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"Multiplication Is for White People": Raising Expectations for Other People's Children
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"Multiplication Is for White People": Raising Expectations for Other People's Children

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  453 ratings  ·  60 reviews
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 h ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by The New Press (first published September 27th 2011)
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Well, this is a pisser. To be clear: Delpit is a strong writer covering a topic that's sure to enrage almost everyone: that is, public education in the US. The short version is vast amounts of money from the Gates and Walton foundations (among other sources) haven't helped, except to divert energy and money away from public schools. No Child Left Behind hasn't helped, except to divert billions away from any actual education and into private companies producing the loathed tests and test-prep mat ...more
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 f ...more
Very interesting book on teaching African American children in general (not just math). There were lots of things in it that made me think. I actually tore the post-its I was using to mark pages into smaller & smaller pieces so I could mark more pages (no I didn't get more--just lazy I guess). I am not a teacher, but I do work in a school and it really made me think about how I respond to children of color based on my own world view and how an can change that based on what I learned from thi ...more
I read this as a professional development summer read for work. I recommend this for all teachers. It is a powerful testament and reminder to look at each child individually and without assumptions.
MacArthur Fellow and education professor Lisa Delpit (author of the seminal book Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflicts in the Classroom) takes on the “pedagogy of poverty” in this exploration of why education is still failing poor students of color. She charges that in spite of the fact that America has a black president,

“…we are far from a color-blind society, that African Americans are still devalued, stigmatized, and made invisible.”

In particular, she points to “microaggressions,” the t
This is a truly excellent book about education and how minority status (especially race) play into the American educational system. It is not always easy to read. There are some examples that are truly heartbreaking (view spoiler), but they are really important. Too often success in education is related to hard ...more
Two Articles and the Education Implications

One of my students was telling the class how she was the only black student in her previous school (a private school). I asked her “which school do you like better?”
“Well, here I feel more welcome, there I learned more.”

Recently I was debating a friend and I asked him, well, what’s the end goal of education? He responded to build a sense of community, I responded that the end goal of American education is to instill individual excellence so a person can
Charlotte Osborn-bensaada
Lisa Delpit builds on her 20 years working with schools and her children's experience to articulate what she see's going right and wrong in education. As a white mother in a system that is predominantly not, I thought this book would offer some insights and it does, but I also think its arguments need to be sorted out more. So this is what I took from it-

-Lots of uneven teaching out there, even by senior people
-Race still matters a lot, as does class, but Delpit seems to conflate the two and I w
Lisa Delpit has written another powerful book, and in fact, I believe that this most recent work delivers more than Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, as her analysis and outlook have deepened and become more rounded. With a focus particularly trained on improving the education provided to African American students (and exposing the many ways in which the current educational system not only fails but tragically harms these students), Delpit points us in the direction of ...more
There were some good pieces in her narrative but I was looking for more. I do appreciate that this is a tough subject to tackle and can lead to a whole lot of misunderstandings. However, the reality in some urban areas such as the one I work with, is that the majority of students are minorities and the majority of the teachers/administrators are not. I do believe that this can lead to misunderstandings particularly around parental involvement and procedural school-based issues. I was hoping that ...more
Jenny GB
I unfortunately couldn't get my hands on Other People's Children before reading this book so it was my first time reading anything by Lisa Delpit. I enjoyed her thoughts, suggestions, and challenges for educators. As a teacher myself, I work with a large minority population at school every day. I feel most of her ideas would not only be good for black students or even just minority students, but all students. All students need a challenging curriculum with supportive teachers. All students need ...more
This book, primarily written for educators (or so it seemed to me), explored some really interesting concepts regarding why children of color don't tend to fare well in school. It talks about other people's (teachers and principals) expectations about what a child is capable of, depending on that child's background and the educator's attempts to challenge or overcome both real and perceived barriers to learning. My main quarrel with this book is about its complete focus on black/African American ...more
Mark Isero
I like Lisa Delpit, but this book misses the mark. I love the provocative title, and in general, I like the idea of "school-dependent" children and our responsibility to teach them. However, once Ms. Delpit goes from theory to practice, her examples become less rigorous. She launches into feel-good anecdotes about teachers with heroic qualities who are doing amazing things. This kind of writing sometimes leaves me inspired, but this time, I was less than awed.

Along the way, Ms. Delpit decries th
"Other People's Children" had been on my reading list for a while but "Multiplication is for White People" beat it to my library first. I first encountered "Multiplication is for White People" when it was splashed across the screen on new school year staff orientation at my internship school. I had recently read "Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria" and was looking to deepen my knowledge on ways to approach my own biases when I work with African American/Black students. ...more
John Huber
I definitely enjoyed Delpit's latest book, although there wasn't a ton that was terribly new in terms of content. Delpit's style is clear and apparent, and readers of Delpit's Other People's Children will feel like they are in familiar territory. It's also pretty clear in reading the book that Delpit wrote this book, in part, as a response to the criticism that she received following the publication of Other People's Children - namely, that by calling for teachers of low-income students to empha ...more
I read this for a seminar in my Masters in Teaching program about the role of teachers as social servants. Author Lisa Delpit deftly and often entertainingly navigates the fraught issue of race and racism in American public schools. Empirical data, anecdotes, and the historical record are all used to show how complex the issue really is, and the benefits and pitfalls of various attempts to "fix" the system.

