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Jsl Vol 12-N2

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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6 Articles

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Guest Editor’s Introduction: Leadership for Social Justice

ePub

SPECIAL ISSUE INTRODUCTION

Guest Editor
Margaret Grogan

I wanted to edit a special issue of the Journal of School Leadership on social justice for two main reasons. First, I was curious to know what my colleagues had in mind when they thought of social justice. What concrete or abstract ideas might be collected under the heading of social justice? Would there be a variety of positions taken and ideologies represented? Would the manuscripts be theoretical or based on empirical research or both? Could social justice be presented in nontraditional forms of writing even in an academic journal? Questions of content and style piqued my interest.

My second reason stemmed from a desire to be engaged in an activity that allowed me to do more than think about social justices issues in the abstract. Editing a special issue would force me to spend time on producing something that I hoped would spark further conversation on these topics. I wanted to help provide a context in which the authors (and I) could “communicate…or express [our] feelings and perspectives on social life…where others can listen” (Young, 2000, p. 32). Gathering the accepted articles under the umbrella of social justice would help to label particular concerns as ones worthy of our attention in the educational community.

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A Dialogue About Race and Ethnicity in Education: Struggling to Understand Issues in Cross-Cultural Leadership

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CAROLYN M. SHIELDS
LINDA J. LAROCQUE
STEVEN LYNN OBERG

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to prompt reflection on the complexity of leading diverse and multiethnic schools. Taking as a starting point some situations and attitudes common in schools, the article is presented in a dialogical format in which the authors engage in debate, raise issues, and challenge each other’s assumptions. By struggling to make sense of conflicting perspectives, and by reflecting on their own dialogue, the authors hope to model the type of debate that might occur in schools to help educational leaders better understand how to create a sense of community in multicultural contexts.

During the last half of the 20th century, introducing multiculturalism into the classroom was often viewed as a solution to cultural and educational challenges presented by the increasing demographic heterogeneity of North American society. Some argued that multicultural programs and policies had the potential to enhance harmony, understanding, and cooperation. Others touted their potential to overcome racism and prejudice and to decrease educational disparity due primarily to differences in class and ethnicity. To clarify what has become a confusing and complicated term, Kincheloe and Steinberg (1997) found it necessary to delineate and describe what they believe to be five distinct positions on multiculturalism. Perhaps in part because of the lack of clarity, the promises of multiculturalism appear to have been largely unrealized.

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Educational Leadership and Social Justice: Practice Into Theory

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IRA E. BOGOTCH

ABSTRACT: In this article Dewey’s conceptions of theory and practice provide a conceptual framework for understanding the moral and political possibilities of educational leadership. Specifically, the differences among craft knowledge, professional reflective practice, and intellectual activities are discussed. Through the use of historical illustrations, two educational leadership paths demonstrate connections between educational leadership and social justice. The first path illustrates how an educational leader continuously builds a just school community under changing demographic and political conditions. The leadership challenge is ongoing in terms of building a new educational community rather than replicating a community of the past. The second path illustrates how single-minded visions for a just school society emerge through the heroic efforts of individual educational leaders. The leadership challenge here is to intellectually construct a meaningful consensus rather than to assume or assert it apart from experience. The article concludes with a critique of the theory-practice consequences of each leadership path.

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Leadership for Social Justice: Authentic Participation in the Case of a Community Center in Caracas, Venezuela

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KATIA PAZ GOLDFARB
JAIME GRINBERG

ABSTRACT: This is a case study of a leader who fosters authentic participation for advancing social justice in an urban community center in Caracas, Venezuela, located in the midst of poverty, marginality, and social and economic alienation. This educational space enables the local community to control the destiny of their own institution. Learning from this case, we argue that urban educational transformation might succeed in terms of practicing social justice, if leadership facilitates and creates urban sanctuaries by working with the communities and not on the communities; fosters an organizational structure that is flexible and democratic; and creates a safe (trusting) environment where the local community is engaged in authentic participation.

Busy streets, old noisy buses, corner stores, loud music, rushing people, and a continual feeling of being in overcrowded spaces are the daily reality of Bolívar1 streets. About three blocks from the subway station that connects Bolívar with the rest of the city stands a three-story building with a small playground, a basketball court, and a separated small gym. You climb the long stairs to find a nice clean place, newly painted walls, smiling faces, and very busy people who greet and welcome you to their place. They introduce themselves as part of the center, no titles attached. They Kare parents, children, staff, and neighbors. Over the entrance there is a sign that reads: Bolívar Community Center: Always an Open Door.

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School Leaders and Antiracism: Overcoming Pedagogical and Political Obstacles

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R. PATRICK SOLOMON

ABSTRACT: In this study school principals acknowledged the manifestations of racism within their schools, but their lack of conceptual clarity led to ambivalence and ambiguities in their practice of antiracism pedagogy. Stakeholders, such as teachers who resisted staff antiracism development initiatives and white parents who withdrew from racially diverse learning environments, further complicated this shortcoming. Principals’ limited conceptual knowledge of antiracism combined with the desire to maintain a culture of harmony restricted their interrogation of racist ideologies and power relations that are embedded in the social, cultural, and political structures of schools. This article recommends that to adequately prepare themselves for the conflictual terrain of antiracism pedagogy, school leaders must acquire adequate conceptual and theoretical knowledge that will inform their transformational tasks. They must also address the contentious issue of a staffing model that reflects racial diversity, that is, one that is supportive of staff development initiatives that tackle race equity and social justice within schools.

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Leadership for Socially Just Schooling: More Substance and Less Style in High-Risk, Low-Trust Times?

ePub

JILL BLACKMORE

ABSTRACT: This article argues that radical shifts in school governance arising from wider social, political, and economic relations toward what are described as high-risk and low-trust societies challenge past notions of leadership. I explore the tensions between the pluralism of postmodernist thinking and modernist notions of social justice that produce “predicaments” for school leaders through a series of paradoxes of educational management around centralized decentralization, markets and management, new educational professionalism, parental choice and community participation, and between the substance and style of leadership. The values underpinning the corporatization of public and private life most evident in education do not provide a satisfactory grounding for effective school leadership.

The last decades of the 20th century have been depicted as producing radical shifts in relationships among the state, communities, and individuals that signify the need for new understandings about the nature of democratic and institutional life. The rapidity, scope, and depth of the flows of people, ideas, images, goods, and money produced by globalization have had macro and micro repercussions. Late “fast” capitalist societies are often characterized as being high risk and low trust, a consequence of fluid institutional formations and relationships as there is a blurring between public and private (Beck, 1992; Gatens & McKinnon, 1998; Giddens, 1994). Life is now riskier in the sense that the economic, political, and social agendas of the postwar liberal democratic settlement are under threat, as is education as the source of social change and social reproduction. Trust, the social bond of communities and organizations, has historically provided some predictability and oiled the routines and habits of everyday life, facilitating “stability, co-operation and cohesion” (Troman, 2000, p. 335). The relations of trust are now changing in families as well as between friends and between colleagues due to severe stress of work intensification, social fragmentation, changing social relations of gender, and the emotional turmoil associated with rapid change. A new form of alienation from work is produced by the abstraction of systems into symbolic tokens and expert systems (Troman, 2000, p. 337). Families now have multiple forms, jobs and career paths are tenuous, while our understandings of government, community, and individualism have been reinvented by liberal market discourses of choice.

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