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Reforming Approaches to Persistent Bullying in Schools  

Deborah M. Green, Barbara A. Spears, and Deborah A. Price

Bullying remains a global issue, and persistent bullying among students in schools has become of increasing interest and concern. Extensive research has provided insights into the developmental trajectories of those who bully; however, less is understood about why they either continue to engage in bullying behavior or desist over time. Persistent bullies, those who seem to continue or increase their bullying behaviors over time, not only negatively impact individuals and communities both during their schooling and long after graduation but also experience negative life outcomes as a result of their behavior. It is therefore important to understand what contributes to, supports, or motivates their ongoing bullying behavior: especially when interventions and preventative approaches employed by schools to reduce bullying, have to date, been found not to be universally successful. This is particularly important, as interventions and approaches to reduce bullying behavior, have until the early 21st century been largely measured against and are relevant to Olweus’s traditional bullying definition, which references power imbalances, repetition, and intent to harm and rests largely within the developmental psychology domain. In the early 21st century, debates to contemporize the definition, however, involve contributions from other paradigms designed to bring a more holistic, nuanced understanding of the whole socio-educational context of bullying. This may eventually bring different insights to the issue of persistent bullying, as it would include, for example, an understanding of the broader notions of societal power, individual agency, privilege, and bias-based bullying, potentially resulting in better preventative and intervention outcomes to address bullying more generally, and persistent bullying specifically. Whereas school reform often refers to the process of making changes in educational policy or practice, usually in response to concerns about student academic achievement, behavioral issues such as bullying, which impact wellbeing, engagement, and, ultimately, achievement, also require similar “reforms” to policy and practice. Significantly, such reforms demand evidence to ensure there are no unintended or iatrogenic consequences, such as, for example, the escalation or continuation of bullying behaviors. Reforming approaches to understanding, preventing, and effectively intervening with those who persist in bullying others, a unique subset who seem resistant or immune to bullying prevention and intervention approaches used in the early 21st century, are therefore necessary and timely given the extant knowledge about bullying and victimization derived from the past 30-plus years of research. Knowing more about those who appear immune to intervention and prevention approaches used in the early 21st century, their lived experiences, the contexts that may serve to support and maintain their behaviors, and the community’s view of them, is imperative if approaches are to be reformed in response which subsequently bring about change in schools to reduce bullying. Reforming approaches at the whole-school level are considered, which simultaneously employ a multi-tiered system of behavioral support within the school setting for all students: where specific supports are targeted and enacted for those who persist in bullying, alongside strategies for those victimized, in a climate where all bullying is universally rejected. This approach sits alongside the notion of a whole education approach recommended by the UNESCO scientific committee on school violence. This recognizes that a wider community approach is needed, which acknowledges the interconnectedness of the school, the community, and the technological, educational, and societal systems.

Article

Systemic Supports for Antiracist Practice in International Baccalaureate Classrooms  

Whitney M. Hegseth

When considering how to (re)build educational systems for equity, one might explore the potential of a system’s supports to facilitate changes in perceptions and pedagogy in classrooms, so that both become increasingly antiracist. A disciplinary incident in an International Baccalaureate (IB) elementary classroom in Washington, D.C., helps illustrate how the IB system’s educational infrastructure can support teachers in (re)framing and responding to problems in their classrooms. The infrastructure that may support such (re)framing includes system-level guidance around (a) outcomes, (b) instructional methods, and (c) the use of local resources. Although the IB system is not yet an antiracist system, its educational infrastructure can support a transformation in perception and pedagogy for IB teachers. This existing infrastructure, then, has the potential to help IB teachers and schools move toward increasingly antiracist practice. Exploring such a synergy between infrastructure and antiracist practice may help the IB system, and other educational systems, in their efforts to (re)design system supports to redress long-standing inequities in schools and society.

Article

Leadership That Bridges Arts and Social-Emotional Learning  

Marco A. Nava, Imelda L. Nava, and Jan Kirsch

Over the last 40 years, due to the combination of cuts to school and district budgets and an overemphasis on standardized testing, arts instruction has been severely cut back in public schools. Minority and low-income students are the ones most negatively impacted, as the schools they attend generally have lower standardized test scores. A study, Arts and Social-Emotional Learning (ASEL), provided training for 44 elementary school administrators serving high-needs students. Through a theoretical framework of social-emotional and brain-based learning, participating administrators received 40 hours of professional development that supported them in creating safe classroom learning environments to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration. The research may provide insights to assist school and district leaders to provide all students with equitable access to the arts and social-emotional learning.

