Culturally Proficient Leadership

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EDLA 626 – Culture, Diversity & Human Rights

Culturally Proficient Leadership: The Personal Journey Begins Within

Summary: Part 1: Leadership as an Informed Personal Perspective

Chapter 1: The Leadership Journey Begins Within

Getting Centered
- reality – many people in society still live segregated lives based on race / ethnicity, class - It is important that we look inward to ourselves in order to understand our reactions to people culturally different than us. - Such understanding allows us to effectively teach “other peoples’ children”

Taking a Look at My School and What I See (and Don’t See)
- Schools and districts are influenced by social, political and economic forces not readily apparent. - Underlying the visible elements of our school communities are unapparent forces that make even more impact on our students, schools and us. - These invisible historical forces contribute to the sense of privilege or deprivation experienced in our schools that impacts our students, parents and us. - These forces are termed as equity issues and serve as the metaphorical elephant in the room that many pretend not to see.

Are there “Equity Issues” in Your School?
- Reaction to equity issues is dependent on one’s own experiences as a student. - Different experience produced for students of different cultural groups (past & present). - Regardless of personal experiences, a school leader and his/her vision benefits from knowledge of historical context of access and equity issues. - Two expressed values not fully realized are universal public education through High School and equitable educational opportunities (ex. Only 27 states have compulsory education requirements to age 16). - Progress toward universal education is linked with advancement in equitable treatment and equal outcomes for students based on gender, race, ethnicity and ableness is also evolving. - Prominent researchers have pressed the issue for equity in schools for 2 generations.

Confronting the “Gaps” as a Leadership Issue
- Leaders faced with challenge of leading schools in ways that provide equitable opportunities irrespective of a student’s culture - The mere composition of any school poses naturally challenges due to differences (culture, race, gender, socio-economic, achievement, etc.). - Leaders need to address systemic access disparities of quality educational programs, experienced funding and equitable school funding otherwise the status quo of gaps will continue. - More equitable funding alone does not even things out . . . must be accompanied by a change in the way many students are educated. - Important question for leaders: How do we meet the academic and social needs of students who come to school with a different set of values, beliefs, socioeconomic experiences, behaviors, language and ability?

NCLB as a Leadership Tool
- NCLB can serve as a tool to support access and equity efforts. - NCLB has made public aware of differential educational opportunity and achievement patterns that exist in our schools and communities. - NCLB used as pretext to point out and address achievement gap issues. Such a gap is a multifaceted outcome measure of gaps in access to education. - Achievement gaps differentiated by race, ethnicity, gender, class, etc. are being highlighted by the media.

Definitions of Key Terms
- Culture: The set of practices and beliefs shared by members of a particular group that distinguish that group from other groups. - Cultural Informancy: Reflects our experience of having cross cultural relationships that are authentic and trusting which allow for mutual learning and feedback leading to personal growth. - Demographic Groups: Often used in schools in pace of subgroup. - Dominant Culture: A culture readily visible in a classroom and school which often benefits from treatment, attention and success while...
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