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Navigating Rough Waters: A Synthesis of the Countervailing Pressures Against Leading for Social Justice

ePub

GEORGE THEOHARIS

ABSTRACT: This article presents a synthesis of countervailing pressures against leading for social justice as described in the literature. This synthesis focuses on the present-day countervailing pressures that school leaders face as detailed in the literature on leading for social justice. These countervailing pressures include a deficit-thinking status quo, a marginalization of areas of difference, a preference for technical leadership, particular national and local policy, a burden of seeking social justice, and a lack of equity focus in administrator preparation. This article concludes with implications for overcoming these pressures.

This article centers on building an understanding about the countervailing pressures against leading for social justice as described in the literature. At this moment in history, it is essential to remember that as a nation we are failing to adequately educate many of our most marginalized students— students of color, students with low socioeconomic status, students who speak languages other than English, students with disabilities, and other students who have traditionally been excluded from the full benefits of an excellent public school. Freire (1990) proposes that the purpose of our educational system is to make bold possibilities happen for these students. He states that it is the work—in fact, the duty—of public education to end the oppression of these students. Fulfilling that duty remains an illusive challenge for many schools, teachers, and administrators. To fulfill the responsibility outlined by Freire toward the education of marginalized students, it remains imperative to understand the historical, political, and educational tensions and pressures against enacting this social justice. Although individual pieces of scholarship refer to these tensions and pressures, a gap in the literature exists in that there is no review of themes across the research that discusses the pressures and difficult realities of working toward social justice. This article addresses that gap through a synthesis of the countervailing pressures to leading for social justice.

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Principal Recruitment: Assessing Job Pursuit Intentions Among Educators Enrolled in Principal Certification Programs

ePub

PAUL A. WINTER
JAMES S. RINEHART
JOHN L. KEEDY
LARS G. BJÖRK

ABSTRACT: A statewide cadre of principal certification students (N = 516) completed a principal job survey and role-played as applicants for a principal position by completing a principal job evaluation instrument. Significant predictors of principal job rating included the following: self-reported capability to do the job, expected satisfaction with work hours and family time, expected satisfaction with intrinsic job facets and job security, expected satisfaction with job enrichment opportunities and responsibility, and expected satisfaction with income and career advancement opportunities. Implications for recruitment practice and future research are discussed.

A crucial and challenging administrative task that educational leaders and policymakers must address to provide quality educational programs lies in recruiting qualified personnel to fill administrative vacancies in the nation’s public schools (Rebore, 2001; Young, & Castetter, 2004). The issue addressed by this research was principal recruitment, an administrative responsibility that is becoming increasingly difficult for educational leaders to fulfill. The focus of this investigation was that of assessing attraction to principal jobs among a statewide cadre of public school educators enrolled in principal certification programs.

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Correlates of Job and Growth Satisfaction Among Secondary School Administrators

ePub

SHARON CONLEY
SHIRLEY SHAW
NAFTALY GLASMAN

ABSTRACT: This study examined the job and growth satisfaction of secondary school administrators. Three sets of variables (job, organizational, and personal characteristics) were tested in terms of their impact on 2 related but distinct dependent variables: job and growth satisfaction. The participants included 153 school administrators, 66 principals, and 87 assistant principals. Some analyses combined these groups, and others examined them as separate samples. Strong support was found for the association of job characteristics and some organizational characteristics with job and growth satisfaction, but there was generally a weak association of personal characteristics with these outcomes. Implications follow from study findings.

School leaders play a pivotal role in education in general and student learning in particular (Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999). They do so by developing school policies, guiding teachers, and communicating with students and their parents. The job satisfaction of school leaders is central to the extent of their effectiveness. When job satisfaction is low, at least two dimensions are negatively affected: psychological and physical withdrawal from the job (Hulin, Roznowski, & Hachiya, 1985). These forms of withdrawal lead to a decline in interest in serving as school leaders. When it becomes difficult to work in the context of accountability without having the necessary control, school principals find themselves leaving these positions. Also, potential principals are not as eager to take on such roles. As a result, a shortage of principals is created (e.g., Cooley & Shen, 2003).

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Cultivating Principals’ Self-Efficacy: Supports That Matter

ePub

MEGAN TSCHANNEN-MORAN
CHRISTOPHER R. GAREIS

ABSTRACT: This study sought to identify important antecedents of principals’ self-efficacy (PSE) beliefs among 558 principals in Virginia. Analysis of variance demonstrated that the school context variables of school level, school setting, and the proportion of low-income students had no significant relationship to PSE. Multiple regression revealed that, by and large, demographic variables of gender and race were not strong predictors of PSE. The set of interpersonal support variables at the school-building level (teachers, support staff, students, and parents) was the strongest predictor of PSE, followed by principal preparation and district-level support (interpersonal support from the superintendent and central-office staff, as well as resource support).

Good principals are widely acknowledged as the cornerstones of good schools. Without a principal’s leadership, efforts to raise student achievement in a school are unlikely to succeed. The principal is a key agent at the school level. He or she sets the tone and direction for the school, initiates change, provides expertise, marshals resources, unifies partners, and maintains effort. The job is complex and demanding, requiring a depth of professional knowledge, an array of skills, and particular beliefs or dispositions about how and why to act (Council of Chief State School Officers, 1996). Central to marshaling this array of abilities is the principal’s self-efficacy beliefs.

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