Article

Transformational School Leadership to Dismantle Inequitable Systems  

Deirdra Preis

A key reason for the failure of U.S. school leaders to challenge systems of inequity is the lack of exposure to the theory and skill development needed to manage the resistance and political challenges that inevitably occur when interrogating unjust traditions of practice. As preparation programs aim to improve their candidates’ future success in addressing inequitable educational access, it is critical that they develop in their students the self-efficacy around relational practices and strategies needed to manage the micropolitics of transformative work. Examining how transformative K–12 school leaders effectively challenge structural inequities and manage to sustain their leadership positions during turbulent times can help to inform such curricular and instructional revisions. Some of the key practices identified by successful transformative K–12 leaders include engaging in reflection around their positionality, developing racial literacy, effectively facilitating shared visions and collective responsibility for social justice advocacy, building the capacity of stakeholders, developing critical alliances through transparent and authentic community involvement, and participating in supportive professional peer networks that offer ongoing reflection, study, and support. By providing such content and skill practice, and ensuring that instruction and mentoring are provided by faculty who are experienced in transformative leadership, leader candidates can be better prepared for the realities of this challenging work, increasing the likelihood that they will act transformatively upon assuming school leadership roles.

Article

The Global Response of Universities and Colleges to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Their Post-Pandemic Futures  

Gwilym Croucher

For universities and colleges around the world the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption. The pandemic created challenges and possibilities, as well as amplifying existing trends for higher education institutions. The initial pandemic-related disruption affected universities and their students in many countries and had widespread effects on their operations and teaching. In particular, the temporary closure of campuses had implications for the “on campus” experience, and the closure of inter- and intra-national borders reshaped patterns of the international movement of students. The widespread and rapid shift to online education showed possibilities and limitations for technology-enhanced learning. In addition, the pandemic had an impact on government priorities for funding higher education when many were faced with unprecedented fiscal pressures, leading to funding reductions for some universities.

Article

Race and Institutional Effectiveness in Higher Education  

Karen T. Jackson

Race influences our approaches to developing and defining measures of effectiveness in higher education. Identification of gaps in processes from different race perspectives is imperative for goal alignment and mission success. Institutional structural decisions such as recruitment of faculty, staff, and students; hiring of faculty and staff; performance measures for faculty and staff; decisions about fund allocation; and choices made during strategic planning each influence and define the implementation of programs and interpretation of policies, and ultimately affect student achievement. These decisions are all driven by race-based expectations. Data used in institutional effectiveness can decrease the power of minority groups, and institutional practices can create inequitable environments by reinforcing narratives and privileges of one group above all others. Using collective and collaborative systems to gather data and make sense of data from different race-based perspectives to call attention to equity gaps and to understand problems and what is contributing to inequities are ways to address issues of race that influence institutional effectiveness in higher education.

Article

Systemic Supports for Antiracist Practice in Montessori Classrooms  

Whitney M. Hegseth

When considering how to (re)build educational systems for equity, one might explore the potential of a system’s supports to facilitate changes in perceptions and pedagogy in classrooms, so that both become increasingly antiracist. A disciplinary incident in a Montessori elementary classroom in Washington, DC helps illustrate how the Montessori system’s educational infrastructure supports teachers in (re)framing problems and solutions in their classrooms. The infrastructure that supports such (re)framing includes (a) teacher training; (b) system standards around class size and composition; and (c) system guidance around community relations, paired with standards around the structure of the school day. Though the Montessori system is not yet an antiracist system, its highly elaborate infrastructure already supports a transformation in perception and pedagogy for Montessori teachers. This existing infrastructure, then, has potential to help Montessori teachers and schools move toward increasingly antiracist practice. Exploring such synergy between infrastructure and antiracist practice may help the Montessori system, and other educational systems, in their efforts to (re)design system supports to redress long-standing inequities in schools and society.

