Do We Need Leaders?

Paul Garrett Professor of Political Science at Whitman College, Shampa Biswas, recently wrote a thought-provoking commentary at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Since basic education prepares the future members of society, adding "leadership" to a curriculum or program only seems natural. Yet, in "Stop Trying to Cultivate Student Leaders", Biswas makes the case that student leadership training "impedes student learning and can do harm in the world". With achievement gaps favoring the privileged, it is only expected that the same children deemed qualified for advanced academic programs will be afforded opportunities for leadership training. After all, this is how elitism really works. It is, without doubt, geared toward inequity. But where does Biswas get the notion that it can "impede learning and do harm in the world"? This is important, to see that elitism is also harmful to society.

Above copied from the The Chronicle of Higher Education

The school is a learning community and leadership is not something integral to a community of learners. Instead, an ongoing collaborative effort among educators fuels a learning community. Much of the challenges we now face cannot really be addressed by a leader, but only through a collective effort. Climate change is the best example. How we mitigate the effects of climate change crucially depends not on the leader inside ourselves, but on the collaborator inside each and everyone of us. What we really need is an ability to share, not the ability to lead.

Biswas says a lot more and I strongly recommend reading her commentary.