The Ethical Demands of Multiculturalism

Authored by: Katarina Norberg , Olof Johansson

Handbook of Ethical Educational Leadership

Print publication date:  May  2014
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415853903
eBook ISBN: 9780203747582
Adobe ISBN: 9781135011932


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The school is an important institution wherein political intentions about what characterizes good civic education and training are expected to be realized. Also, according to Bunar (2001), “It is a place for political aspirations and reforms through which children and young people with different social backgrounds should be given opportunities to transcend the social background constraints” (p. 18). The Swedish School Act, and curricula 1 based on its principles, has a long history of underscoring these purposes of schooling, as they have emphasized the schools’ democratic mission. However, a discrepancy exists between the intention formulated at the central level and its realization at the local level, as differences between overall school performance and the performance of groups of students have increased. This chapter discusses this inconsistency with a focus on school leadership in ethnic multicultural schools. It opens with a brief account of the Swedish school’s democratic mission to promote equal schooling for all students, followed by a description of student performances from a multicultural perspective and school leaders’ experiences of leadership for diversity. The chapter ends by highlighting intercultural leadership and providing some examples of how Sweden’s principal training program is intended to educate school leaders for diversity.

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