New York City Public School Chancellor Richard Carranza has taken on the bold challenge of providing school leadership training as an effort to help students of color. In New York, students of color are jeopardized by the systemic racism that permeates through the entire school district. The Chancellor has implemented racial bias training that has angered administrators, teachers, and parents.
The chancellor also believes that targeting a White supremacy culture amongst school administrators is a best practice. The challenge with this approach is that school leaders will have an opportunity to elude efforts to continue to help students of color. Attacking the value systems of school leaders who are accused of racism will result in a continued dysfunctional New York City Public School District.
The type of school leadership training that will help students of color the most are characteristics associated with Feminist and Social Justice leadership. Feminist leaders create child-centered schools by ensuring staff members treat students with respect and dignity. Social Justice leaders define and create theories and practices that ensure greater opportunities for all children.
School leadership training that develops a Social Justice perspective will begin with the creation of a shared vision that ensures greater opportunities for all children. Peter Senge, in his book “The Fifth Discipline” describes a shared vision as “… a force in people’s hearts, a force of impressive power….At its simplest level, a shared vision is the answer to the question, What do we want to create?” A shared vision is a picture that everyone in the company carries in their heads and hearts.”
A shared vision creates a sense of commonality and gives coherence to diverse activities. It creates excitement and makes an extraordinary company. It allows everyone to work together. It creates a common identity and a sense of purpose. It encourages new ways of thinking and acting. It gives courage and fosters risk taking and experimentation. Basically, without a shared vision, that vision that Chancellor Carranza spent time creating is pointless and meaningless. And without a shared vision the learning organization cannot exist.
According to Peter Senge (1990: 3) learning organizations are “…organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.” In contrast, the chancellor’s approach will never achieve his mission without school leadership training that nurtures and facilitates a learning organization.
This process must begin with each individual principal. The Chancellor should have solicited from each principal their vision for ensuring greater opportunities for each child. From that he can evaluate the difference between their vision and the vision that he has developed for the entire New York City Public Schools. This provides an opportunity to develop a customized school leadership training program for all of the principals.
Without this process, the tension between the Chancellor and the principals will continue to increase. It the same as two people holding a rubber band at each end. The further away that each vision is from the center, the more the tension will increase. This increase has become evident in his efforts to help children of color. Once they have agreed upon a shared vision, then they can develop a strategic plan that will ensure greater opportunities for all children.
The final step is to create child-centered schools by ensuring staff members treat students with respect and dignity. This is the equivalent of improving racial relationships between school staff and students of color. Dr. Campbell has a school leadership training program that improves racial relationships between staff members and students. Dr. Campbell was able to develop a moral community by providing this type of school leadership training.
The school leadership training that results in promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships is the first step to developing a moral community. According to Johnson (2001), developing moral communities includes:
- Commitment – to developing a moral educational community
- Competence – including individuals who collectively develop a moral community by learning and improving together
- Contribution – using individual talents to collectively develop a moral educational community
- Collaboration – identifying various groups at higher levels that can assist with developing a moral community
- Continuity – second-order change that facilitates moral community development
- Conscience – communicating moral expectations appropriately
- Conversation – sharing and making community moral values that build relationships and solve moral problems.
Successfully helping children of color in the New York City Public schools will have to take on a dual process. It will require that school leaders become proficient as Feminist and Social Justice leaders. Given the present top-down process in place, the only recourse for a successful transition is the prescribed school leadership trainings.
All the best,
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
- Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
- Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
- The Raccelerate Formula App
- Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
- The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Racism Management
“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President