The challenges of moral school leadership from the vantage of white male privilege
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The Challenges of Moral School Leadership from the Vantage of White Male Privilege. J. Edward Frick Donegal School District Drexel University. Paper Focus.

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The Challenges of Moral School Leadership from the Vantage of White Male Privilege

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The Challenges of Moral School Leadership from the Vantage of White Male Privilege

J. Edward Frick

Donegal School District

Drexel University

Paper Focus

  • An attempt to suggest how those of us who care and are in leadership positions can change the historic pathway and contemporary underpinnings of white privilege within a school context.

  • Am I willing to, through my life and work to overcome the effects of privilege?

Excellence / Equity / Privilege / Leadership

  • the development of a critical consciousness of social forces that can shape, advantage, or impede our fullest and most meaningful functioning as human beings (Freire, 1970)

  • critical awareness of one's social reality through reflection and action (Freire, 1970)

    • for our purposes meaningful leadership for schooling that marries excellence and equity

Excellence / Equity / Privilege / Leadership

  • Excellence

    • High expectations for students in the mastery of rigorous content, thinking, and performance.

    • The strategic effort of the learner to get there (partially and not wholly) by means of expert instruction.

  • Equity

    • “Excellent” expectations for all students through established professional practices of high level, culturally-responsive teaching.

    • An accompanying belief system that intelligence is not fixed, neither racially-based or economically-based, but rather socialized.

Excellence / Equity / Privilege / Leadership

  • Leadership

    • Must include learning with moral purpose.

    • Instructional leadership is not simply about providing equal opportunity it's about ensuring opportunity that responds to and addresses the principle of equity.

  • Privilege

    • Privilege is an unearned advantage given because a person is born into a certain group.

    • Privilege is the ability to exercise control and access systems and resources without necessarily recognizing the control and access for what it is.

Philosophical/Personal Considerations

  • Simon (1997) indicates that through our actions we are sharing stories with others that engage possibilities for all (we need to see people as they are, but also as they might become – the capacity for imagination).

  • Theologically, the parable of the Good Samaritan entreats us to engage our “neighbors” in loving ways – to see them as stories with possibilities.

  • Coleridge (1907) emphasizes the importance of imagination, the link between caring and insight, and exploration of relationships among the actual, the potential, and the ideal.

  • One’s intentions must include seeing one’s own destiny and story intertwined with the destiny and story of others. Simply put, we need to know each other.

Educational Considerations

  • Leaders need to build capacity and awareness regarding white privilege and seek ways to minimize or eliminate the impact of it in the school context.

  • How can school leaders address such an expansive issue

    • Identify organizational assumptions

    • Examine the organization and the structure of privilege within it

      • Make stakeholders aware of institutional practices that enhance opportunities for those with social privilege and those without social privilege

Call to Action

  • Educational leaders must counter the impact of white privilege (and its discrimination) by focusing on promoting the ideal of equity as fairness which will serve as a foundation for realizing social justice in schooling.

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