White principals examine power, privilege, and identity : the challenge of leading for equity Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/47429d20t

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  • The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the experience of white principals in understanding their white identity, privilege, and power as they worked to implement socially-just and culturally proficient schools. The findings offer insights into the following questions: 1) How do white school leaders view white identity and the impact, if any, it has on their leadership? 2) How do white school leaders relate to students of color, their parents, and the community? 3) In what ways do white school leaders engage in race talk and address issues of white identity, privilege, and power? 4) What challenges do white school leaders experience as they attempt to end racism in their schools? The study was set in a mostly white suburban school district in the Pacific Northwest. It involved three male and two female white principals who were previously engaged in equity training. Primary data sources included two individual interviews and two focus group sessions which were audiotaped and transcribed. Data analysis involved several coding cycles to identify themes related to the research questions. The analyses indicated the white principals engaged in a number of actions which demonstrated leadership focused on becoming culturally proficient. The knowledge and understanding principals gained in the equity training contributed to their understanding of white privilege and white identity. Their ability to name this understanding while interacting with parents and students of color helped to build relationships and created allies in their work. Due to their perceived lack of skill and knowledge related to implementing equity efforts around cultural competence, principals shared a hesitancy to lead staff into meaningful race talk and other work around white identity, privilege, and power. Challenges also arose as principals worked to manage competing district initiatives, limited staff training time, and the need for support.
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