Anti-Racist Educational Leadership in Times of Crisis
Smith, Thomas M. “Anti-Racist Educational Leadership in Times of Crisis”, Boston College, 2022. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109665.
Despite reform, de facto segregation is still prominent in cities and towns across the country, and schools are no exception. White students are likely to attend schools that are 70% White, Black and Latinx students are likely to attend schools that are at least 50% Black or Latinx. Research has shown that predominantly White schools (>70% White) tend to perpetuate structural racism through tracking, inequitable grading practices, and parents’ opportunity hoarding. Furthermore, students of color in predominantly White schools often experience deficit thinking, racial spotlighting, microaggressions, and isolation. Since true integration of America’s public schools is not likely, it is important to determine how, if at all, school leaders perceive the emergence of anti-racism in predominantly White schools, especially given the disproportionate racial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and raised consciousness around structural racism. It is also important to identify the conditions that support or constrain anti-racist initiatives in these mostly White spaces. Using qualitative methods, this case study of a predominantly White school district finds that anti-racism in predominantly White schools can be enacted, most notably in the areas of grading practices, leveling, curriculum, and student support programs. However, the findings also demonstrate that resistance from White teachers and parents, combined with a fear of burning teachers out, did not allow for accountability for anti-racist practices, which ultimately slowed the pace of systemic anti-racist change.