Book Study: Courageous Conversations About Race…Chapter 1: Breaking the Silence

Book Study: Courageous Conversations About Race…Chapter 1: Breaking the Silence

I’m reading a great book about how to talk about race. It’s called Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools, Second Edition, by Glenn E. Singleton.

I previously shared notes about the Forward and Introduction, so check those out if you’re interested: Book Study: Courageous Conversations About Race…Forward and Introduction

Here are the notes I’ve jotted down from Chapter 1.

  • “Of all the civil rights…the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental.” -W.E.B. DuBois
  • “…race–and thus racism, in both individual and institutionalized forms, whether acknowledged or unacknowledged–plays a primary role in students’ struggle to achieve at high levels.”
  • We need to move beyond “…the reality of the racial gap toward developing a strategy for eliminating it.”
  • For a decade or more, we’ve embraced the Understanding by Design principles of what we want students to know, how we know when they know it, and what we’ll do if they don’t. Building on that, the author frames these questions:
    • “What is it that educators should know and be able to do to narrow the racial achievement gap?”
    • “How will educators know when they are experiencing success in their efforts to narrow the racial achievement gap?”
    • “What do educators do as they discover what they don’t yet know and are not yet able to do to eliminate the racial achievement gap?”
  • “…racial achievement gaps exist even among students within the same socioeconomic levels.”
  • “…educators need to stop placing blame on the places and people beyond their control.”
  • “We need to take the education of poor children as seriously as we take the education of the rich…”
  • “The disparity is easy to see; what remains invisible is a focused and concerted effort to adequately and successfully address the racial achievement gap.”
  • “One’s passion must be strong enough to overwhelm institutional inertia, resistance to change, and resilience in maintaining the status quo.”
  • “…many educators have an insufficient repertoire of instructional practices as well as lack the cultural proficiency to effectively teach students of color and indigenous students.”
  • “Persistence calls for each of us to exercise a rare and seemingly oxymoronic combination of patience and urgency.”
  • “This book provides a foundation for those educational leaders at the system and school level who are willing and ready to begin or accelerate their journey toward educational equity and excellence for all children.”
  • “Do not allow another person’s challenge to your particular racial word choice to become reason for you to grow timid or even silent. Instead, see such challenges as the normal consequence of healthy racial dialogue and even as an invitation into deeper engagement.”
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