Teacher Leaders as Equity-Centered Change Agents: Exploring the Conditions that Influence Navigating Change to Promote Educational Equity

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teacher leadership, educational change, equity, school culture, school improvement

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As inequities continue to be present for students of color, for English-language learners, for students from low-income households, for LGBTQ students and for students with disabilities, schools must find ways to increase achievement and high expectations for all students. Although not explored thoroughly in the research literature, teacher leaders (TLs) can be key change agents in developing more equitable schools. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the work of equity-centered TLs who facilitated professional learning on their campuses in relation to equity issues. Particularly, this study looked at the facilitators and inhibitors for TLs spearheading change and how they navigate these conditions. Data sources included reflection journals, class assignments and interviews. Findings indicate that TLs facilitating change for equity in schools with unsupportive conditions (i.e. fear, lack of principal support) found these conditions served as barriers for teachers to address inequities. These TLs had to put equity on hold and focus on building more supportive conditions. Teacher leaders in schools with supportive conditions (i.e. collegiality, principal support) found that these conditions promoted a focus on equity and led to teacher empowerment and greater educational equity. This study has implications for leadership preparation, professional development and educational change.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Professional Development in Education, v. 40, issue 4, p. 576-596