SAGE Publications, Educational Management Administration and Leadership, p. 174114321989848, 2020
This study investigated social justice from the point of view of school directors, teachers, and parents. We chose two schools that were undergoing major demographic changes because of increased immigration into Catalonia, Spain. They were both classified as “schools of maximum complexity” because of their socio-economic characteristics. The research questions focused on how directors, teachers, and parents give meaning to social justice and what actions they take to achieve it. Teachers and principals adopted practices that have been described in leadership literature as transformational, such as building trust and challenging the process; they only occasionally showed transformative practices like those described by Santamaria (2014) as applied critical leadership (ACL). They were motivated by seeing the needs of migrant families and students with special needs. They seriously considered social cohesion and believed that all students should be given the same opportunities and treated fairly. While these principals wanted to guide teachers to see their work in new ways and develop practices to address the needs of a changing student population, they did not reflect on the connection between day-to-day problems and the larger social system. This critical perspective is essential to ACL.