NATIONAL FORUM OF APPLIED EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNALVOLUME 26, NUMBERS 1 & 2, 2013Social Justice Advocacy Competency: A ...
SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERYou are the principal of a mid...
SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERindividualized assessment of g...
SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERWe were invited to present our...
SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERsecond language]; bullying; se...
SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERIn the next phase of our work ...
SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERMurphy, J. (2002), “Reculturin...
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Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (Since 1982) Global Website: www.nationalforum.com

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Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (Since 1982) Global Website: www.nationalforum.com

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Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (Since 1982) Global Website: www.nationalforum.com

  1. 1. NATIONAL FORUM OF APPLIED EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNALVOLUME 26, NUMBERS 1 & 2, 2013Social Justice Advocacy Competency: A Step on the Journey toDevelop an Analytic Instrument to Pinpoint Development and BuildCapacity in 21stCentury School LeadersShirley Marie McCarther, EdDAssistant ProfessorDonna M. Davis, PhDAssociate ProfessorJohanna Nilsson, PhDAssociate ProfessorJacob Marszalek, PhDAssociate ProfessorCarolyn Barber, PhDAssistant ProfessorUniversity Of Missouri-Kansas City_____________________________________________________________________________AbstractIn this article, the authors document their progress to advance the development of an analyticinstrument for use in the preparation of school leaders, counselors, and educational professionalsin the 21stcentury. To begin they acknowledge the need for social justice advocacy in schoolleaders; highlight characteristics and qualities of social justice advocates; identify questionsundergirding their investigation; provide an overview of development of the instrument to date;and share their experiences piloting sample survey items at a national conference of educationaladministration preparation professionals. They conclude with a discussion of implications forschool leader, counselor, and teacher preparation programs and offer next steps on their journeyto develop an analytic leader-specific advocacy assessment tool that will allow them toquantitatively measure social justice advocacy competencies and make informedrecommendations to build capacity in emerging 21stCentury school leaders.Keywords: social justice; advocacy; leadership; competency; dispositions; and assessmenttools.______________________________________________________________________________94
  2. 2. SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERYou are the principal of a middle school in a mid-size urban community situated in theheart of the nation. One day the president of the local chamber of commerce calls to tellyou the membership received an anonymous donation of a million dollars to equip thenew computer technical wing on the middle school campus. Just last night, the boardvoted to endorse the contribution. However, there is one stipulation. The gift iscontingent on your agreement to require all students attending the middle school to sign azero-tolerance pledge committing not to date outside their ethnic background and abstainfrom using alcohol, tobacco, and drugs until graduation from high school. What do yousay? (Anonymous Session Participant, August, 2012)Nestled in the corner of a plush hotel ballroom at a big round table are twenty professorsof higher education. As the PowerPoint presentation unfolds, all participants seem engaged –listening, commenting, and writing – informally responding to prompts on the screen. Theconversation is animated, with one comment stimulating another and sometimes multipleparticipants chime in at the same time. The discussion revolves around social justice advocacyand its pedagogy in school leader preparation programs. For the purpose of this study, we definesocial justice as ‘‘the fundamental valuing of fairness and equity in resources, rights, andtreatment for marginalized individuals and groups of people who do not share equal power insociety’’ (Nilsson as cited in Constantine, Hage, Kindaichi, & Bryant, 2007, p. 24). The scenariolisted above is from one of the session participants. We, the presenters, were at a nationalconference for school leaders to share our progress to advance the development of the SocialJustice Advocacy Scale (SJAS; Nilsson, Marszalek, Linnemeyer, Bahner, & Hansen, 2011) andthe Teacher Social Justice Advocacy Scale (TSJAS; Barazanji & Nilsson, 2009) into ananalytical instrument for use in the preparation of school leaders, counselors, and educationalprofessionals in the 21stcentury.This article reports on a collaborative investigation by five colleagues in two divisions ofa School of Education (SOE) in an urban serving university situated in the