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Leadership for Social Justice

2 March, 2015 - 10:41
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Closely related to cultural responsiveness is the idea of social justice. McKensie et al. (2008) defined social justice to include the goals of academic achievement and critical consciousness, both of which align with the definition of cultural responsiveness. They included inclusive practices as the third goal of social justice in their definition noting that students with disabilities and students who are language diverse are often taught in segregated settings.

McKensie et al. (2008) suggested a design for a leadership development program in which principals would be prepared for social justice work. As with Farmer and Higham's (2007) design for a leadership program focused upon cultural responsiveness, McKensie et al. made suggestions for both student selection and curricular components.

McKensie et al. (2008) argued for a stringent process of student selection. They specifically identified three criteria for selection: (a) an understanding of and commitment to social justice issues, (b) outstanding teaching skills, and (c) demonstrated leadership ability. They argued that without such requirements, it would be unrealistic to expect adequate preparation of leaders for social justice in the typical two year program.

In terms of program design, McKensie et al. (2008) argued that elements of social justice be embedded throughout the leadership curriculum. Consistent with the goals used in their definition of social justice, the curriculum they proposed included critical consciousness, a strong emphasis on instructional leadership, and planning for inclusive structures and student supports. Finally, the authors argued for an induction program that extends the development of leaders beyond graduation.