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Transformative Leadership for Social Justice: Guest Editors’ Introduction

ePub

LINDA C. TILLMAN
KATHLEEN BROWN
FRANKLIN CAMPBELLJONES
MARIA LUISA GONZÁLEZ

We are pleased to serve as guest editors for this special issue of the Journal of School Leadership: “Transformative Leadership for Social Justice.” The articles in this issue represent a much-needed articulation of an area that is underdeveloped in the social justice literature. Designed to assist university faculty in pre-K–12 educational leadership programs, the articles as well as the reference sources focus on teaching from a variety of social justice contexts that will prepare school leaders who are grounded in and committed to a socially just education for every student. Articles in this special issue focus on socially just teaching and learning in several areas, including inquiry and reflective practice, sexual orientation, teacher consciousness and change, principal preparation programs, bilingual education, and student services and special education administration. Although the articles are in no way exhaustive of the many perspectives on which social justice as a field of study can be based (e.g., race, disability, religion, social class), they provide examples of the ways in which particular teaching strategies and pedagogical practices can raise consciousness, increase knowledge, and prepare school leaders to be committed to a socially just teaching and learning environment.

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LEADing for Social Justice: A Journey of Inquiry and Reflective Practice

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GLORIA M. RODRIGUEZ
JOEL BAUM

ABSTRACT: This article discusses the Leading for Equity, Achievement, and Democracy program, which is a partnership administrative credential program of the California State University, East Bay (formerly Hayward), and the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools, based in Oakland, California. This developmental journey involves a process of introspection, reflection, and direction (“next steps”) toward a deep understanding of what it means to lead for equity and social justice. Central to this work has been the instructional and pedagogical support for inquiry and reflective practice throughout the cohort year. This article presents illustrations of how instructors can support aspiring leaders to develop skills that strengthen their ability to take actions that transform schools into sites of powerful teaching and learning.

For 3 years, we engaged in a partnership effort to support and promote the type of leadership that can transform local schools into sites of powerful teaching and learning, and school communities into centers of social action and change. In this article, we share the work that we have done to establish an administrative credential program that does more than prepare leaders to function in schools as they currently exist. Through the integration of inquiry and reflection, we developed administrative credential candidates who engaged in leadership practice that interrupted current and persistent inequities and moved schools toward shared visions of equity and achievement. Through an analysis of our teaching and the words of our former students, we explore the role of inquiry and reflective practice as tools for social justice leadership development.

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Integrating Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Topics and Their Intersections With Other Areas of Difference Into the Leadership Preparation Curriculum: Practical Ideas and Strategies

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COLLEEN A. CAPPER
JUDY ALSTON
C. P. GAUSE
JAMES W. KOSCHORCK
GERARDO LÓPEZ
CATHERINE A. LUGG
KATHRYN BELL MCKENZIE

ABSTRACT: A theory and practice of social justice is fraudulent when it does not fully address lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) individuals and their intersections with other identities. Faculty who claim to be concerned with social justice cannot focus on one or perhaps two areas of difference while ignoring or giving short shrift to the others. After all, public school leaders oriented toward social justice cannot pick and choose among areas of difference with their students, staff, and community members. These leaders must lead for social justice across areas of difference; faculty should expect no less of themselves. Many LGBT students or students perceived to be LGBT face daily harassment at schools, and LGBT staff, families, and school leaders themselves generally find schools unwelcoming. This article offers practical teaching strategies and teaching resources that can raise consciousness, increase knowledge, and develop leadership skills to prepare leaders to confidently meet the needs of LGBT individuals in their schools.

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Preparing Instructional Leaders for Social Justice

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KATHRYN BELL MCKENZIE
LINDA SKRLA
JAMES JOSEPH SCHEURICH

ABSTRACT: Neither providing a rhetoric of social justice in educational leadership preparation programs nor getting individual students to understand and to be committed to social justice is sufficient to enable them to succeed on the ground as leadership practitioners in creating socially just schools. They require additional practical knowledge, what might be called pragmatic knowledge, in various areas. One of these areas is instructional leadership; that is, how does the school leader facilitate teachers being successful in teaching literally all of their students well. This article offers a model of instructional leadership for social justice that school leaders can learn and apply. This pragmatic approach focuses on two specific teachable areas—equity consciousness and equity-oriented teaching skills.

