Re-entry

In March of 2020, I presented my dissertation with a focus on equity and social justice leadership in independent schools. My dissertation, like all others, was a long repeated process of research, attempts at implementation, failures or dead ends, and shifts back to the planning stage. It required a lot of work, took longer than I anticipated or should have taken, and was certainly worth the research, writing and effort.

The world of my equity and social justice research in March 2020 (and in the years of leadup and research) is very different than current research on the topic. The murder of George Floyd, alongside other egregious examples of prejudice and racism, has cast a significantly greater scholarly and cultural focus on issues of equity and social justice in education. In reviewing my literature review in my dissertation I already feel as though it is becoming out of date, even after a few years. I feel like, at least in my own understanding of issues of equity and social justice, that I have started to fall behind by a wide margin. There are areas of development that I fully support, and other areas where I have questions and need to process through some ideas. I hope, by writing, I’m able to do so.

My doctoral research and research exhaustion from it has probably contributed to feeling behind in my current understanding and willingness to dive into research on equity in the past year. To reiterate, it was certainly worth the research, writing, and effort. Yet after its completion, I wanted and needed a significant time away from reading, writing, and researching. It’s a little embarrassing to say this, but I probably did not read a book (or at least read anything longer than a brief article) for over a year. My mind appreciated the respite from reading and learning, but I think I’m ready to move back into reading, writing, and some day even back into researching.

My writing here is to get me more comfortable in thinking about, researching, and writing after a needed but well-past-due respite. I imagine there will be a number of issues relating to equity and social justice here, but I am not really sure where my mind might be focused each week. As I work in independent schools, my writing will likely be focused on things that may relate to my work. I’ve researched a lot about privilege (which is a problematic word today, admittedly) and there might be a lot of writing about that too. But my interests may shift. The key, for me, is that in writing in an open platform I will be more likely to be accountable in my writing.

I’m not anticipating many readers, but maybe some people may find my writing in time. A few requests of any potential readers.

  1. You may agree with much of what I say, and you may disagree with it. That’s OK. If your insights, comments, or conflicts are thoughtful and meant to improve discourse I’d love to hear from you. If you are more interested in arguing, then I’m not going to be very interested in hearing from you or arguing with you.
  2. I don’t consider this to be professional writing. If that changes, or if by some chance a lot more people are interested in whatever I have to write, then that may change. I say this because I may not source an article correctly or I may, or likely will be at times, plain wrong. If I am wrong, I always aim to correct. But if someone disagrees, I may just disagree. That’s OK, and we can then focus on the nuance.

I hope to be writing some in the next few months (maybe twice a week in the summer, less when the school year starts). Here’s to writing and researching and understanding the world a little bit better.

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John Baker

Teacher, administrator, and educator trying to make a little bit of sense of the world.