26 SES 06 JS, Social Justice and Educational Leadership
Paper Session, Joint Session NW 07 and NW 26
Governments, schools, and researchers around the world call for family and community involvement in education (e.g., Duncan, 2010; Ontario Ministry of Education, 2010). Family engagement is purported to improve student achievement (Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, & Davies, 2003; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2012), and public participation in policy processes enhances democracy, policy, and education (Barber, 2003; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2003; Orr & Rogers, 2011). Research on family and community involvement typically focuses on if and how parents and communities engage with their local schools (e.g., Harris & Goodall, 2008; Ladky & Peterson, 2008). This historical paper challenges traditional understandings of family-school-community partnerships by identifying different kinds of communities that engaged and advocated for educational change in ways and for purposes not often recognized in the educational leadership literature.
Objectives and Perspective
On January 29, 2008 the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) approved the development of an Africentric school under their Alternative School policy. While this decision resulted from decades of activism by Black parents and community organizations (Johnson, 2013), it was also represented the behind-the-scenes work of principals and district leaders who documented the underachievement and 40% dropout rate of African Canadian students and the need for more culturally responsive curriculum.
In London race equality work culminated in the mid-1980s when newly appointed Black, South Asian, and progressive White headteachers and officials from the Multicultural Inspectorate of the Inner London Educational Authority (ILEA) developed and studied the effects of anti-racist policies and multicultural curriculum at the Center for Urban Studies (CUS) and the Afro Caribbean Education Project (ACER) (Olowe, 1990; Garrison, 1985).
This comparative study examines the activism by principals, headteachers and school board officials in two global cities who used research on the systematic disparities for students of color to promote race equality policies and culture-based curriculum over a thirty-year period.
References Anderson, G. (2009). Advocacy leadership: Toward a post reform agenda in education New York: Routledge. Barber, B. (2003). Strong democracy: Participatory politics for a new age. Berkeley: University of California Press. Duncan, A. (2010). Department proposes doubling federal funding for parental engagement [news release]. Available at http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2010/05/05052010.html Garrison, L. (1985). Resources for education in a plural society: 'Policy to practice'. London: ACER Centre. Harris, A., & Goodall, J. (2008). Do parents know they matter? Engaging all parents in learning. Educational Researcher, 50(3), 277-289. Henderson, A.T., Mapp., K.L., Johnson, V.R. & Davies, D. (2007). Beyond the bake sale: The essential guide to family-school partnerships. New York: The New Press. Johnson, L. (2013). "Segregation or 'thinking Black'?: Community activism and the development of Black-focused schools in Toronto and London, 1968 – 2008," Teachers College Press, 115(11). Ladky, M., & Peterson, S. S. (2008). Successful practices for immigrant parent involvement: An Ontario perspective. Multicultural Perspectives, 10(2), 82-89. Olowe, S. (1990). Against the tide: Black experience in the ILEA. London: The Inner London Educational Authority. Ontario Ministry of Education. (2010). Parents in partnership: A parent engagement policy for Ontario schools. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/involvement/PE_Policy2010.pdf Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2003). Engaging citizens online for better policy-making. Retrieved January 29, 2010, from http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/62/23/2501856.pdf Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2012). Let's read them a story: The parent factor in education. Paris: OECD Publishing. Orr, M., & Rogers, J. (2011). Unequal schools, unequal voice: The need for public engagement for public education. In M. Orr & J. Roger (Eds.), Public engagement for public education (pp. 1-24). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Spencer, J. (2012). In the crossfire: Marcus Foster and the troubled history of American school reform. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
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