Currently, the issue of inequality is one of the most pressing concerns in education and educational research. Factor such as increased socio-economic inequality, movement of people across national boundaries, and refugees, creates major challenges for local communities and schools. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that teaching and leadership are informed by the best available knowledge to meet these challenges. This article, which is based on research on successful school leadership and school reforms, aims to explore what type of knowledge is used and given priority, when politicians and administrators make decisions about improving education. The article also discusses what we need to know to address equity-relevant progress and improvement. In the analysis the role the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has in setting the agenda in educational research is problematized and methodological shortcomings within research traditions focusing on successful school leadership are mentioned. A main argument is that our thinking about educational leadership must be complemented and informed by research which focuses on recent changes in the political economy which have challenged public education severely. To lead education beyond the agenda of what works we need different approaches to research, including critical studies addressing the power structures.
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