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"Multiplication Is for White People": Raising Expectations for Other People's Children [Kindle Edition]

Lisa Delpit
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As MacArthur award-winning educator Lisa Delpit reminds us—and as all research shows—there 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 efforts—including No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, the creation of alternative teacher certification paths, and the charter school movement—that 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 multiplication—and every aspect of advanced education—is for everyone.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.”
Kirkus Reviews

“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 nation’s 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

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.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the title March 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
About a quarter ways in, Lisa Delpit pretty much nails the matter:

"My point is that children come to us having learned different things in their four-to-five years at home. For those who come to us knowing how to count to one hundred and to read, we need to teach them problem solving and how to tie their shoes. And for those who already know how to clean up spilled paint, tie their shoes, prepare meals, and comfort a crying sibling, we need to make sure that we teach them the school knowledge that they haven't learned at home. Unfortunately, though, different types of [knowledge] are not equally valued in the school setting."

Said differently, the need is for public education to become ever more capable to absorb and continually learn from all the variety kids show up with at school each day.

(Where Delpit uses the word "skill," I prefer the word "knowledge" for the simple reason "skill" arguably is a pejorative in corporate-speak used to enforce managerial hierarchy: executives have knowledge, worker bees have skill. As knowledgeable worker bees can be upsetting to corporatism, knowledgeable students and teachers can be upsetting to educratism.)
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new way of thinking AFTER Ruby Payne April 4, 2012
By Bonnie
Format:Hardcover
Very thought provoking. A must-read for all educators. Those who have adopted Ruby Payne as the authority on the education gap need to read this and adjust their thinking.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more January 10, 2013
Format:Hardcover
I am all over the place on Lisa Delpit's latest book on educating "poor black children," probably because Delpit is a little all over the place. She makes a plethora of excellent points, but in a fashion that is overly wordy (I know, pot calling the kettle black here; wait, I didn't mean it that way!), puzzlingly organized, and admittedly angry ("I am left in my more cynical moments with the thought that poor black children have become the vehicle by which rich white people give money to their friends."). I found myself craving ease, warmth, and humor. Of course, I also found myself nodding along with frequency and learning a great deal about a subject of serious urgency. After giving my mixed feelings extensive thought, I decided that much of the problem is that Delpit's book isn't a well-reasoned opening salvo, it's a passionate refutation. She responds to those who say African American students disproportionately fail in school because they just aren't as smart as children of other races and come from "a culture of poverty" (and that those who succeed do so only because of unmeritocratic affirmative action). No wonder she's pissed.

OF COURSE African American students are just as "gifted and brilliant" as everyone else (as Delpit ably demonstrates). But even educators who accept racial equality expect less of poor and minority students because of their supposed cultural deficiency. Delpit spends the bulk of the book tackling this point. Essentially, she says that "poor black children . . .
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brings up some good points December 29, 2012
Format:Hardcover
My principal ordered some books for us to read to help close our achievement gap and I chose this book to read. I'm not going to lie - it's not some groundbreaking book telling you something you didn't already know as an educator, however the book does raise some good points. It's a relatively quick read.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I picked up this book to find solutions to continuing problems at our school and was not only disappointed with Delpits one-dimensional solution, but found her book to be disorganized. She attacks the same straw man (teacher and societal racism) and repeats her only solution (make curriculum relevant to the students)in each chapter. She sprinkles in some best practices which can be found everywhere, but spends most of the book on poorly illustrated anecdotes and expressing her vitriolic hatred of innate ability (which has been debunked repeatedly over last two decades).

She avoids the topic of behavior management almost completely. This was shocking to me because simply changing the topic in all core subjects to culturally relevant material is not going to solve every problem. This, however, is the only solution she proposes.

Some of her ideas were poorly thought out and sounded more like musings rather than useful information. Below are examples:

- Speaking to children too much results in those kids turning into adults who make meetings run too long.

- She mixes up talking at children with talking with children.

- Mentions that organization and reducing transition times is a waste of students time.

- Merely ostracizing students or yelling at them will get them in line.

This book is scatter brained, unfocused and extremely short on solutions. The research and best practices are useful, but can be found in more well articulated sources. I recommend not wasting your time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truly remarkable February 14, 2014
By Brian
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book will change you. Easy to follow, well-referenced, and no holds barred, Delpit addresses the issues at hand in our country that have historically and currently prevented social justice in the education of African-American boys and girls.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend that all educators read this!
Delpit hit the nail on the head when discussing issues regarding minorities in the classroom. She brought up several points that I would have never considered on my own.
Published 3 months ago by nicole taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book to Start Reading ABout Effect on Racism in Education
I thought this book was an interesting a read and it is great if you want to dip learning about racism and its effect on education. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jennifer Kace
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for educators!
Excellent text in reference to ignored racial differences and their issues impacting our youth. I an a white teacher who works with only minority students. Read more
Published 6 months ago by David M. Sanderson
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eye-Opener
How many times have educators made the mistake of deciding the fate of their students based on their limited knowledge, experience and expertise? Too many times. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lorrie Kloss
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful examination of the crisis in urban education...
There is a moment early in "Multiplication Is for White People" where Delpit perfectly illustrates the problem that many parents feel when interacting with school... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Patrick J. Salem
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
This book was chosen for us to read in our book club. A definite eye opener; thought provoking courageous conversation.
Published 8 months ago by Shelia Holman-Leak
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must read for ALL teachers
I have often thought about the achievement gap that seems to continue to widen. This book will answer some of those questions as to why this gap exists and what are the possible... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Valerie S Tuck
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Another great book from Dr. Delpit. I was especially intrigued by the title and when I read it I understood where it came from. Only a child could come up with something like that. Read more
Published 9 months ago by xhawg52
4.0 out of 5 stars Lets Wake Up. Thanks Lisa for your support.
Vital information. But the heart of the matter is policy, which controls social circumstances faced by our teachers and students daily. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Thalia M. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for all teachers!
This book and Ms Delpit's first book, Other People's Children, should be required reading in all college education major's classes.
Published 9 months ago by M. W. Schwartz
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More About the Author

MacArthur "genius" award winner Lisa Delpit's article on "Other People's Children" for Harvard Magazine in the 1990s was the single most requested reprint in the magazine's history; Harvard School of Education gave her its award for Outstanding Contribution to Education. She is now the Felton G. Clark Professor of Education at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she lives.


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