simultaneous translation, eye-catching visuals, physical movement, whole-audience response, babysitting in another room, provide water or refreshments, invite/provide follow-up action choices, etc.


ALERT!  School leaders, elected or employed, are RESPONSIBLE for ensuring authentic engagement in education decision-making by all stakeholders.  You are judged by your success in building demonstrable leadership capacity and collaborative skills in your parent/community partners.  

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