Leadership for Equitable Access and Transition into Higher Education

Authored by: Terrell L. Strayhorn , James M. Devita

Handbook of Research on Educational Leadership for Equity and Diversity

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415657457
eBook ISBN: 9780203076934
Adobe ISBN: 9781135128432


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An interesting paradox exists that in an era of increasing public accountability where the value of education is highly prized, 90% of the fastest growing jobs in our knowledge-driven economy require some form of postsecondary education; 1 and the economic viability of our country largely depends on our collective ability to increase access and excellence in higher education. However, school leaders are rarely, if ever, held accountable for promoting equitable access and transition to higher education, although there has been much lip-service given to this very topic in political debates, public discussions of education policy, and written reports (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). For instance, the Secretary of Education Commission on the Future of Higher Education (the Spellings Commission), concluded that far too many high schools and school leaders “do not yet see preparing all pupils for postsecondary education and training as their responsibility” (p. x). And even recent federal legislation seems to place a premium on student achievement, adequate yearly progress, and school safety provisions as measures of school excellence (Epstein, 2005; Linn, Baker, & Betebenner, 2002), without even a passing mention of assessing the extent to which schools and educational leaders provide conditions that promote equitable access and transition to higher education for all students.

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