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The Cultural Proficiency Journey

The Cultural Proficiency Journey
Moving Beyond Ethical Barriers Toward Profound School Change

Edited by:

Foreword by Linda C. Tillman

January 2010 | 144 pages | Corwin

"This book is a magnificent contribution for advancing change! The Culturally Proficient Journey is one that we must all take if we truly care about and have the will to make a difference in the lives of all children. The authors have provided us with a road map for the journey. The rest is up to us."
—Ruth S. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Education Leadership
California State University, Los Angeles

Because equitable education for every child is a moral imperative!

Providing an excellent education to every child is truly a personal, ethical, and professional obligation for educators, requiring profound change by organizations and individuals. Recognizing that true change begins from within, this compelling book shows how educators can develop a deeper personal understanding of cultural difference while building healthy schools that honor diversity.

The authors guide readers to greater awareness of their own underlying values, beliefs, and assumptions about difference, whether based on ethnicity, ability, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation. Readers will learn how to better identify and remove barriers to equity in their classrooms, schools, and districts. This resource provides:

  • An approach to cultural proficiency as a framework for moral action that is grounded in leading thought on ethics and organizational development
  • Reflective exercises for individual study, group learning, and collaborative work
  • Richly detailed case studies that present challenging dilemmas for critical self-reflection and group discussions

Gain a new perspective on cultural difference while developing a strong framework for ethical decision-making on equity issues!

Foreword by Linda C. Tillman
About the Authors
Part I. Cultural Proficiency and Morality
1. Oakland Hills
Oakland Hills School District Mission

Oakland Hills Schools

Oakland Hills Dilemma as Emblematic

Barriers to Cultural Proficiency

2. The Tools of Cultural Proficiency
Moral Consciousness

Cultural Proficiency Is a Moral Consciousness Process

The Guiding Principles: Moral Foundation

Barriers to Cultural Proficiency

The Cultural Proficiency Continuum

The Essential Elements

Cultural Proficiency Conceptual Framework

3. Values, Assumptions, and Beliefs Guide Our Actions
The Ladder of Inference

What I Value Most

Dialogic Conversation

Beliefs Inventory

Going Deeper

4. Morality: Motivation, Purpose, and Intent
Moral Purpose

Intent: Ought and Will

Mastering the Dilemma

Part II. Case Studies: From Reflection to Action
5. Barrier 1: Systems of Oppression
Case 1. A Superintendent’s Predicament


Case 2. Family First

Questions for Discussion

6. Barrier 2: Resistance to Change
Case 3. Science Lesson

Questions for Discussion

Case 4. Public Announcement

Questions for Discussion

Left-Hand/Right-Hand: Drilling Deeper

7. Barrier 3: A Sense of Privilege and Entitlement
Case 5. Heart Condition

Questions for Discussion

Case 6. Early America

Questions for Discussion

Heuristic Reflection

Further Readings

"Once again the authors have hit a home run! If your school or organization is on the exciting journey toward cultural proficiency, this new volume will prove indispensible. The authors have combined solid foundational research with practical everyday illustrations. This new volume will be required reading for my school’s leadership team. If you can manage only one resource on your journey to cultural proficiency, this book is it!"

Ian Jones, Principal
Milton District High School, Ontario, Canada

"As someone who works with children from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, I am often reminded that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to meeting the needs of students and their families. In this book, the authors force us to take inventory of what we believe. Most importantly, we are encouraged to look at ourselves, who we are, and what other 'stuff' (our personal biases) we bring into our interactions with students and families. Though these sorts of reflections can sometimes be painful, they are necessary if we hope to ensure that we do not become one of the barriers to student success. This, I believe, is an important step in the process of cultural proficiency."

James L. Jones, School Counselor
Edmonds School District, Lynnwood, WA

"A first-rate book that will challenge readers to analyze their own ethical perspectives regarding issues of equity, diversity, and moral ethics in making the right decisions for schooling all children. The case studies are thought-provoking and will keep you wanting more. They are written in a manner that we can all identify with as educators and leaders."

Reyes L. Quezada, Professor, School of Leadership and Education Sciences
University of San Diego

“This book is a magnificent contribution for advancing change! Indeed, education is capable of transformation when we welcome change in spite of the challenges. The authors have clearly placed their hands on the pulse of real change by highlighting morality. The Cultural Proficient Journey is one that we must all take if we truly care about and have the will to make a difference in the lives of all children. The authors have provided us with a road map for the journey. The rest is up to us.”

Ruth S. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Education Leadership
California State University, Los Angeles

matches goals of our course

Dr Nina Morel
College of Education, Lipscomb University
February 12, 2014
Key features
  • A thorough treatment of cultural diversity as a moralistic approach for profound school change.
  • Grounded in key works on organizational change, cultural proficiency, and ethics.
  • Includes a series of authentic ethical dilemmas for personal reflection and group discussion.
  • Includes three richly-detailed case studies based on real school events.


For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452271187

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