Greasing the Squeaking Wheel
As computer coordinator for the school district, he had been asked to attend a meeting of parents the night before at Roosevelt Elementary School. It was not a pleasant experience! The school is located in a very affluent section of town. Most of the parents are well-paid professionals who wield considerable social and political influence in the community. One speaker after another demanded to know why their children did not have greater access to computers in the school. Threats were made to begin calling members of the school board and also to turn out at the next school board meeting to demand action.
Knowing that such pressure would place him in a difficult position, Matthew tried to figure out how he could pacify this very vocal and influential group of parents. Suddenly he got an ideal Three of the inner-city schools in economically depressed neighborhoods of the district were also in need of computers. However, Matthew figured that he could probably delay these purchases because the parents associated with these inner-city schools did not carry nearly the political influence of those representing Roosevelt Elementary School. He realized that he could calm some of the furor by simply using most of this year's computer funds to supply Roosevelt Elementary School. Certainly the school district administration would not object to his taking this action and, thus, avoiding the uproar that was sure to come from the parents at Roosevelt Elementary School if more computers were not provided.
The AECT Code of Ethics—Section 3, Principle 1
The approach to solving his problem that Matthew is considering is, unfortunately, an approach that is too often used. It reflects a management style that subscribes to the notion that the "squeaking wheel gets the grease" as well as subjugating sound professional judgment to political power and influence. In addition to not providing equitable treatment for all of the schools in his district, it is a dangerous course of action because, although it might address an immediate problem, it does not solve the long-range computer needs that exist within the school district. It appears that Matthew has failed to develop a long-range plan for implementing computer technology in the schools of his district. Such a plan, approved by the school board, would allow all constituencies in the schools to see how the need for educational computing is being addressed and better enable them to make decisions on a systematic, rational, equitable basis rather than having those decisions be dominated by local political pressures.
Paul W. Welliver