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Educational Leadership and Racism: A Narrative Inquiry into Second-Generation Segregation


by Jeffrey Brooks, Noelle Witherspoon Arnold & Melanie C. Brooks — 2013

Background/Context: In-school racial segregation, also called second-generation segregation, is a social dynamic that is manifest in different and complicated ways in schoolhouses across the United States. This study sought to investigate how building-level leadership facilitates or impedes the practice of racial equity in an urban high school, from teachers’ and administrators’ perspectives.

Purpose: The primary purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate how educational leaders perceive and influence second-generation in urban secondary schools.

Research Design: As the purpose of the study was to ascertain leaders’ perspectives, we followed a dialogic methodological approach used in studies seeking to investigate similar perceptual phenomena. This methodology emphasizes both personal narrative and dialogue. This study took place in a single urban high school in the Southeastern United States over the course of two academic years.

Conclusions/Recommendations: The study revealed that both formal and informal leadership influenced second-generation segregation in the school. The authors conclude with recommendations for improving future research focusing on the topic and with recommendations for improved practice.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 11, 2013, p. 1-27
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17182, Date Accessed: 12/16/2017 3:49:34 PM

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About the Author
  • Jeffrey Brooks
    University of Idaho
    E-mail Author
    JEFFREY S. BROOKS is Professor and Chair of the Department of Leadership & Counseling at the University of Idaho. He is a J. William Fulbright Senior Scholar alumnus who has conducted studies in the United States and the Philippines. His research focuses broadly on educational leadership, and he examines the way leaders influence (and are influenced by) dynamics such as racism, globalization, social justice and school reform. Dr. Brooks is author of The Dark Side of School Reform: Teaching in the Space between Reality and Utopia (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), and Black School, White School: Racism and Educational (Mis)leadership (Teachers College Press, 2012). He is also co-editor of the volumes What Every Principal Needs to Know to Create Equitable and Excellent Schools (Teachers College Press, 2012), Confronting Racism in Higher Education: Problems and Possibilities for Fighting Ignorance, Bigotry and Isolation (Information Age Publishing, 2012) and Anti-Racist School Leadership: Toward Equity in Education for America’s Students (Information Age Publishing, 2012). Dr. Brooks is Series Editor for the Educational Leadership for Social Justice Book series (Information Age Publishing).
  • Noelle Arnold
    University of Missouri
    E-mail Author
    NOELLE WITHERSPOON ARNOLD is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri. Prior to that appointment, she taught elementary school, and served as an administrator at the district and state level. Her research interests include religion and spirituality in education, leadership for social justice and advocacy, leadership socialization, womanist and feminist research methodologies, and the intersection of race and gender in educational leadership. Noelle’s most recent articles have appeared in the International Journal of Leadership in Education, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, The Journal of Educational Administration History, Equity and Excellence in Education, The Journal of Negro Education, Teachers College Record, and the Journal of Educational Administration.
  • Melanie Brooks
    University of Idaho
    E-mail Author
    MELANIE C. BROOKS is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Leadership and Counseling at the University of Idaho. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and holds a Ph.D. in Socio-cultural International Development Education Studies from Florida State University. Dr. Brooks began her career as a high school teacher and a librarian. She also has experience coordinating international education programs for students and teachers. She has conducted research in Egypt, Thailand, the Philippines and the United States using sociological theories as a way to understand issues related to religion and conflict in education. Her work is published in Educational Policy, Etc: A Review of General Semantics, International Journal of Urban Educational Leadership and has forthcoming articles in Religion & Education, Teachers College Record, Planning and Changing, and Educational Management Administration & Leadership.
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