Rethinking the Universal Approach to the Preparation of School Leaders

Cultural Proficiency and Beyond

Authored by: Noni Mendoza Reis , Arlando Smith

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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Many students in public schools today face a myriad of challenges, including inadequate facilities, underprepared teachers and underprepared administrators. For our diverse students, namely Black and Latino students, the issues are more complex. These complexities require a different kind of leader and leadership, and for various reasons many of today's school leaders are not adequately prepared or willing to address the fundamental issues confronting the Black and Latino student population. Some figure it out on their own by trial and error. Others bring a genuine and deep-seated passion and do well by virtue of personality. There exists an intangible ingredient that successful leaders possess which makes them effective. Alternately, there is a tangible ingredient that a significant number of school leaders shy away from and in so doing risk not only their effectiveness as leaders, but also imperil the academic achievement of their students. The ingredient is the inability to be explicit about the impact that race, class, and gender have on student achievement. Why is this so? How can those of us who teach in leadership preparation programs ready our students to be successful in diverse schools?

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