Yamil Baez
This book provided just what I needed at this time which was some framing ideas, some paths to follow and the inspiration to stay strong as an educator. However, the book feels like it was rushed- a bit unpolished, a bit rough around the edges. I am left with some questions but I don't think that this is a bad thing. I just hope that I've gotten enough to help me find answers as my primary goal is to contribute to providing education to all our children. Also, because Delpit uses many anecdotes ...more
Amber Dawn
"Multiplication is for White People" was my first book by Lisa Delpit.

The title provokes lots of discussion; everyone who saw me reading it wanted to discuss the book. Also, it's reminiscent of something a student told me ("Miss, grammar is for white people; I just speak.")

The theory sections are well-written. Delpit asks hard questions and uses research to support her opinions. She also brings up great ideas to implement in the classroom.

However, Delpit admits she is biased and angry. The cyn
Jenna Willson
I read Delpit’s newest work, "Multiplication is for White People:" Raising Expectations for Other’s Peoples Children first and loved it. Delpit brought up many issues that I have unfortunately seen first had in my school: lowered expectations because of race. She also addresses Ruby Payne’s deficit model of thinking in regards to children who are living in poverty and critiques everything that is wrong with it. I haven’t studied Payne in depth; after reading Delpit, part of me wants to and the o ...more
I had mixed feelings on this book. I found the first portion of the book that focused more on research and statistics on the disparity in learning among different races and economic statuses useful and intriguing. There were many moments within the book where I felt certain concepts and controversial ideas we taken somewhat out of context - which was quite likely intentional - but I feel led to more of an argumentative attitude rather than a collective "let's work on this together" stance. I who ...more
Barbara Lovejoy
This is the book for the next Education Week Book Club. I loved "Other People's Children" by Lisa Delpit so was really looking forward to reading this book. Even though it was directed mainly to those working with African American children, I felt that the same concepts applied to Hispanic children. The author has some great insights we'll want to remember as we work with our Esperanza learners.

On 5-26-12 I watched BOOKTV with Lisa Delpit the guest. Great program that can be found at http://www
Ben Daghir
Lisa Delpit's ability to embrace our culture's misunderstanding of educating ALL students is quite fascinating. Her research, personal vigor and love, and also her clarity to pressing issues will intrigue all readers interested in American education. This book has challenged me to not only embrace every student within my classroom, but also those that are not in attendance.
Delpit believes in people, but she isn't afraid to state that we are failing in a variety of educational ways. Her research

I truly enjoy Delpit's work, but I found that this book attempted to tackle way too much. Without a clear thesis or underlying theme, the reader can easily become lost in her anecdotal stories of her field work and her references to her contemporaries work in the field of race and education. That said, I found her chapters on "Educating the Youngest" extremely insightful and new. Not enough is said about the stigma of special education students, class, and alternative literacy practices. Within
Professional Development on May 28th to discuss the book. Looking forward to it.
The book grew on after a few chapters. I have worked in urban schools in Baltimore and DC and many of the issues and concepts she described were relevant. I believe her values around education and teacher planning and instruction are on point but I wished she provided a more detailed plan on how to get there. She highlighted a number of policy obstacles but didn't give much on how to overcome the obstacles. I definitely think this is a good read for new teachers regardless of race, class, or lif ...more
I wonder why the teaching profession is the only profession that allows itself to be torn apart by its own members. You would neveer see a doctor critique the rest of all doctors or a lawyer critique the rest of all lawyers. Maybe we don't consider ourselves to be true professionals? This book had little new to offer. One statement that did reverberate with me was that the richest men in America control the education of the poorest (in reference to Gates grants). Unfortunate, I wanted to learn s ...more
I flew through this book pretty quickly earlier in the summer - it felt very conversational, like I was with coworkers simply talking about how things are and agreeing a lot. I enjoyed reading the book for sure - even when it veered into ranting territory I understood why. That said, now that it's been a month I'm not sure what I really gained from it - while there were some suggestions on how to better teach non-white students (largely black males) a lot of them weren't super concrete.
Mills College Library
379.26097 D363 2012
For book discussion group. I wish we'd read this book for "cultural competency" class req instead of the boring text book we read. I hesitated to start the book thinking it might be more confrontational than practical, but it was as opposite as could be. Pure praxis. I would consider this one of, if not the, the most important ed books I've read in the last few years.
Jun 17, 2012 Jen added it
Thought provoking. Dr. Delpit revisits some commonly-cited educational achievement literature and interprets it from a non-dominant perspective. Whether you agree with her assessments and recommendations or not, this book is a valuable read for anyone interested in social justice, educational inequalities, and understanding how intelligence is measured.
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“In other words, every human brain has the built-in capacity to become, over time, what we demand of it. No ability is fixed. Practice can even change the brain.” 0 likes
“As a result of this “racism smog,” many of our children have internalized all of the negative stereotypes inherent in our society’s views of black people. A student teacher at Southern University told me that she didn’t know what to say when an African American eighth-grade boy came up to her and said, “They made us the slaves because we were dumb, right, Ms. Summers?” Working with a middle schooler on her math, a tutor was admonished, “Why you trying to teach me to multiply, Ms. L.? Black people don’t multiply; black people just add and subtract. White people multiply.” 0 likes
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