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Jsl Vol 14-N1

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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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Finding the Horizon: Education Administration Students Paint a Landscape of Cultural Diversity in Schools

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CAROLYN S. RIDENOUR

ABSTRACT: A landscape painting metaphor was used to report the implications of this study of 33 graduate students preparing to become elementary and secondary school administrators who kept personal journals during their enrollment in an Issues of Diversity class at a private Midwestern university. The journals forced their cultural lens to be transparent, freeing them to locate the horizon line, a reference point for their own experience, beliefs, and values. The students, a 3:1 ratio of white to African American students and 56% female, revealed feelings of confusion, ambivalence, fear, and uncertainty about race and gender in their personal and professional lives. They described new understandings about cultural differences and showed evidence of moving into new behaviors. The power of journaling for those preparing to be school leaders was another dominant theme from the analysis.

Morally and legally, issues of equity and fairness are among the most critical in contemporary schooling (see, for example, Civil Rights Project, 1996; Grant, 1995; Grogan, 1996; Lindsey, Robins, & Terrell, 1999; Nieto, 2000). School leaders cannot ignore their obligation to guarantee just and equitable learning environments for all students, including racial and ethnic minorities as well as girls and women. Despite the focus on such factors as school reform models, revolutionary governance systems (e.g., choice, charter schools) and high-stakes testing, building principals and district superintendents will remain ill-equipped to successfully lead schools unless they willingly commit to excellence for every child in their schools.

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From Indifference to Injustice: The Politics of School Violence

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KAREN L. MICHAELIS

ABSTRACT: The social structure of the school with its norms, values, beliefs, and practices ostracizes some students. By studying the behavior and motives of students who kill at school we will be better positioned to understand the role played by school officials and other students in creating an environment that ignores fundamental differences among students that lead to deadly school violence. In this article, Iris Young’s theory of difference is used to explain why the Columbine shooting was inevitable from the perspectives of shooters Harris and Klebold. While Young identifies five faces of oppressions, she does not view those faces as cumulative. However, when viewed as cumulative, the fifth face of oppression—violence— seems to be the natural culminating outcome of the preceding four faces of oppression. Stopping school violence requires school officials to stop the verbal and physical taunting some students endure daily while at school.

In the aftermath of the shootings in Littleton, Colorado, in April 1999, we as a nation seem finally to comprehend that such incidents are not isolated occurrences. At the urging of President Clinton, Congress began hearing testimony from experts on teen violence and parents of victims of school shootings in their effort to create legislation designed to adequately address the causes of teen violence and to identify programs and approaches that work. The question persists, even now, why have we suffered so many school shootings in the past few years? At the core of this question is our search to understand why some teenage boys resort to such devastating violence; how those boys could have become so isolated to conclude that there is no other way to gain the attention they seem so desperate to attain; and why some boys have become outsiders in their own communities.1 One purpose of this article is to explore why certain individuals, particularly teenage boys, lash out violently against their peers and adult authority figures (i.e., school personnel). To address this purpose, I will explore the concept of injustice within society acting from a theory of justice. I will begin with a description of the social processes at work in schools that isolate certain types of students from the mainstream.2 Then I will offer a framework for understanding how the teens involved in recent school shootings in the United States could move predictably toward violence as the only logical response to their perception of their powerlessness3 based on Young’s4 five aspects of oppression (exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence).

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Teacher Empowerment and Charter Schools

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JAMES R. CRAWFORD

PATRICK B. FORSYTH

ABSTRACT: This study investigates an assumption used to legitimate charter school legislation, namely that such schools will reduce regulatory constraint burdening schools and school personnel. Reformers and policymakers have argued that charter schools will increase teacher empowerment and enable teachers to better carry out their education functions. Testing this assumption by comparing empowerment levels of charter school teachers with noncharter school teachers, the study casts doubt on the assumption. Post hoc analyses are used to examine teacher characteristics and school contextual information in pursuit of possible explanations for the hypothesis’ failure. Two findings are suggestive. There appears to be an interaction between the length of teacher experience and the school type. Low experience teachers in charter schools are not empowered, whereas in non-charter schools, experience is unrelated to teacher empowerment. Additionally, analysis by school shows teacher empowerment to be much more variable both within and among charter schools, when compared to noncharters.

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Evaluating Urban Teacher Recruitment Programs: An Application of Private Sector Recruitment Theories

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PAUL A. WINTER

ROBERT N. RONAU

MARCO A. MUÑOZ

ABSTRACT: This teacher recruitment study was conducted in one of the largest school districts in the United States. The participants (N 152) were newly hired teachers. Findings revealed the participants considered economic (e.g., teacher salary schedule), school (e.g., location), and community (e.g., cultural opportunities) attributes important in their decision to accept a teaching job. Some hiring process attributes (e.g., ease of the application process) received low ratings. Score on a hiring process scale was the most powerful predictor of teacher satisfaction with the recruitment process and attraction to a teaching job in the district. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Arguably one of the most important responsibilities accorded to educational leaders is the administrative task of staffing schools with the best possible teachers. There is broad consensus among educational researchers that the quality of the teaching staff has a direct and important bearing on student learning outcomes (Castetter & Young, 2000; Rebore, 2001).

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Making Educational Leadership “Educational”

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WILLIAM G. WRAGA

ABSTRACT: Educational leadership preparation and practice typically concentrate on managerial exigencies at the neglect of definitive functions of the institution of schooling. Educational leadership, however, is truly “educational” when its processes focus on fostering student learning of a worthwhile curriculum and when these processes are themselves educative. This article aims to inform current efforts to reform educational leadership preparation by drawing from historic sources and sources outside the conventional educational administration literature and by highlighting the neglect of the curriculum imperative in such recent efforts. Recent attention to the educational dimension of school leadership by the educational leadership community should be pursued further through collaboration among academic specializations and advocacy by professional organizations in the field of education.

What makes educational leadership “educational”? What distinguishes educational leadership from generic leadership? What distinguishes it from leadership in other areas of endeavor? The obviousness of these questions—and their answers—obscures their importance. For if educational leadership cannot credibly be distinguished from other forms of leadership, say, business leadership or military leadership, then colleges of education and departments of educational leadership have no special claim on the preparation of educational leaders. The retired corporate CEOs and retreaded military officers increasingly touted by politicians and policymakers may as well take charge of our schools. What, then, makes educational leadership “educational”?

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