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Equity Training and Development

Book Recommendations

Closing the Achievement Gap: A Vision for Changing Beliefs and Practices

Edited by Belinda Williams ASCD, 1996 ISBN: 0871202735

This is an extremely useful and timely collection of chapters commissioned by the Urban Education National Network to:

  • Define the nature of obstacles to urban academic performance. We must clarify deterrents to the development of urban lifelong learning such as the lack of curriculum relevance and authenticity, and describe supportive environments, appropriate staff development, and meaningful instruction and assessments for urban students.
  • Identify validate, and disseminate a knowledge base of theory and practice that will better inform decision making relevant to overcoming these performance obstacles.

The book addresses the nature of the achievement gap; how urban schools can bridge it; cultural values in learning and education; educating teachers to close the achievement gap; appropriate learning opportunities, standards and assessment; fostering resiliency in urban schools; how to catalyze teacher engagement and real reforms; and designing a social vision for urban education.

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory and Practice

by Geneva Gay
Teachers College Press, 2000
ISBN: 0-8077-3955-3

Geneva Gay is Professor of Education and Associate of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington. In this excellent, informative book about meeting the education needs of diverse populations of students, the author discusses the challenges as well as the possibilities of culturally responsive pedagogy. She considers students1 emotional needs as well in her discussion of caring teaching, and describes differences in communication among different genders and ethnic groups.

Excellent chapters on cultural congruity in teaching and learning discuss different learning styles and teaching strategies to reach and teach all students as well as the importance of teacher attitudes and expectations. Gay has included many personal stories in her scholarly and interesting analysis of this important topic. All who teach in today's culturally diverse classrooms will find it valuable to keep this book close at hand.

Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom

by Lisa D. Delpit New Press, 1996 ISBN 1565841808

MacArthur Award-winning author Lisa D. Delpit suggests that many of the problems students of color encounter in school are cross-cultural, the result of miscommunication between teachers and "other people's" children. In a radical analysis of contemporary classrooms, she develops ideas about ways teachers can be better "cultural transmitters." Delpit also addresses the origins of these problems in the recruitment process, graduate school training, teaching supervision, and professional advancement of teachers of color.

" Delpit poses an urgent question: Why do we have such a hard time making school a happy place for poor children and children of color? She suggests answers with honesty and compassion. This book helped me reach across the gulf between cultures. I hope other teachers will have a similar reaction."—Vivian Gussin Paley, The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, author of White Teacher and Kwaanza and Me: A Teacher's Story

" [Other People's Children] provides an important, yet typically avoided, discussion of how power imbalances in the larger U.S. society reverberate in classrooms."—Harvard Educational Review

" Phenomenal. . . Reading it feels like a breath of fresh air in an increasingly polluted world. Without works like this, those of us who are struggling to change our schools (as well as our society) would be unable to breathe."—San Francisco Review of Books

Creating Culturally Responsive Classrooms

by Barbara J. Shade, Cynthia Kelly, and Mary Oberg American Psychological Association, 1997 ISBN: 1557984077

Drawing on cognitive and educational research along with specific information about different ethnocultural groups, this book explores the different cultures, styles of learning, and styles of behavior that today's teachers will encounter among their students. This book is a much-needed contribution to Equity studies and a handy guide for teachers at all levels, in all subjects.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? : And Other Conversations about Race

By Beverly Daniel Tatum, PH.D. Basic Books, 2003
ISBN: 0465083617

Race identity is a positive developmental factor for young people of color, according to psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D. A renowned authority on the psychology of racism, she asserts it is all right, even necessary, for black adolescents to have a strong sense of belonging, even if it requires a period of segregation. Using real-life examples and a conversational tone, Tatum takes this issue to the grassroots level.

FROM THE PUBLISHER In "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" And Other Conversations About Race, Dr. Tatum provides us with a new way of thinking and talking about race through the lens of racial identity. She explains that all of us have a racial identity and must strive to affirm it. For people of color, the development of a constructive racial identity requires being able to recognize and reject the bombardment of negative stereotypes and to embrace a history of resistance and empowerment rather than passive victimization. For Whites, the challenge is to engage in a process of racial identity development which leads to an awareness of White privilege and a determination to actively work against injustice - and this requires the strength to reject a system that rewards them, and to reclaim the legacy of White allies. For many, this is uncharted territory. This book provides a road map for those who want to make the journey and better understand the racial dynamics of their daily lives. Tatum extends her ideas about racial identity development beyond the usual Black-White paradigm to embrace the unique circumstances of Latinos, American Indians, Asians, as well as biracial youth. Also included is a list of resources for further reading as well as a list of books for parents and teachers to recommend to children of all ages. Using real-life examples and the latest research, Tatum presents strong evidence that straight talk about our racial identities - whatever they may be - is essential if we are serious about facilitating communication across racial and ethnic divides.

The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children

Gloria Ladson-Billings Jossey-Bass, 1997
ISBN: 0-7879-0338- 8

FROM THE PUBLISHER Education, like electricity, needs a conduit, a teacher, through which to transmit its power--i.e., the discovery and continuity of information, knowledge, wisdom, experience, and culture. Through the stories and experiences of eight successful teacher-transmitters, The Dreamkeepers keeps hope alive for educating young African Americans.

--Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, president and founder, National Rainbow Coalition
In this beautifully written book Ladson-Billings illustrates the inspiring influence of a select group of teachers who keep the dreams alive for African American students.
?Henry M. Levin, David Jacks professor of Higher Education, Stanford University
Ladson-Billing's portraits, interwoven with personal reflections, challenge readers to envision intellectually rigorous and culturally relevant classrooms that have the power to improve the lives of not just African American students but all children.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down—A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

by Anne Fadiman Noonday Press, 1997
ISBN: 0374525641

The first half of the title of Anne Fadiman’s "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down—A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures" refers to epilepsy in the language of the Hmong. The central individual in this meticulously researched and beautifully written book is the beloved young epileptic daughter of a Hmong refugee family. In the weaving of Lia Lee’s story, the author also describes the history of the Hmong, leading up to their role as counter insurgents in the War in Vietnam and their subsequent emigration to the United States. It’s the story of a people who against all odds struggle to retain their cultural values and traditions. The tragic clash of cultures in the treatment of Lia’s epilepsy exemplifies the chasm between Eastern and Western medicine. At the back of the book is a Reader’s Guide, including questions and subjects for discussion. (Thought-provoking questions for the classroom) The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development

Edited by Enid Lee, Deborah Menkart, and Margo Okazawa-Rey
Network of Educators on the Americas with support from the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, the Boston Foundation and the Center for Language Minority Education and Research, 1998
ISBN: 1-878554-17-4

This book is an interdisciplinary guide for teachers, administrators, students and parents on ways to:

  • analyze the roots of racism
  • investigate the impact of racism on our lives and on those of our families and our communities:
  • examine the relationship between racism and other forms of oppression such as sexism, classism and heterosexism;
  • learn how we can work to dismantle racism in our school, communities and society at large

In Beyond Heroes and Holidays the authors share lessons and readings that provide examples of how educators, staff, students and parents can work together to transform the curriculum, rather than simply adding to current frameworks. We also go beyond the classroom to address such issues as tracking, parent/school relations and language policies. There are many readings and lessons for pre- and in-service staff development.