There is a $102 million nationwide initiative in place to build a “pipeline of equity-focused K-12 school principals.”
Instead of focusing on principals with strong educational goals, a group of organizations are seeking to fill the shortages in public school workers with people who will focus on social justice issues.
“At a time when our nation is grappling with profound questions of social injustice, weaving the principles of equity into school leadership is one of the most powerful levers we have to address issues of educational access and outcomes,” said Dr. Donna Elder, associate dean of National University’s Sanford College of Education, in a press release about the pipeline. “This work is about helping aspiring school leaders build the equity mindset to understand systemic barriers facing students and communities—and design the teams and supports needed to ensure every learner’s needs are met.”
In the press release about joining the pipeline effort, National University’s Sanford College of Education said that “with funding from Wallace Foundation, the five-year Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative will support eight large and socio-economically diverse school districts across the country, including California’s Fresno Unified School District.”
So far, the money is also being poured into schools in Baltimore, Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; Washington, DC; Jefferson County, Kentucky; Portland, Oregon; San Antonio; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The Wallace Foundation, which is spearheading the effort, says on their website that they are using “eight large school districts around the country” to “explore how to build pipelines that can produce school leaders capable of advancing their own district’s vision of equity. Through a series of independent research studies, the work of the eight districts is expected to generate useful insights for other districts.”
“Preparing school leaders to engage with and understand the unique history, demographics and aspirations of the people and communities they serve is essential for meeting the needs of the whole student,” said Dr. Robert Lee, dean of the Sanford College of Education at National University. “This is about building a community of practice of current and aspiring school leaders committed to integrating the principles of equity into the day-to-day work of leading a school.”