Midwest. Theresearch team consists of two professors in the division of Educational Leadership, Policy andFoundations and three who are in the division of Counseling and Educational Psychology. Themission, vision, and values of the SOE and the University actively encourage collaborationamong colleagues and so the team came together around shared concerns about the need to betterprepare our candidates to be socially just and educationally equitable school leaders, counselors,and administrators (Selsky & Parker, 2005; Obermeier & Brauckmann, 2010, Lauring &Selmer,2012, Shorr, Rothman, & Parks, 2001). Our efforts were launched with a funded project thatexplores the characteristics and behaviors of socially just teacher leaders, lead counselors,building principals, and district administrators.Purpose of the StudyThe goal of our work is to develop a diagnostic models instrument approach for use in theeducation of school leaders for 21stcentury schools. We investigate patterns of fulfillment (oraccomplishment) that discern knowledge, skills, and dispositions which represent social justiceadvocacy models (attitudes of behaviors). The ability to identify models suggests the capacity for95
  3. 3. SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERindividualized assessment of growth and development of new systems and strategies to assist inthis area. Two central considerations guide our inquiry:• What are the characteristics of social justice advocates?• How can school leaders foster growth and development of social justice advocates?Thus, the purpose of the overall research project is to determine whether and/or how schoolleaders can identify characteristics and traits of social justice advocates, and this paper outlinesthe preliminary steps we undertook to gather information from school leaders about the kinds ofquestions and modes of inquiry we might pursue.Context within the LiteratureIn recent research related to educational leadership for social justice, McKenzie, et al.(2007) recommend restructuring leader preparation programs to equip candidates to be effectivesocial justice educational leaders. Leaders of 21stcentury schools must develop the capacity tolead students, faculty, and the school community across all sectors of the diversity spectrum,including race, ethnicity, language, gender, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, economic/social classboundaries and other hegemonic societal practices. Practitioners in the field look to preparationprograms to empower them to address these complex issues (Capper, Theoharis, & Sebastain,2006). However, some researchers suggest a lack of literature “that focuses on equity issueswithin administrator-preparation programs (Brown, 2004; Bell, Jones, & Johnson, 2002; Lyman& Villani, 2002; Marshall, 2004; Rapp, 2002; Rusch, 2004). Compounding the issue is theabsence in the literature of social justice leader advocacy appraisal tools. This disparity comes ata critical juncture in urban education; a time when students success calls for the effective schoolleader to go beyond the brick and mortar of the schoolhouse out into the neighborhood, thecommunity, and work in conjunction with the social, political, and business community toaccelerate societal change for all students. Waite, Nelson, and Guajardo (2007) assert thefollowing:A difficulty for us, as with any program of educational administration, especially thoseconcerned with inculcating a sense of social justice and responsibility in their students,revolves around the ontological. Social responsibility is really an ontological stance.“What is the nature of the world and my role within it?” (p. 219)When we consider the kinds of scenarios outlined above, where school leaders are confrontedwith ethical decision-making that affects everyone in the school building and perhaps thecommunity, the question emerges: What are the tools to assist educators in this?MethodProcedure96
  4. 4. SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERWe were invited to present our initial work on social justice advocacy assessment at anational conference of professors of educational leadership. The session consisted of anoverview of the need for the development of diagnostic tools for the assessment of social justiceadvocacy after which participants in the session explored sample models from the preliminarywork and engaged in dialogue and discussion of the potential implications of the work for schoolleaders and preparation programs.ParticipantsThere were 18 participants in the session. All reported they worked in higher educationinstitutions, were involved in the preparation of school leaders, lead counselors, or districtadministrators, and were tenured or tenure-track professors. They represented fourteen differentinstitutions. Twelve participants were male (8 Caucasian; 2 Latino; 1 African American; and 1Asian) and six were female (4 Caucasian; 1 African American; and 1 Asian). No otherdemographic or identifying information was collected during the informal conferencepresentation session. The session lasted for 55 minutes.Research Questions AddressedFor purposes of the larger study, we determined that first we needed to pilot the centralquestion undergirding the investigation and identified the following preliminary questions for theconference workshop session:• What are the characteristics of social justice advocates?