Why now? Why us? Because leadership matters
From the ACSA President, Linda Kaminski
June 29, 2020
Usually at this time of year we would reminisce about the highlights of the school year, remembering the first day of classes and the annual culmination with mortar boards thrown in the air. We all know, however, that this year is different. In just a few short months, we experienced a pandemic and then a historic reaction to police brutality and systemic racism. We end this year facing the need for serious reflection and action to end inequities in our educational system. What will be our response? Do we believe that leadership matters? Do we even see the inequities? Leaders who have experienced racial/ethnic inequities in their own journey to leadership are often more likely to recognize them in our schools. Leaders who have not experienced such inequities may struggle to notice them. Many years ago, I visited a school known for its excellent educational instruction. Observing one class for two hours, I heard rigorous, thoughtful analysis of the topic under discussion and saw many engaged students, hands held high in the air, eager to participate in the class discussion. All six Black students in the class had their hands raised; not one was called on. Did we not see them? In another district, one middle school was located in the wealthier section of town and another in the poorer section. Black students attended both schools but achieved at a higher level in the wealthier school. All students attended the same high school. By the end of the first semester, however, Black students from both the wealthier school and the poorer school received similar low grades. What had happened? What had not happened that should have? As leaders, it sometimes feels like we face the daunting task of dealing with day-to-day issues and now are being called to do even more. That is true. We are all being called to look more deeply at our schools and districts to address inequities that previously were unnoticed and unaddressed. I am convinced, however, that we can look anew at ourselves, our schools, our districts, and, most importantly, our students. We can look to see more clearly the challenges Black and other underserved students face. We can listen to our students in deep conversations to understand better what they experience. We can hear their stories and allow our heart and conscience to be moved to action. Why now? Because our students’ futures are unfolding now.  Why us? Because who else is better positioned to make a difference in students’ lives? Why? Because Leadership Matters.
Contact Us

© 2020 Association of California School Administrators
ACSA EdCal logo.
Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators