The School Leader Our Children Deserve: Seven Keys to Equity, Social Justice, and School Reform

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More About This Textbook


George Theoharis draws on the experiences and words of successful public school principals committed to advancing equity, social justice, and school reform to show why social justice leadership is needed and how it can be effective. Although facing tremendous barriers, these principals made important strides toward closing the achievement gap in their schools through the use of humane and equitable practices. Featuring a mix of theory and practical strategies, this timely book portrays how real school leaders seek, create, and sustain equitable schools, especially for marginalized students.

The author identifies seven "keys" that are crucial for social justice leadership:

Key 1: Acquire Broad, Reconceptualized Consciousness/Knowledge/Skill Base

Key 2: Possess Core Leadership Traits

Key 3: Advance Inclusion, Access, and Opportunity for All

Key 4: Improve the Core Learning Context-Both the Teaching and the Curriculum

Key 5: Create a Climate of Belonging

Key 6: Raise Student Achievement

Key 7: Sustain Oneself Professionally and Personally

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807749517
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press
  • Publication date: 4/23/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 353,717
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Note on Methodology xi

1 School Leadership and Social Justice 1

Barriers to School Success 4

Social Justice Leadership as an Effective Alternative to School-as-Usual 8

Organization and Content of the Book 11

A Framework for Social Justice Leadership 13

Conclusion 16

2 The Seven Social Justice Principals and Their Schools 18

Introducing the Principals and Their Schools 18

Conclusion 26

3 "There Is No Social Justice Without Inclusion": Advancing Inclusion, Access, and Opportunity for All 27

The Connection Between Inclusion and Social Justice 29

Strategies That Advanced Inclusion, Access, and Opportunity for All 30

Conclusion 44

4 "Changing How We Teach, What We Teach, and How We Approach Schooling": Improving the Core Learning Context 46

The Connection Between Improving the Core Learning Context and Social Justice 47

Strategies to Improve the Core Learning Context-Both the Teaching and the Curriculum 48

Conclusion 60

5 "Connecting and Respecting": Creating a Climate of Belonging 62

The Connection Between a Climate of Belonging and Social Justice 63

Strategies That Create a Climate of Belonging 64

Conclusion 75

6 Closing the Achievement Gap: Toward a Theory of Socially Just School Reform 77

The Connection Between Raising Student Achievement and Social Justice 78

Raising Student Achievement 79

Toward a Theory of Socially Just School Reform 83

7 "At Every Turn": The Barriers Faced by Social Justice Principals 87

Barriers Within the School Site 88

Barriers at the District Level 96

Barriers at the Institutional Level 103

Consequences of the Barriers 108

Conclusion 111

8 "Saving MySanity": The Resilience That Leaders Develop to Sustain Justice and Equity 113

Professional Strategies 114

Personal Strategies 122

Conclusion 127

9 "The Intricacies and Details": Consciousness, Knowledge, Skills, and Core Traits of Social Justice Leaders 129

Acquiring Broad, Reconceptualized Consciousness, Knowledge, and Skills 129

Possessing Core Leadership Traits 141

Conclusion 149

10 "But That's Just Good Leadership": Lessons and Directions for Social Justice Leadership 150

Lessons for Educators 151

"But That's Just Good Leadership 159

References 163

Index 171

About the Author 178

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