• How can school leaders foster growth and development of social justice advocates?• If you were interviewing a teacher candidate for your building and wanted to assess theircommitment to social justice, what question(s) would you ask?• What are the implications of this work for school leaders and preparation programs?FindingsEmerging Findings: What Participants SaidThe participants in this study perceived characteristics of social justice advocates insimilar ways. They listed the following attitudes as observable traits: caring; nurturing; empathy;sensitivity to injustice; and behaviors, including the courage to initiate action; willingness to goat it alone; and relentless commitment to all children. Responses to the question about fosteringgrowth and development of social justice advocates drew less specific answers. There were noprecise actions or behaviors discussed; rather, participants offered examples of class lessons andactivities; identified role models; and highlighted course readings and projects.The third question regarding interview questions for a perspective teacher appeared toprovoke much enthusiasm from the participants. There was concurrence that presenting theinterviewee with a scenario to respond to was the preferred format for obtaining the data soughtfrom the prospective teacher. In addition to the scenario shared earlier, other examples were builtaround a range of topics including differentiated teaching strategies; language [English as a97
  5. 5. SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERsecond language]; bullying; sexual orientation; cliques; cyber bullying; poverty; prejudice; andprivilege.The final question about implications posed in the conference session also raised muchdialogue and discussion. Participants overwhelmingly expressed the need for a the developmentof analytic tools to support the assessment of social justice advocacy in school leadershighlighting the utility of such in screening candidates for entry into the program; placement anddevelopment of candidates with customized educational program plans based on diagnosticinformation obtained from an assessment instrument; and benchmarking progress, growth, anddevelopment of candidates as the matriculate in leader preparation programs.Potential Implication of Learnings from the StudyParticipants in this study expressed the belief that school leader preparation programsneed diagnostic tools to support the social justice advocacy development of emerging leaders intheir programs. Their responses align with the sentiments expressed by Waite et al. (2007) asthey proclaim the situation encountered by many professors of educational leadershippreparation programs today:We believe our students must come to understand the particular responsibilityeducational leaders have to create a more just and equitable society. Coming to thisunderstanding is easier with some students than others. Clearly, our work would besimplified if we admitted students who already identified a social justice orientation.However, like other programs, and like the public schools, we must accept students asthey present themselves to us; to do otherwise would belie our role as a public institution.(p. 219)Further, participants in this study iterated the shared belief that teacher and counselorpreparation programs would also benefit from the development of assessment instruments tosupport the education and training of teacher and counselor candidates in preparatory programs.These views are aligned with leading research in the field as evidenced by McKenzie, et al.(2007) who offer “guidance for restructuring educational leadership preparation programs to helpprepare principals and school administrators for social justice advocacy” (p. 112). Their specificstructure and content proposals are consistent with the highly acclaimed teacher educationpreparation program literature of Darling-Hammond (2002), French (2002), McDonald (2002),Murphy (2001 & 2002), and others.Thus, it appears at this early stage in the development of our work, we have cause to behopeful. Perhaps there is a basis to believe we have the ability to identify models of behaviorsand attitudes for social justice advocacy. Further, our session with professors of educationalleadership preparation programs revealed that there may be the capacity for individualizedassessment of growth and development in social justice advocacy learners and practitioners, aswell as the possibility of the development of new systems and strategies to assist in this area.Projected Next Steps in Our Research98
  6. 6. SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERIn the next phase of our work we plan to conduct a series of focus groups to refine scaleitems; beta test survey within the School of Education to validate (pre-service and currentteachers; pre-service and current school leaders); have subject-matter experts review items;distribute the revised instrument more widely; and follow-up with more in-depth interviews togain a deeper understanding of complex themes.We believe the development of a leader-specific advocacy assessment tool will fill animportant need for school leader preparation programs that will allow them to quantitativelymeasure social justice advocacy competencies and make informed recommendations for thegrowth and development of 21stCentury school leader candidates and practitioners to becomeactive agents for change in the communities they serve.ReferencesBarazanji, D., & Nilsson, J. E. (2009). Social justice advocacy among teachers: Scaledevelopment and validity analysis. Poster presentation at the annual convention of theAmerican Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.Bell, G. C., Jones, E. B., & Johnson, J. F. (2002). School reform: Equal expectations on anuneven playing field. Journal of School Leadership, 12(3), 317-336.Brown, K. M. (2004). Leadership for social justice and equity: Weaving a transformativeframework and pedagogy. Educational Administration Quarterly, 40(1), 79-110.Capper, C. A., Theoharis, G., & Sebastain, J. (2006). Toward a framework for preparing leadersfor social justice. Journal of Educational Administration, 44(3), 209-224.Constantine, M. G., Hage, S. H., Kindaichi, M. M., & Bryant, R. M. (2007). Social justice andmulticultural issues: Implications for the practice and training of counselors andcounseling psychologists. Journal of Counseling & Development, 85(1), 24-29.Darling-Hammond, L. (2002). Learning to teach for social justice. In L. Darling-Hammond, J.French, & S. P. Garcia-Lopez (Eds.), Learning to teach for social justice (Section 3,Chapter 8). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.French, J. (2002). Idealism meets reality. In L. Darling-Hammond, J. French, & S. P. Garcia-Lopez (Eds.), Learning to teach for social justice (pp. 59-65). New York, NY: TeachersCollege Press.Lauring, J., & Selmer, J. (2012), Knowledge sharing in diverse organisations. Human ResourceManagement Journal, 22(1), 89-105. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-8583.2010.00158.xLyman, L. L., & Villani, C. J. (2002). The complexity of poverty: A missing component ofeducational leadership programs. The Journal of School Leadership, 12(3), 246-280.Marshall, C. (Ed.). (2004). Social justice challenges to educational administration (Specialissue). Educational Administration Quarterly, 40(1), 3-13.McDonald, M. A. (2002). The integration of social justice in teacher education dimensions ofprospective teachers’ opportunities to learn. Journal of Teacher Education, 56(5), 418-435.McKenzie, K. B., Christman, D. E., Hernandez, F., Fierro, E., Capper, C. A., Dantley, M., …Scherich, J. J. (2007). From the field: A proposal for educational leaders for socialjustice. Educational Administration Quarterly February, 44(1) 11-138.Murphy, J. (2001), “The changing face of leadership preparation,” The School Administrator,58(10), 14-17.99
  7. 7. SHIRLEY MARIE MCCARTHER, DONNA M. DAVIS, JOHANNA NILSSON,JACOB MARSZALEK, and CAROLYN BARBERMurphy, J. (2002), “Reculturing the profession of educational leadership: new blueprints,”Educational Administration Quarterly, 38(2), 176-91.Nilsson, J. E., Marszalek, J., Linnemeyer, R., Bahner, A., & Hansen, M. L. (2011). Developmentand assessment of the Social Issues Advocacy Scale. Educational and PsychologicalMeasurement, 71(1), 258-275.Obermeier, U., & Brauckmann, H. (in press). Interdisciplinary patterns of a university:Investigating collaboration using co-publication network analysis. Retrieved fromarXiv preprint arXiv,1003, 4131.Rapp, D. (2002). Social justice and the importance of rebellious imaginations. Journal of SchoolLeadership, 12(3), 226-245.Rusch, E. A. (2004). Gender and race in leadership preparation: A constrained discourseEducational Administration Quarterly, 40(1), 14-46.Selsky, J. W., & Parker, B. (2005). Cross-sector partnerships to address social issues: Challengesto theory and practice. Journal of Management, 31(6), 849-873.Shorr, L., Rothman, N., & Parks, S. (2001). Understanding privilege as loss: Community-Basededucation at Temple University. In Metropolitan Universities: An International Forum12(4), 50-65.Waite, D., Nelson, S. W., & Guajardo, M. (2007). Teaching and leadership for social justice andsocial responsibility: Home is where the struggle starts. Journal of EducationalAdministration and Foundations, 18(1 & 2), 200-223.AuthorsShirley Marie McCarther, Ed. D. is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy, andFoundations at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri.Donna M. Davis, Ph. D. is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy, andFoundations at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri.Johanna Nilsson, Ph. D. is Associate Professor of Counseling & Educational Psychology at theUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri.Jacob Marszalek, Ph. D. is Associate Professor of Counseling & Educational Psychology at theUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MissouriCarolyn Barber, Ph. D. is Assistant Professor of Counseling & Educational Psychology at theUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri.100

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