ERIC Number: EJ1048095
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: N/A
Engaging the Racial Elephant: How Leadership on Racial Literacy Improves Schools
Coleman, Sherry; Stevenson, Howard C.
Independent School, v73 n4 Sum 2014
When it comes to diversity work in independent schools--especially regarding race--the research makes it clear that there is one very large and rather noisy elephant in most independent schools. If not acknowledged and addressed, it will keep schools from fulfilling not only their diversity missions but also their overall missions--especially regarding excellence as 21st-century schools. What is the elephant? In this context, it is the unacknowledged silence about the racial disparities in the school climate, a silence that makes it hard for teachers of color to raise, discuss, or face conflicts related to race. The silence is generated by the dominant culture, undermines the experiences of teachers of color, and perpetuates policies and programs that make true advancement in diversity work difficult, if not impossible. In this article, the authors assert that acknowledging the elephant in the room is an opportunity to begin an authentic effort to develop teacher and school leadership training in racial literacy. By doing so, educators will have the opportunity to recast "avoidant reactions" and move toward "assertive coping reactions" that lead to open conversations, increased racial understanding, better individual experiences, and an all-around healthier community.
Descriptors: Private Schools, Educational Improvement, Student Diversity, Diversity (Faculty), Minority Group Teachers, Educational Environment, Leadership Training, Instructional Leadership, Race
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A