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This book is a critical instructional leadership resource for new and veteran principals who want to see all students succeed. Key scholars show how to put into practice a commitment to equity and excellence across the Pre-K–12 spectrum.  Readers learn directly from experts in each of the content domains (literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, music, early childhood, special education, English language learners, world languages, and physical education) how a commitment to social justice and equity can be grounded in core subject areas, why each has a place in the school, and what they need to know and do in each subject area. 

“This book is a noble work of art; it is thoughtful, well written, and passionate. The authors and editors provide the pathway for all of us to contribute to social justice. It is a must-read!”
—Sarah Jerome, superintendent, Arlington Heights, Illinois, and past president of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA)

“By forging the linkage between equity and leader`s subject knowledge, Theoharis and Brooks provide a much needed and important extension in our understanding of instructional leadership.”
—Joseph F. Murphy, Vanderbilt University

“At last a book on what principals need to know that doesn't sacrifice the idea of an education to develop the entire human being instead of workers who can compete with China.”
—Fenwick W. English, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Bridges the gap between the intellectual considerations of academia and the everyday aspects of leadership practice. It is a must-read for principals, superintendents, curriculum specialists, and those who prepare them.”
—Autumn Cyprès, The University of Tennessee

“Finally, a thoughtful, well-crafted book that guides school leaders on promoting both high-quality teaching and learning and equity principles to improve student learning across content areas and needs.”
—Terry Orr, Bank Street College of Education

“WOW! Social justice leadership with explicit core content areas addressed all in one book. All principals hoping to improve student achievement and equity should consider this book when thinking about their leadership.”
—Deborah Hoffman, principal, Lincoln Elementary School, Madison, WI

“As a school principal in high-need schools for the past ten years, I truly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving the state of learning and increasing achievement scores.”
—Rob DiFlorio, principal, Henninger High School, Syracuse, NY

The purpose of this book is to examine and learn lessons from the way leadership for social justice is conceptualized in several disciplines and to consider how these lessons might improve the preparation and practice of school leaders. In particular, we examine philosophy, anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, public policy, and psychology. Our contention is that the field of educational leadership might consider taking a step backward in order to take several forward. That is, educational leadership researchers might reexamine social justice, both in terms of social and individual dynamics and as disciplinaryspecific, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary phenomenon. By adopting this approach, we can connect and extend longestablished lines of conceptual and empirical inquiry and thereby gain insights that may otherwise be overlooked or assumed. This holds great promise for generating, refining, and testing theories of social justice in educational leadership and will help strengthen already vibrant lines of inquiry. That is, rather than citing a single, or a few, works out of their disciplinary context it might be more fruitful to situate educational leadership for social justice research in their respective traditions. This could be carried out by extending extant lines of inquiry in educational leadership research and then incorporating lessons gleaned from this work into innovative practice. For example, why not more clearly establish lines of educational leadership and justice research into the Philosophy of Social Justice, Economics of Social Justice, Political Studies of Social Justice , Sociology of Social Justice, Anthropology of Social Justice, and the Public Policy of Social Justice as focused and discrete areas of inquiry? Once this new orientation toward the knowledge base of social justice and educational leadership is laid, we might then seek to explore some of the natural connections between traditions before ultimately investigating justice in educational leadership through a free association of ideas as the worlds of practice and research coconstruct a “new” language they can use to discuss educational leadership. Such an endeavor may demand reconceptualization of both the processes and products of collaborative research and the communication of findings, but it will demand a breakingdown of methodological and epistemological biases and a more meaningful level and type of engagement between primary and applied knowledge bases.
Racism and ignorance churn on college campuses as surely as they do in society at large. Over the past fifteen years there have been many discussions regarding racism and higher education. Some of these focus on formal policies and dynamics such as Affirmative Action or The Dream Act, while many more discussions are happening in classrooms, dorm rooms and in campus communities. Of course, corollary to these conversations, some of which are generative and some of which are degenerative, is a deafening silence around how individuals and institutions can actually understand, engage and change issues related to racism in higher education. This lack of dialogue and action speaks volumes about individuals and organizations, and suggests a complicit acceptance, tolerance or even support for institutional and individual racism. There is much work to be done if we are to improve the situation around race and race relation in institutions of higher education. There is still much work to be done in unpacking and addressing the educational realities of those who are economically, socially, and politically underserved and oppressed by implicit and overt racism. These realities manifest in ways such as lack of access to and within higher education, in equitable outcomes and in a disparity of the quality of education as a student matriculates through the system. While there are occasional diversity and inclusion efforts made in higher education, institutions still largely address them as quotas, and not as paradigmatic changes. This focus on “counting toward equity rather” than “creating a culture of equity” is basically a form of white privilege that allows administrators and policymakers to show incremental “progress” and avoid more substantive action toward real equity that changes the culture(s) of institutions with longstanding racial histories that marginalize some and privilege others. Issues in higher education are still raced from white perspectives and suffer from a view that race and racism occur in a vacuum. Some literature suggests that racism begins very early in the student experience and continues all the way to college (Berlak & Moyenda). This miseducation, mislabeling and mistreatment based on race often develops as early as five to ten years old and “follows” them to postgraduate education and beyond.
Since the passing of Brown versus Board of Education to the election of the first Black president of the United States, there has been much discussion on how far we have come as a nation on issues of race. Some continue to assert that Barack Obama’s election ushered in a new era—making the US a postracial society. But this argument is either a political contrivance, borne of ignorance or a boldfaced lie. There is no recent data on school inequities, or inequity in society for that matter, that suggests we have arrived at Dr. King’s dream that his “four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Children today are instead still judged by the color of their skin, and this inequitable practice is manifest in today’s schools for students of color in the form of: disproportionate student discipline referrals, achievement and opportunity gaps, pushout rates, overrepresentation in special education and underrepresentation in advanced coursework, among other indicators (Brooks, 2012). Though issues of race in the public education system may take an overt or covert form; racial injustice in public schools is still pervasive, complex and cumulative. For example, many students of color, year after year, do not have access to “good” teachers, experience low staff expectations, and are subject to “new and improved” forms of tracking (Brooks, Arnold & Brooks, in press). The authors in this book explore various ways that racism are manifest in the American school system. Through a plurality of perspectives, they deconstruct, challenge and reconstruct an educational leadership committed to equity and excellence for marginalized students and educators.
Challenges of worklife balance in the academy stem from policies and practices which remain from the time when higher education was populated mostly by married White male faculty. Those faculty were successful in their academic work because they depended upon the support of their wives to manage many of the notwork aspects of their lives. Imagine a tweedy middleaged white man, coming home from the university to greet his wife and children and eat the dinner she’s prepared for him, and then disappearing into his study for the rest of the evening with his pipe to write and think great thoughts. If that professor ever existed, he is now emeritus. Juggling Flaming Chainsaws is the first book in a new series with Information Age Publishing on these challenges of managing academic work and notwork. It uses the methodology of autoethnography to introduce the worklife issues faced by scholars in educational leadership. While the experiences of scholars in this volume are echoed across other fields in higher education, educational leadership is unique because of its emphasis on preparing people for leadership roles within higher education and for preK12 schools. Authors include people at different places on their career and life course trajectory, people who are partnered and single, gay and straight, with children and without, caring for elders, and managing illness. They hail from different geographic areas of the nation, different ethnic backgrounds, and different types of institutions. What all have in common is commitment to engaging with this topic, to reflecting deeply upon their own experience, and to sharing that experience with the rest of us.
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