Journal of Critical Issues in Educational Practice


equity, cultural proficiency, educational practice, disparities in education, value diversity, leadership


This quantitative, descriptive study investigated K-12 public school principals' perceptions regarding the degree to which they use and value practices related to cultural competence in their roles as school leaders. While an abundance of literature regarding leadership in education, disparities in educational outcomes, and school change exists, inequities in policy and practice perpetuate academic and social setbacks for some of our nation's youth Using the lens of the Cultural Proficiency Framework, specifically the Essential Elements, this study aimed to address the research questions and add to the literature by examining (1) the school principals' value in using culturally competent practices; (2) the school principals' use of culturally competent practices; and (3) the differences in principals’ perceptions across urban, suburban, and rural locale. The study's findings revealed the most important and most frequently used culturally competent practices to school principals were associated with valuing diversity. Conversely, the least important and least frequently used culturally competent practices to school principals were associated with assessing cultural knowledge. Conclusions suggest that applying the Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency allows for paradigms shifts to praxis, where theory becomes practice through action towards equity and inclusion.

Author Statement

Dr. Jaime E. Welborn, President of JWE Education Consulting, LLC and Executive Director of Midwest Collaborative for Cultural Proficiency in Schools (DBA), is a former teacher and school administrator. She currently serves as Assistant Professor in Education Leadership at Saint Louis University in Missouri. Dr. Peter Flores III, Founder and Principal Consultant of Praxis Lead Equity, LLC, is a former teacher and school administrator. Both Drs. Welborn and Flores are senior associates of the Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice.