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Title Addressing the marginalized student: the secondary principal's role in eliminating deficit thinking
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree EdD
Discipline/Department 1760
Degree Level dissertation
University/Publisher University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Abstract As federal mandates purport to improve the academic achievement of all students, the achievement gap between White students and their marginalized peers has not closed. The persistency of the gap raises the notion that the answer to addressing the achievement gap may not lie in policies or practices. The alternative then is to explore the practices of schools and educators, and the impact each has on students. More specifically, the belief system of those who work with students on a regular basis was the focus of this study. In education, deficit thinking is the practice of holding lower expectations for students with demographics that do not fit the traditional context of the school system. Deficit thinking equates the poor academic achievement of students from low-income and culturally and linguistically diverse communities with factors outside the control of the school. In essence, deficit thinking posits there is little the school can do to “fix” these students so it reverts to providing them with interventions to help them fit the context of the dominant school culture. The literature indicates that trying to “fix” students only further alienates them from the contemporary school setting by perpetuating deficit attitudes and practices toward students who are marginalized. Through a re-positioning of the self, school leaders help educators recognize the harmful effects of deficit thinking on students who are marginalized. This multiple-case study examined the practices and challenges of two secondary school leaders who work to eliminate deficit thinking practices and replace it with notions of a democratic education. Based on the findings, recommendations are made for school leaders to consider the use of deliberate dialogue to create inclusive schools that validate and create space for students who are marginalized. These are presented in an effort to eliminate the practices associated with deficit thinking.
Subjects/Keywords Deficit thinking; dialogue; tracking; inclusive; transformative leadership; case study; marginalizing; equity; education; Access
Contributors Shields, Carolyn M. (advisor); Shields, Carolyn M. (Committee Chair); Bresler, Liora (committee member); DeNicolo, Christina P. (committee member); Sloat, Linda (committee member)
Language en
Rights Copyright 2012 Joseph Anthony Simone
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:2142/31100
Repository uiuc
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-11-19
Grantor University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Issued Date 2012-05-22 00:27:50

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