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School Leadership: Implicit Bias and Social Justice
Handbook on Promoting Social Justice in Education
Format: Book Chapter
Publication Year: 2019
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Place of Publication: Cham
Pages: 1 - 26
Source ID: shanti-sources-68441
Abstract: School leaders are tasked with creating equitable and inclusive learning environments for all students. Social justice reflects the mindset that inequities are not natural or acceptable, as such injustices stemming from implicit bias are inherently rejected from being the norm by social justice leaders. School leadership that embodies a social justice orientation can work to reduce and remediate the impact of implicit bias on students in schools through relationships, flexibility, and morality – all of which are embodied in several practical strategies used by school leaders working to lessen the effects of implicit bias in their schools. Implicit bias can lead to detriments to academics through teacher expectations, teacher traits, curricular bias, and student access; inequitable discipline through the determination of misbehaviors, reactions to behaviors, and behavioral outcomes; and to long-term deficits as evidenced by the school-to-prison pipeline. Fortunately, school leaders can use strategies that involve decision-making supports, information building, contact between different groups, and mindful thinking to inhibit the impact of implicit bias on students in their schools. Leadership for social justice can support the reduction of the impact of implicit bias in schools through a transformative interpretation of social justice that is conscious of monolithic or close-minded, mental models and common problems associated with social justice orientations such as “get-it-ness,” arguing, suffering, and clique-ing. The transformative lens to social justice focuses leaders on use of relationships, flexibility, and morality to create the positive change needed for school equity and inclusivity. Healthy relationships foster positive interactions that can help to overcome deficit thinking. Flexibility refers to the ability of leaders to use multiple orientations to make inclusive decisions. Morality enables leaders to work with empathy that goes beyond any personal views of victimization toward an anti-oppression growth mindset. Relationships, flexibility, and morality paired with decision-making supports, information building, intergroup contact, and mindfulness create a conceptual framework for informed practice where school leaders for social justice can work under transformative practices with evidence-based strategies to reduce the impact of implicit bias on students in K-12 schools.