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Why This Book?

Educational policymaking today is dominated by market-driven policies that are largely designed to be color-evasive, ignoring the reality of racism in education. Therefore, one objective of this book is to discuss how this color-evasive and market-driven policy context affects school administrators’ leadership practices. This book centers its attention on school leaders because they are the ones who are ultimately on the front line helping their school community make sense of the policies they are confronted with implementing. Our book aims to equip school leaders with the tools to question whether a policy explicitly addresses racism in schooling or fails to do so because it is inherently color-evasive. We provide examples of how leaders can encourage their school community to respond in a manner that instead promotes racial equity.

We chose the title Anti-Racist Educational Leadership and Policy: Addressing Racism in Public Education because educational leaders should not overlook the current color-evasive, market-oriented educational policy agenda that is largely responsible for the racial inequities that exist in schools today. Indeed, for decades policies at the federal, state, and local levels were created to lead people to believe that justice is racially neutral, but those individuals who created these policies are in fact fully aware of their racial implications (Rothstein, 2017). Instead, educational leaders should be cognizant of the realities of racial injustice in education and have a willingness to truly acknowledge how these policies can negatively impact how they lead. Furthermore, our book helps educational leaders understand how policies that are both color-evasive and market-driven in design are a form of neoliberalism that can potentially unravel any efforts they make as leaders alongside their school and/or district community to achieve racial equity. We emphasize how important it is for educational leaders to use an anti-racist lens to not only anticipate but also counter color-evasive, market-driven policies, and provide strategies for how to do so. Therefore, the contributions to the field this book aims to accomplish are as follows:

  • 1. Increase educational leaders’ racial awareness. Educational leaders must first expand their foundational awareness of how racism in education transpires before they can fully learn how to critically examine educational policies that are conceivably color-evasive and market-driven. Hence, we first review concepts key to the historical, institutional, structural, and political underpinnings of racism in education.
  • 2. Demystify the influence of the current color-evasive, market-driven educational policy context. Most of the policies educational leaders encounter in today’s educational policy context are market-based and by default will unfortunately pressure them to be color-evasive in their leadership practices. Therefore, throughout the book we focus on high-profile educational policy issues as case studies to discuss how each issue’s color-evasive and market-driven agenda, if implemented without question, can compromise much of the work educational leaders do to advance racial equity.
  • 3. Provide anti-racist tools for navigating the policy process. We conclude the book by offering a protocol for anti-racist policy decision-making that both educational leaders and policymakers can use to inform their practices, especially when confronting color-evasive, market-driven policies.
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