Foreword by: Jamaal A. Bowman
Publication Date: July 9, 2021
Educators often invoke the term care to describe why they entered the field and what compels them to continue. This book argues that care, as typically described and enacted, is not sufficient for leading schools, particularly those serving Black and Latinx children. Instead, school leaders need to embrace radical care. Drawing from 20 years of researching and working in New York City public schools, Rosa Rivera-McCutchen outlines the five components of radical care: adopting an antiracist stance, cultivating authentic relationships, believing in students’ and teachers’ capacity for excellence, leveraging power strategically, and embracing a spirit of radical hope. To demonstrate practical strategies, the author shares vignettes from her personal experiences that exemplify each of the components. Calling for today’s school leaders to thoughtfully challenge existing structures that reproduce inequality, Radical Care offers a much-needed framework that will guide leadership practice with a sense of urgency and a spirit of hope.
Rosa L. Rivera-McCutchen is an associate professor in the Graduate Leadership Programs at CUNY Lehman College and The CUNY Graduate Center’s Urban Education Doctoral Program.
“I’ve had the privilege of working in urban schools for over 20 years, serving as a teacher, counselor, and middle school principal. I’ve learned alongside kids as young as 4 and as old as 19. What I have learned is that regardless of background or circumstances, children come to school ready, willing, and able to learn. They all want to be valued, make friends, and be successful. Rivera-McCutchen’s framework provides a blueprint and pathway to their success.
—From the Foreword by Jamaal A. Bowman, educator and member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York
“Rivera-McCutchen makes a powerful case to position radical care as essential for school leadership striving to do equity work, eliminate opportunity gaps, and correct a history of unequal education for Black, Brown, and other marginalized students. This compelling work is beautifully grounded in an actionable framework to accomplish this urgent work.”
—George Theoharis, professor, teaching and leadership department, Syracuse University
“Rivera-McCutchen introduces a practical and theoretically sound conceptualization of radical care leadership. She cogently argues that leaders should adopt an antiracist stance while cultivating relationships and leveraging power strategically. Providing a useful radical care framework and engaging vignettes, she even presents important lessons from the pandemic, reminding leaders to maintain hope and believe in students’ and teachers’ capacity for excellence.”
—Mark Anthony Gooden, Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Professor in Education Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University