Educational Leadership and Social Justice: Theory into Practice.Report as inadecuate

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Connecting theory and practice to the moral use of power reveals why social justice, as an educational intervention, is relevant in every era. Social justice requires ongoing struggle and cannot be separated from the educational theories and practices of professionals, schools, academic disciplines, and governmental agents. Insights from John Dewey illuminate the importance of creating an educational community with multiple perspectives on social justice, in contrast to the quasi-heroic discourse of strong leaders with vision. Contemporary efforts to apply Dewey in education demonstrate the need to incorporate many differing constituencies and visions of social justice. Individualist perceptions of justice stand in contrast to this pluralistic perspective, placing the emergence of justice on the shoulders of risk-taking visionaries, whether as educational reformers or revolutionaries. Dewey's social reconstructivist vision focused on building social justice today, in the practical tasks of daily life, rather than in the future. This orientation resonates with the postmodern turn in academia that strives for justice through critique, example, and practice, instead of elaborate proofs of truth in pursuit of future justice. Social justice has many meanings, presenting leaders with the ongoing challenge of creating social and political spaces for advocates and outlaws, both in and out of schools, to explore and make explicit the connections between subjective meanings of social justice. As a continuous social construct, educational leadership cannot be one design, one program, or one view, to the exclusion of other approaches. (Contains 12 references.) (TEJ)

Descriptors: Administrator Effectiveness, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Justice, Leadership Styles, Political Issues, Postmodernism, School Community Relationship, Social Attitudes, Social Environment, Social Problems, Social Structure, Social Theories, Social Values, Theory Practice Relationship

Author: Bogotch, Ira E.


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