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Promoting Social Justice for All

Published November 4, 2019

In the United States, social justice advocates are concerned with whether economics and other spheres of life are equal for all. That could include the environment, healthcare, gender and race. Dr. Charles Slater is researching what it is like elsewhere.

“Social justice is critically important in education and leadership, and we wanted to take an international perspective,” Slater said. “We focused particularly in areas with marginalized populations or large immigrant populations because one of the major issues facing the world today is the mass immigration of people across borders. Some countries are experiencing this influx of people for the first time, and we wanted to see the impact on schools and the actions a social justice leader takes to respond to the new challenges.” 

Slater is focusing on how K-12 school principals in Spanish-speaking countries view and enact social justice. 

Dr. Charles Slater
Dr. Charles Slater

“Through the International Study of Leadership Development Network, a multi-country project, scholars have been working on a common research design for several years that involves identifying and visiting social justice leaders – the principals – at their schools,” Slater said. “I work with scholars in countries around the world, but spend the most time with the Spanish-speaking network, particularly, Mexico, Costa Rica and Spain.” 

During his visits, Slater and the other scholars talk with the principals about their beliefs regarding social justice, the obstacles they face when implementing social justice in schools, and how their backgrounds formed them to become social justice leaders.

Slater returned from a trip in 2019 to Ensenada, Mexico, with other university faculty and doctoral students. They visited a school for teachers, a university and an elementary school that provides educational refuge for children who have recently migrated from extremely impoverished conditions. 

Slater is planning to continue his research of social justice and educational leadership beginning in fall 2019 at the Autonomous University of Madrid. He will interview a number of experts around the country about social justice leadership and discover what they see as the major issues within Spain. 

Reproduced with permission from Quest