Righting past wrongs: A superintendent’s social justice leadership for dual language education along the U.S.-Mexico border

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Abstract

The role of superintendents in adopting and developing dual language education and other equity-oriented reforms that support the unique needs of Latina/o emergent bilinguals is a relatively unexplored area in educational leadership and policy research. Drawing upon theories of social justice leadership, this article examines how one superintendent in the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) engaged in leadership to address injustices against Mexican and Mexican-American emergent bilinguals through the implementation of district-wide dual language education. EPISD provided a strategic site for this study because the previous superintendent and administration were part of a large-scale cheating scandal that “disappeared” hundreds of Mexican and Mexican-American students. This study highlights the important role of the superintendent in supporting equity-oriented school reforms such as dual language education, identifies specific actions and values pertinent to social justice leadership at the district level, and describes the ways leaders can take advantage of political opportunities, frame educational injustices in ways that mobilize key stakeholders, and utilize networks and grassroots movements for social justice means. The article concludes with implications for future research.

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How to Cite
DeMatthews, D., Izquierdo, E., & Knight, D. S. (2017). Righting past wrongs: A superintendent’s social justice leadership for dual language education along the U.S.-Mexico border. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 1. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2436
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Author Biographies

David DeMatthews, University of Texas at El Paso

David DeMatthews is an assistant professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso. A former high school teacher and school administrator in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., he has published on topics such as school leadership, urban education, special education, bilingual education, and social justice.

Elena Izquierdo, University of Texas at El Paso

Elena Izquierdo is an associate professor of Teacher Education in the College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her research interests focus on biliteracy, dual language, and transforming schools/districts for English language learner (ELL) success. She works with many teachers, principals, administrators and school board members in shaping the schooling trajectory of ELLs. 

David S. Knight, University of Texas at El Paso

David S. Knight is an assistant research professor at the University of Texas at El Paso Center for Education Research and Policy Studies. His work focuses on equity in school finance and resource allocation, educator labor markets, and cost-effectiveness analysis. He received his PhD in urban education policy and MA in economics from the University of Southern California and bachelor’s degrees in economics and anthropology from the University of Kansas.