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Now What? Confronting Uncomfortable Truths About Inequity in Schools

Now What? Confronting Uncomfortable Truths About Inequity in Schools
A Leadership Rubric for Action

Foreword by Delores B. Lindsey and Randall B. Lindsey

October 2022 | 144 pages | Corwin

Navigate barriers and take actional steps toward equity

The principles of Cultural Proficiency have guided our drive toward equitable schools for decades. Leaders who apply this framework to scrutinize the beliefs and practices that have caused disproportionate harm to children of color and other marginalized students are frequently left with the question: “Now What?”

Using their unique insights and life experiences as Latina superintendents, the authors of Now What? Confronting Uncomfortable Truths About Inequity in Schools present a guide to navigating barriers, managing differences, and creating an actionable equity plan. Readers will find:

  • a "What Next" guide for leaders at all levels to leverage Cultural Proficiency
  • a Culturally Proficient Leadership Rubric for promoting growth
  • an 8-Step Process to help educators gauge status and progress of their equity plan
  • a discussion of the impact of COVID-19 on educational transformation, as well as heightened awareness of injustice, including the Black Lives Matter movement and mistreatment of immigrant children and families

Cultural Proficiency begins with us. By focusing on our beliefs and biases, and taking actionable steps, we can become more proficient at eliminating barriers.

About the Authors
Chapter 1: Cultural Proficiency: The Conceptual Framework and Tools
Chapter 2: The Executive Leadership Continuum: Lessons from the Field
Chapter 3: Case Stories as Lessons
Chapter 4: Leadership for Transformation…The. Time Is Now
Chapter 5: Planning for Equity

"Franco, Ott, and Robles write in the opening chapter that “We are not the same leaders/authors of the 2011 edition.” Neither are we, as educators, school board members, community members, and parents, the same readers as we were in 2011. Just as they needed to write this 2nd edition, we all need to read this 2nd edition. We need to read with our ever-growing cache of experiences, insights, and lessons learned and to reflect upon how they influence our growth and expanding world views. These authors graciously and clearly unveil approaches, strategies, and tools for turning learning into action, providing models for all of us about how we can individually and institutionally develop our Cultural Proficiency in service of a more just and equitable learning experience and society for all of our students."

Shannon Hobbs-Beckley
Graded - American School of Sao Paulo

"Confronting Uncomfortable Truths provides a realistic view of how the pandemic has magnified equity in our schools across the nation."

Dr. Tanna H Nicely
Knox County Schools/South Knoxville Elementary

"Cultural Proficiency is the book education leaders need now to address the needs of our increasingly diverse student population. Despite the political opposition in some areas to addressing issues related to race in our nation's schools, issues broadly related to diversity in language, culture, ethnicity and race, will continue to generate challenges and transform the character of learning experiences for many students and their teachers. The authors of Now What?, all veteran educational leaders with a wealth of practical experience, understand the importance of addressing these issues in a thoughtful manner. Written with a clear and compelling approach that practitioners will find useful and refreshing, this book will serve as a guide for how to ensure that increased diversity will be embraced and treated as a source of strength for our schools and our students."

Pedro A. Noguera, PhD
Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

“In the wake of a once-in-a-generation pandemic that exacerbated inequities in public education nationwide, Franco, Ott and Robles offer leaders insight and guidance to promote and ensure greater inclusion and equity. This is a valuable resource that will support transformational work needed to help every student reach their highest potential.”

Angélica Infante-Green
New York Department of Education

"Latina superintendents represent only 3% of superintendents nationwide. Franco, Ott & Robles broke this glass ceiling in the 1990's and have served as role models to women of color across the country. I, along with so many Latina leaders, look to them not only for inspiration but for practical tools to, as they say, move beyond words to action for students who look like us and represent our lived experiences. In Now What? Confronting Truths about Inequity in Schools, this amazing Latina leadership trio reinforces the role of schools and districts as microcosms and nuclei of society. They call on us to muster up the courage to enact bold change--and they tell us how, in practical and tangible ways, while reminding us to expect fatigue and battle scars as we forge ahead."

Nancy B. Gutierrez, Ed.L.D.
The Leadership Academy

Carmella S. Franco

Carmella S. Franco is a State Trustee appointed by the California State Board of Education to oversee the academically failing Alisal Union Elementary School District in Monterey County. After retiring from twelve years as Superintendent of the Whittier City School District in 2008, Carmella then served for nearly one year as an Interim Superintendent of the Woodland Joint Unified School District. Her thirty-eight years in public education include having served as Director of Personnel, Elementary and Middle School Principal, ESL Specialist and Title VII Director in diverse school district settings, all with high English Language Learner... More About Author

Maria G. Ott

Maria G. Ott, Ph.D. started a new phase in her distinguished educational career when she joined the USC Rossier School of Education in October 2012.  Maria G. Ott  served more than seven years as Superintendent of the Rowland Unified School District, leading the district through major instructional improvement initiatives and modernization of facilities.   She is nationally known for establishing partnerships with private foundations in support of Rowland Unified and its strategic plan and efforts to reach high levels of literacy and raise student achievement, placing Rowland Unified on the national stage and forefront... More About Author

Darline P. Robles

Darline P. Robles, Ph.D., is currently a Professor of Clinical Education at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Her primary responsibility is the development of new Masters degree program for school leadership. She recently retired from the Los Angeles County Office of Education where she served as County Superintendent of Schools for eight years. As the top education leader of the nation's most populous and diverse county, she ensured the financial and academic stability of 80 school districts that serve more than two million preschool and school age children. She was the first woman and Latina to be... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071850763