Synopses & Reviews
As MacArthur award-winning educator Lisa Delpit reminds usand as all research showsthere is no achievement gap at birth. In her long-awaited second book, Delpit presents a striking picture of the elements of contemporary public education that conspire against the prospects for poor children of color, creating a persistent gap in achievement during the school years that has eluded several decades of reform.
Delpit's bestselling and paradigm-shifting first book, Other People's Children, focused on cultural slippage in the classroom between white teachers and students of color. Now, in "Multiplication is for White People", Delpit reflects on two decades of reform effortsincluding No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, the creation of alternative teacher certification paths, and the charter school movementthat have still left a generation of poor children of color feeling that higher educational achievement isn't for them.
In chapters covering primary, middle, and high school, as well as college, Delpit concludes that it's not that difficult to explain the persistence of the achievement gap. In her wonderful trademark style, punctuated with telling classroom anecdotes and informed by time spent at dozens of schools across the country, Delpit outlines an inspiring and uplifting blueprint for raising expectations for other people's children, based on the simple premise that multiplicationand every aspect of advanced educationis for everyone.
"A decade after her award-winning Other People's Children: Cultural Conflicts in the Classroom, MacArthur Fellow and education professor Delpit, her passion unassuaged, takes a fresh look at education practice and theory with a sharp focus on 'children marginalized either by income-level or ethnicity or both.' Exploring four stages (infants, early childhood, adolescents, college age), her book is full of firsthand observations of teachers and students in multiple settings, most commonly the inner-city, and trenchant anecdotal accounts of her own experiences with her daughter's 'often difficult travels through school,' some predominantly white, some predominantly black. Delpit's assessments of Teach for America and No Child Left Behind, while respectful of the goals, are critical of both the practices and the results. In reviewing current scholarship, she offers jargon-free explanations of current terminology (like 'stereotype threat' and 'microaggression'), and clarifies arguments with graphs and statistics. This is very much a book for teachers and education professionals, but anyone concerned with the state of American schooling will find Delpit's smooth blending of the personal, the professional, and the political appealing and illuminating." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Here, finally, is multiculturalism with a human face.”
A godsend . . . honest and fair, yet visionary and firm.”
Quarterly Black Review
Phenomenal . . . [Other Peoples Children] overcomes fear and speaks of truths, truths that otherwise have no voice.”
San Francisco Review of Books
Inescapably enlightening and empowering.”
Black Issues in Higher Education
Powerful, trenchant, and compelling.”
[A]n important, yet typically avoided, discussion of how power imbalances in the larger U.S. society reverberate in classrooms.”
Harvard Educational Review
Provocative . . . should stimulate rethinking the complexities of multicultural inclusiveness.”
Argued with a voice of reason and experience.”
[Delpit] is a keen student of the way that ideas and practices take on new meanings in cultural contexts, including the context of unequal power.”
If all teachers adopted these ideas, the American educational system would be vastly improved for all students. Covering age groups from preschool to college, Delpit offers advice to new and veteran teachers, advice that applies not only to African American students but to all ethnic and minority groups. A much-needed review of the American educational system and an examination of the techniques needed to improve the teaching methods of all involved in that system.”
In this passionate book, Lisa Delpit argues thoughtfully and urgently for a new approach to the education of the children who are now left behind. We must heed her words of wisdom.”
Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System
Once again Lisa Delpit dispels myths about the way in which African American children learn. She demonstrates how they can master complex concepts and succeed if racist systems get out of their way.”
Herbert Kohl, 2010 Guggenheim Education Fellow, National Book Award winner, and author of 36 Children
This book is an instant classic. By challenging us to reimagine the culture, politics, and practice of teaching our nations most vulnerable and marginalized students, Lisa Delpit raises the stakes of the current conversations on education yet again. Her scholarship is rigorous, her scope is wide-ranging, her writing is magical, and her hope is contagious.”
Marc Lamont Hill, author of Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity
'Multiplication Is for White People' compels readers to think deeply about why we allow assessment to drive instruction, why we have silenced discussion about inequality in public policy, and why outcomes continue to be so stubbornly correlated with race. At a time when profound thinking about solving America's education dilemmas is in short supply, Delpit has come to the rescue with a book that forces us to do just that.”
Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University and author of The Trouble With Black Boys
Lisa Delpits paradigm-shifting first book Other Peoples Children
won a Critics Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association and Choice
magazines Outstanding Academic book award; was voted one of Teacher Magazine
s great books”; and has gone on to sell a quarter-million copies since its publication in 1996. Since then we have seen No Child Left Behind, an obsession with standardized testing, the creation of alternative teacher certification paths, the charter school movement,
and a host of other attempts to reform our nations public education system.
Two things we have not seen are an elimination of the achievement gap between
white and African American childrenor a new book by Lisa Delpit.
Sure to be an instant classic, "Multiplication Is for White People" explores a wide range of little-known research that conclusively demonstrates there is no achievement gap at birth and argues that poor teaching, negative stereotypes about African American intellectual inferiority, and a curriculum that still does not adequately connect to poor childrens lives all conspire against the education prospects of poor children of color. In a major new book for her many impatient fans and admirers, Delpit brings the topic of educating other peoples children into the twenty-first century.
About the Author
MacArthur "genius" award winner Lisa Delpit's article on "Other People's Children" for Harvard Magazine was the single most requested reprint in the magazine's history following its publication. Delpit expanded her ideas into a groundbreaking book with the same name, which won a Critics' Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association, Choice magazine's Outstanding Academic Title award, and was voted one of Teacher Magazine's "great books." A recipient of the Harvard School of Education's award for an Outstanding Contribution to Education, she is dedicated to providing excellent education to communities both in the United States and abroad. She is a co-editor of The Real Ebonics Debate, Quality Education as a Constitutional Right, and The Skin That We Speak(The New Press). Currently the Felton G. Clark Professor of Education at Southern University, she lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Yes, Diane, Im Still Angry xv
Part One: Inherent Ability
1. There Is No Achievement Gap at Birth 3
2. Infinite Capacity 27
Part Two: Educating the Youngest
3. Stuff You Never Would Say: Successful Literacy
Instruction in Elementary Classrooms 53
4. Warm Demanders: The Importance of Teachers
in the Lives of Children of Poverty 71
5. Skin-Deep Learning: Teaching Those
Who Learn Differently 89
6. I Dont Like It When They Dont Say My Name
Right”: Why Reforming” Cant Mean Whitening” 105
Part Three: Teaching Adolescents
7. Picking Up the Broom: Demanding Critical Thinking 123
8. How Would a Fool Do It? Assessment 137
9. Shooting Hoops: What Can We Learn About the
Drive for Excellence? 149
Part Four: University and Beyond
10. Invisibility, Disidentification, and Negotiating
Blackness on Campus 169
11. Will It Help the Sheep? University, Community,
and Purpose 193