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The Race Card

The Race Card
Leading the Fight for Truth in America’s Schools

Foreword by Mark Anthony Gooden, PhD

June 2023 | 176 pages | Corwin

Race neutral leadership is not an option.

Education leaders are on the frontline in the fight for racial justice and must co-construct practices to disrupt storylines, policies, and practices that perpetuate opportunity gaps. Drawing from established research and the wisdom of teachers, young people, parents, community members, policy advocates, and school leaders, The Race Card is a guide for frontline leaders at every level to confront and disrupt racism.

Designed to engage leaders in candid conversations about race and racism, this book provides a road map for building anti-racist leadership capacity in today’s turbulent political environment. Features include

  • Eight interrelated tenets of Frontline Leadership
  • Strategies for supporting faculty, staff, students, and the broader community in practices centering racial justice and equity
  • Guidance for dismantling the lies and beliefs that perpetuate inequities
  • Design principles and strategies to cultivate opportunity-rich and robust curriculum, instruction, relationships, and assessment

The frontline isn’t always a comfortable place, but it’s where education leaders are needed right now. Lead the fight for truth in your school community and help change history—by putting our nation back on the path to racial justice.

Foreword by Mark Gooden
About the Author
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: How to Close Opportunity Gaps
Chapter 3: How to Co-Develop Systematic Plans and Designs
Chapter 4: How to Disrupt Punishment and Pushout Practices
Chapter 5: No Turning Back – Conclusions, Summaries, Recommendations, and Implications

The Race Card: Leading the Fight for Truth in America’s Schools is an ABSOLUTE must read for school leaders, teachers, parents, community leaders, policymakers, and anyone who wants to be a Frontline Leader for students. Dr. Milner begins the book with a critical reminder that the American school system is still an unwelcoming, traumatizing space for too many minoritized youth as it continually propagates whiteness and engages in anti-Black racist policies and practices. He then boldly calls on all school leaders to recognize that the urgency is now and the responsibility is theirs to become Frontline Leaders and transform the learning experiences for young people by fighting for racial justice, equity, and truth. In this book, Dr. Milner takes you on an illuminating and awe-inspiring journey to becoming a Frontline Leader with valuable lessons along the way such as how to close the opportunity gap, and how to disrupt racism, whiteness, and anti-Black racism in schools. Like I said, this book is a must-read!”

Dana Thompson-Dorsey, Associate Professor of Education Law, Policy, and Leadership
Department of Leadership, Policy, and Lifelong Learning, University of South Florida, College of Education

“In the midst of this racialized, difficult moment in the history of American schools, this book provides leaders with language, tools, and a framework to unleash positive social change. Understanding and applying the concepts Dr. Milner offers will strengthen leadership for racial and social justice, thus improving outcomes for all children.”

Shawn Joseph
Former Superintendent in Delaware and Tennessee, Co-Director, AASA/Howard University, Urban Superintendent’s Academy

“Every school leader needs to read this truth-telling book. In a time where so many are steering away from issues of race, racism and the harms inflicted on the lives of Black and Brown students in schools, Dr. Milner instead confronts these important topics while helping leaders to develop race-conscious thinking and anti-racist practices. He beautifully and organically blends theory, research, history, and radical approaches for cultivating leaders’ minds toward advancing justice for the hope of our humanity. The content in this book is so moving and MUST be the new model for how we prepare the next generation of leaders.”

Gholdy Muhammad
Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Chicago

“Dr. Milner expertly provides a comprehensive examination into how racism operates within schools and society before delivering evidence based leadership approaches and strategies that advance racial justice. In this timely and engaging text written for practitioners and aspiring leaders, Dr. Milner takes racism head on by clearly outlining how school leaders in solidarity with educators and communities can recognize, confront, and root out racial injustice. The Race Card provides a unique and powerful framework for strategic and concerted action that is not only about disrupting the status quo and challenging white supremacy, but also advancing schooling practices that are racially just and contribute to the well-being and success of the entire school community.

For educators and leaders who feel silenced or paralyzed amid culture wars and right-wing attacks on public education, The Race Card is a must-read because it provides valuable practitioner-oriented strategies that cultivate and sustain racial justice in schools and communities.”

David DeMatthews
Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin

“This book reintroduces educational leaders to the why of this work. It covers a multitude of emotions as it is sure to shift the reader’s thinking about how students are supported in schools. The time is now to have these deep rich conversations about race and its presence in society and education as a whole. This book is a must-read for all educational leaders!”

Kena M. Worthy
Executive Director of Leadership Development Clarke County School District

“This must-read book offers illuminating explanations and concrete guidance for all who are leading at the frontlines of racial inequities in our schools! Speaking to the ‘now’ of this complex moment in U.S. education, The Race Card artfully invites us to move beyond abstract talk of disrupting racism or evading the issues in the false hope of unity.

Through his research and experiences, Dr. Milner makes visible the anti-Blackness embedded in everyday policies and practice and how the myths of meritocracy and model minorities cause harm. The chapters offer ways through the resistance of systems and political perils of leading change while lighting the fire of urgency and possibility for leaders to center young people and learn from and with communities to realize schools of healing and racial justice."

Ann M. Ishimaru
author of Just Schools: Building Equitable Collaborations with Families & Communities

“Dr. Milner has provided a practical framework for school leadership who have taken up the work of equity and justice in education. The clear and concise definitions, the tangible research and examples, and particularly the 8-tenet framework that he provides will move schools forward and closer to being more equitable for minoritized students in schools.”

Muhammad Khalifa
Professor, The Ohio State University

“This book is a must-read for every principal preparation program in schools and colleges of education. As Dr. Milner has so eloquently pointed out, principal leadership is very important to the social, emotional, and academic development of all children, and especially Black children who are most likely under-served and under-educated, and are often subjected to persistent racism in schools. The Race Card is a must to confront and address racism and anti-Blackness in schools and society. Our children’s futures depend on it. Bravo, Dr. Milner!”

Linda C. Tillman
Professor Emerita, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

“Dr. Milner gifts the world with The Race Card during a time of racial and social crisis. The Race Card boldly centers and conceptualizes the indispensable role of race in educational leadership, while U.S. society opts for colorblindness, anti-Black sentiment, and white supremacy in educational and social structures. Dr. Milner systematically rebukes and rejects these notions, and demonstrates how these ever-present destructive social structures crush the potential for educational systems to serve students of color. Instead, Milner proposes an informative and instructive framework for an equitable leadership paradigm in which all students can succeed. A must-read for educational leaders, The Race Card provides definitions and research that informs school leaders of how to engage in Frontline Leadership in order to establish just and equitable leadership practices in U.S. schools.”

Lisa Bass Freeman
Associate Professor, North Carolina State University

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ISBN: 9781071907771