Article

Governance in Higher Education  

Jung C. Shin and Glen A. Jones

Governance has become a commonly used and studied concept within the scholarship of higher education, in large part because the term is defined broadly to include the relationships between institutions and the state, the development of system-level policies and the influence of external stakeholders, as well as institutional decision-making arrangements and structures. The concept is therefore understood as involving both multiple levels of power and authority and multiple agents and actors. It has increasingly been used as an umbrella concept in the analysis of major policy changes and reforms that are central to the study of higher education, including funding, quality assurance, and accountability. Neoliberalism and the adoption of New Public Management have transformed the governance structures and arrangements within many systems by valorizing the role of markets, strengthening the role of institutional managers as the state-centered systems decentralize elements of authority, focusing attention on institutional performance measures, and linking performance to state funding mechanisms. Government coordination of higher education has become increasing complex given the development of multiple institutional types (institutional diversity) and the positioning of higher education as a core component of national research and innovation systems. In many systems, coordination now includes multiple agencies. Institution-level governance has also been transformed in many jurisdictions with structural arrangements that reinforce the importance of central management operating under the oversight of a corporate board representing external interests and stakeholders. There has been a general decline in the influence and authority associated with traditional collegial decision processes. Research has highlighted challenges related to the understanding of governance effectiveness and the relationship between governance reform and institutional performance. There has also been an increasing interest in comparative international scholarship to identify common trends, although there is also an increasing recognition of how governance has been influenced by differences in the history, traditions, and sociopolitical contexts of national systems. A multitude of issues are deserving of greater attention within governance scholarship, including the influence of major political shifts within national governments, international rankings, and the quest for the improvement of institutional performance on system- and institution-level governance.

Article

Empowering Policies and Practices for Teen Mothers  

Crystal Machado and Wenxi Schwab

Early pregnancy is a global issue that occurs in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. Although the teen birth rate in the United States, which is high on the Human Development Index (HDI), has been declining since 1991, it continues to be substantially higher than that of other Western industrialized nations. For countries that are lower on the HDI, the teen birth rate is higher, partly because early marriages, pregnancy rates, and infant mortality rates are higher and more common in these regions. Except for some influential articles written by scholars in the Global south, much of the scholarship related to early pregnancy has been written by those in the Global north. Nevertheless, analysis of available scholarly literature in English confirms that several sociocultural factors—child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence/dating violence, family-related factors, poverty, early marriages, and rurality—lead to early pregnancy and/or school dropout. Although pregnancy can occasionally increase pregnant and parenting teens’ desire to persevere, the scholarly literature confirms that the majority need support to overcome the short- and long-term ramifications associated with early motherhood, such as stigma, expulsion and criminal charges, segregation, transition, strain and struggle, depression, children with behavioral problems, and financial instability. Based on the availability of human and financial resources, educators can use U.S.-based illustrative examples, with context-specific modification, to empower this marginalized group. Providing pregnant and parenting teen mothers with thoughtfully developed context-specific school and community-based programs has the potential to promote resilience, persistence, and a positive attitude toward degree completion. Schools that do not have access to federal, state, and locally funded programs can help teen moms thrive in the new and uncharted territory with inclusive community or school-driven policies and procedures such as the use of early warning systems (EWS) that generate data for academic interventions, mentoring, counseling, health care, and day care for young children.

Article

Evangelical Christian School Movement  

Vance Everett Nichols

Education founded on belief in Jesus Christ and grounded in the teachings of the Scriptures began in the 1st century. In the ensuing two millennia, Christ-centric forms of education proliferated, with three distinguishable movements arising during that time: The Early Church Christian Schools period (70-590 ce), The Reformation Christian Schools period (1517-1850), and The Associated Christian Schools period (1950-present). Nearly 1,000 years after the conclusion of the first movement, the second movement was birthed, in Europe. Impacted by leading theologians and academics who preceded him, such as John Wycliffe, John Huss, and William Tyndale, Martin Luther led a seismic theological and educational paradigm shift that transformed much of how the Western world thought, with biblically based education as a centerpiece. A hundred years after the end of the second movement, the present movement arose, emerging in the United States. Although evangelical Christian schools have faced significant challenges in the early years of the 21st century—including inconsistent school leadership, economic pressures and uncertainty, accelerating cultural changes, the global COVID-19 pandemic, repetitive inaction at the school-site level to deal with organizational dangers and warning signs, a subsequent crisis of school closures in the United States, wars and civil unrest in diverse places (including the Russian invasion of Ukraine), and violence and repeated threats of violence aimed specifically against Christian schools on campuses outside of North America (particularly in regions of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East)—the movement has nevertheless remained resilient and influential in both the United States and abroad.