Attracting Diverse Students to a Magnet School: Risking Aspirations or Swallowing One’s Beliefs

Amanda Taggart, Utah State University
Alan R. Shoho, University of Wisconsin


This case study focuses on the ethics of advocating for a social justice perspective versus jeopardizing one’s career aspirations. There are numerous subplots to this case involving the start-up of a new magnet school, including its leaders’ concerns for meeting accountability measures and representing racially diverse, limited English proficient, and economically disadvantaged students. Through this case, we illustrate the conflicting choices school leaders may face when trying to balance their own career aspirations with their advocacy of social justice issues for underrepresented groups of students. By using Starratt’s ethical framework along with Strike, Haller, and Soltis’s and Shapiro and Stefkovich’s work on ethical dilemmas, this case highlights the importance of having an ethical framework to base administrative decision making that supports social justice actions for all students.