THE UNDER-REPRESENTATION OF MINORITIES IN SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS
Bowie State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
The education profession is lacking in minority leadership. These findings, as reported in the literature, are disconcerting; particularly since it is a profession that is otherwise dominated by minority females. The leadership plight of minorities in general and females in particular is even more devastating. However, the role of women in education has not always been neglected. In the 1920’s , at the rise for formal education, women were in control; organizing schools, designing courses, preparing lessons, recruiting both students and teachers, and gathering resources for effective instruction. The end of World War II precipitated the search for jobs for war veterans. Hence, men increased in the profession and assumed leadership positions based upon their roles in the military. A half century later, based on the world economy, and returning soldiers we are faced with the same issue.
A factor that contributed to the decline in African American leadership both males and females was desegregation of public schools during the 1950’s. Many former African American schools were closed because the facilities were inferior or because they were not in proximity to where the student populations were. In most cases, the African American School leaders were relegated to lower leadership roles or removed completely from leadership. Today, most minority school leaders are found in often blighted inner city areas. Their constituents have little or no influence within the power structure. Thus, these leaders are unable to make the significant changes necessary to improve the conditions of the communities they serve. Even leading under these conditions, minorities are still under-represented. The literature on minority school leadership is replete with causes for their under-representation. Also, suggested strategies are presented as corrective measures.
The purpose of the study is to highlight those factors that contribute to the under-representation of minorities in School Leadership positions and to offer solutions to an issue that has social and emotional implications for the teachers and academic achievement impact on students. The Mid-Atlantic region of the United States was used in a school district serving over 100,000 students and approximately 600 administrators and supervisors.
The theoretical framework is based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He purports that once basic needs are met, the human desire is to become Self-actualized. Financial rewards in education are limited. However, advancement in the hierarchy of the organization represents achievement and a reward for the commendable performance of one’s duties. Minorities, working collaboratively with there peers, regularly observe how they are overlooked for promotions . Rather than becoming self-actualized, and given the opportunity to engage in self-transcendency, minorities are forced to accept, “a dream deferred” mentality. Such injustice can cause psychological harm, poor physical health and high absenteeism. These factors significantly impact student achievement.
A multi-formatted short answer survey was used to collect data on under-representation of minorities in school leadership. These were 8 multiple choice, a completion question, and an essay question. Focused factors were familial obligations, gender bias, racial bias, and general health issues.
Keywords: under-representation, minorities, leadership.