Collaborative Decision-Making in Multicultural Contexts

Authored by: John J. Hoover , Amy Eppolito , Janette K. Klingner , Leonard Baca

Handbook of Leadership and Administration for Special Education

Print publication date:  June  2012
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415872805
eBook ISBN: 9780203837313
Adobe ISBN: 9781136869693


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Research on the value and effectiveness of collaboration when making educational decisions is extensive and comprehensive (Friend & Cook, 2010; Heron & Harris 2000; McLeskey, Rosenberg & Westling, 2010; Walter-Thomas, Korinek, McLaughlin, & Williams, 2000). According to Friend and Cook, collaboration includes several characteristics that collectively facilitate meaningful decision-making. These qualities include shared contributions that are equally valued, clear purpose and mutual goal(s), team member participation and accountability, and shared expertise and resources. Effective school and team leadership is facilitated through collaboration as team members support each other and their students. Discussing collaboration, McLeskey and colleagues wrote that administrators and teachers must work cooperatively to “change their practices, the roles they play, and the very structure of their schools” (2010, p. 212). This statement is particularly appropriate in today's educational climate as more and more schools transition to response to intervention (RTI) models (Hoover, Baca, Love, & Saenz, 2008; Spectrum K12, 2010; Zierkel & Thomas, 2010), and as diversity in our classrooms continues to increase (Klingner & Edwards, 2006; Klingner, Hoover, & Baca, 2008). Both RTI and increased diversity highlight the reality that no one or two educators in a school possess sufficient expertise and the resources to adequately meet the needs of all learners. In support, Thousand, Villa and Nevin (2007) wrote that

Collaboration has become more and more of a norm in North American schools due to a number of legal, practical, and ethical reasons all related to providing all students both access to quality instruction and equity in educational experience.

(p. 110)

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