As three professors of educational leadership who have deep commitments to social justice, strong backgrounds as school leadership practitioners, and 22 years of combined teaching experience in universities, we believe that it has become increasingly clear that one of the most underdeveloped areas in teaching for social justice in educational leadership is knowing how to prepare students to translate their newly developed or still-developing understandings of social justice into concrete leadership practices in their schools. Specifically, what we repeatedly hear from our leadership students is “I want be a leader for social justice, but what do I actually do to get teachers to change?” In response to this urgent need for practical techniques to use in working with teachers, we have developed a model of instructional leadership for social justice (Figure 1) that focuses on what we and others consider to be the two most critical qualities of successful teachers in diverse schools—equity consciousness (Lindsey, Roberts, & CampbellJones, 2005; Theoharis, 2004) and equity-oriented teaching skills (Ladson-Billings, 1995, 1997).

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Pedagogical Practices for Social Justice: A Movement Approach

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DENNIS ARTHUR CONNERS
JOAN U. KINGREY

ABSTRACT: This article describes the structure and social justice orientation of Gonzaga University's Leadership Formation Program, an innovative, nontraditional graduate program preparing principals, program administrators, and superintendents. Highlighting the virtual school district and complex case study approach used in the program, the article details three pedagogical practices central to preparing leaders to engage issues of social justice. Through the use of seminar readings, rigorous coaching of specific skill capacities, and case study simulations, the faculty engage candidates in the program to understand their roles as educational leaders and work as activists for social justice. The program teaches educational leaders that the answer does not lie “out there” but rather “inside” and that individuals committed to collectively reducing injustice can be a powerful force. Finally, a movement approach to confronting issues of social justice and taking action underscores the program's mandate that justice demands transforming the system.

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Leadership for Bilingual Education: Reflections on Social Justice

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ELSY FIERRO
MARIELA A. RODRÍGUEZ

ABSTRACT: The role of administrator preparation programs should be one of creating the conscientization (Freire, 2000) of aspiring administrators. Administrator preparation programs with a social justice perspective support and agitate aspiring administrators to act and address equity issues affecting all of those involved in the school learning community (Cambron-McCabe & McCarthy, 2005; Marshall, 2004). Conscientization leading to action is a key component in preparing school leaders to embody a social justice philosophy. The types of activities required of aspiring school administrators within the two courses described here encourage aspiring administrators to reflect and act on the social, economic, and educational inequities perpetuated in schools. This article describes assignments required within educational leadership preparation programs in two Hispanic-serving institutions in the Southwest. The purpose of each assignment is presented, followed by process, implications for social justice, and recommendations to enhance the projects.

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Foundations in Student Services and Special Education Administration: A Pedagogical Process to Promote Leadership for Social Justice in K–12 Schools

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ELISE M. FRATTURA

ABSTRACT: This article focuses from a critical perspective on the pedagogical foundations of a course on educational leadership of student services and special education administration. Additionally, it explores the ability of teaching the “practical application” of administering K–12 special education and student services using critical discourse through a deconstruct–reconstruct process. The course presented in this article examines how the changing role of student service directors and school principals encourages the development and implementation of integrated comprehensive services for all learners. The course employs a range of theoretical perspectives to address the political, structural, and functional constructs within the system that inhibit and promote comprehensive services for all learners. Students in this course complete a districtwide analysis and craft recommendations from a critical perspective to diminish, if not completely remove, practices that marginalize and elevate educational oppression and, in turn, societal oppression. In addition, students receive and generate practical information to assist in building the bridge from fragmented programs for students in need to the promotion of integrated comprehensive services for all learners.

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Transformative Leadership for Social Justice: Concluding Thoughts

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LINDA C. TILLMAN
KATHLEEN BROWN
FRANKLIN CAMPBELLJONES
MARIA LUISA GONZÁLEZ

Throughout this issue, we have sought to bring to the forefront curriculum content and pedagogical approaches that advance effective teaching of social justice in educational administration programs. We have gathered, from professors in educational leadership programs across the country, curriculum designs, formats, and activities that address teaching social justice leadership. We have compiled effective instructional strategies that increase student awareness and undergird their activism for social justice as future educational leaders.

Social justice inquires of us, What is fair and just? It is our contention that in addressing this question, we must reach beyond the legal and pragmatic and travel down the path of what is ethical and moral (Habermas, 1990; Low & Clift, 1981). A journey of this nature emphasizes a willingness to be disturbed at the very foundation of our beliefs from which our world-views are cast. It is in the ethical arena that ideals of societal fairness are whet and new assumptions of the way things “ought to be” arise. We assert that educational leadership programs must establish learning environments that assist aspiring school leaders in agitating and disturbing their values and beliefs in an effort to unshackle themselves from traditions of entitlement and privilege. Through examination of historical events, self-reflection, critical discourse, and dialogue, aspiring educational leaders can develop a critical consciousness poised to engage schools in the pressing change to meet the academic and affective needs of each child.

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