Administrative Discretion in Education

Every day, discretion shapes the decisions that run our schools, colleges, and universities. Every day, it alters the lives and futures of students, educators, and administrators. It's hard to overstate the impact of discretion on the incidents and issues that arise in every educational institution. Discretion affects disciplinary actions, school climate and safety, student engagement, and the health and well-being of everyone in a classroom or on a campus.

What is involved in the exercise of discretion by educational administrators? This collection of papers furthers research into this important question. It presents seminal work from scholars and graduate students, as well as path-breaking analyses from other disciplines. An understanding of how discretion works--the "calculus" that bridges the rational world of empirical observation and the normative world of ethics--can lead to better decision making in our educational institutions, and a clearer perspective on how to achieve just and effective outcomes.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Administrative Discretion in Education 1
Contents 6
Preface 7
1 - At Law’s End: In-School Administrators’ Exercise of Discretion in Disciplinary Decision Making 16
2 - A Case Study of Discretion in School Discipline 49
3 - Administrative Discretion and Youth Violence in Schools 74
4 - Student Perceptions of Discretion in Discipline: Seeking Resolution and Restoration in a Punitive Culture 98
5 - Principals’ Perspectives on Discretion and Decision Making 127
6 - Conscience and Discretion in Principals’ Conflicted Decision Making about Principal Succession 149
7 - The Administrative Courage of Academic Deans 173
8 - Guerrillas in the Mi(d)st: A Study of Discreet Dissension Among Administrators in Academe 192
9 - Conscience, Community Mores, and Administrative Responsibility 222
10 - An Outsider’s Discretion: Trust, Participation, and Collaborative Decision Making in Nunavut Schools 236
Conclusion 257
Contributor Biographies 264