School leaders and psychological resilience and mental health

You don't have to practice being miserable.

(Grossman & Christensen. 2004, p. 128)

Education is generally a contested issue fought over in many state and national elections, which means that the public is continually made aware of perceived shortcomings that need fixing by newly elected governments resulting in schools, teachers and school leaders constantly being in the spotlight. As Glickman (1998) rightly argued:

Once-respected public institutions established to respond to government needs and protect the government trust are today being scorned. One of our most comprehensive institutions - the government school system - is being attacked continuously, with some calling to replace such government schools with privatization. By some strange inverse logic then the term private is now seen as better than government. Downsizing, deregulation and other great efforts to swell the economic efficiency and productivity are now the greater goals for society rather than the healthy growth and development of our citizens. (Glickman, 1998, p. 1)

In a pointed attack, Heather-Jane Robertson in her book, No More Teachers, No More Books (1998) stated:

From a political standpoint, making schools responsible for every societal problem is clearly expedient. Better that schools take the blame than politicians and their friends. And it is so much easier to scapegoat education than to examine economic and political realities.

We acknowledge that education can never not need improving! Ipso facto, there will always be something we can do better. The combination of an unrelenting push for improvement in education, accompanied by ever increasing accountability will continue to change the education milieu in which we operate. By way of example, high-stakes testing has generated a number of stressors for school leaders. Hazel (2018), in a Times Education

Supplement, also warned that high-stakes testing and a narrowing of the curriculum had also “contributed to an explosion in pupils’ mental ill-health. Student suicide in a now more frequently reported statistic in education”.

OUR BELIEF 32

Public scrutiny of schools and the education enterprise will only increase with time, not decrease.

 
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