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Improvisation and Collectivity

Practical Applications for Research

Renee T. Coulombe

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Joan T. Wynne

What kind of leadership does the 21st century demand? Many of us in education today realize that top-down hierarchal thinking and behaving is stultifying students’ and teachers’ imaginations, disenfranchising student voices, failing marginalized populations, and foiling national school reform. Asa G. Hilliard, III (1997), a decade ago, suggested that with a broken system, “revolution, not reform is needed.” That revolutionary vision can be seen in a model of leadership, fully operationalized during the sixties in the Southern Freedom Movement (SFM) in the U.S.A., but honed in education during this new century by Bob Moses, founder and president of the Algebra Project, Inc. Grounded in a philosophy of empowering grassroots, bottom-up brilliance to find an equal voice alongside those in the power structure, the Movement’s history did not start in the sixties. Rather, as Moses explains, it “came into existence when the first African walked off the first slave ship in chains” (Moses, 2001, p. 174). And though the grassroots component of the SFM model may be as old as the leadership philosophy of Lao Tzu in 700 B.C.1, its impact on educational circles is only now being examined.

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Wade B. Worthen, A. Scott Henderson, Paul R. Rasmussen and T. Lloyd Benson

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Wade B. Worthen, A. Scott Henderson, Paul R. Rasmussen and T. Lloyd Benson

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Wade B. Worthen, A. Scott Henderson, Paul R. Rasmussen and T. Lloyd Benson

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Wade B. Worthen, A. Scott Henderson, Paul R. Rasmussen and T. Lloyd Benson

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Wade B. Worthen, A. Scott Henderson, Paul R. Rasmussen and T. Lloyd Benson

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Wade B. Worthen, A. Scott Henderson, Paul R. Rasmussen and T. Lloyd Benson

Competition

A Multidisciplinary Analysis

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Edited by Wade B. Worthen, A. Scott Henderson, Paul R. Rasmussen and T. Lloyd Benson

The Super Bowl. Democrats vs. Republicans. Ford vs. Chevy. Bloods vs. Crips. Public vs. private schools. Sibling rivalries. Competition permeates every aspect of our society, and we place great confidence in its ability to allocate resources efficiently, spur innovation, and build personal character. As others have argued, competition is now a paradigm—a conceptual framework that is often taken for granted but rarely challenged. In this book, experts examine competition from their own disciplinary perspectives. From economics to philosophy, biology to education, and psychology to politics, the origins and applications of this paradigm are placed in historical context, its mechanics are analyzed, and its costs and benefits are assessed.
The questions addressed in this book are important and varied. What is the historical genesis of the competition paradigm? How is competition manifest in our culture—in religion, politics, economics, sports, business, and education—and are its effects always beneficial? What can we learn about the mechanics of competition from studying nature? Are humans naturally competitive, or is it a learned behavior? How does competition affect our mental and physical well-being? Is competition the best strategy for allocating finite planetary resources to an expanding human population? The book also engages a cooperative alternative, and asks: Is there an ethical tension between competition and cooperation? Why have cooperative models been undervalued and marginalized? Can cooperation increase innovation and efficiency? This collection provides a broad, insightful, and productive examination of one of the dominant concepts of our time.