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Courageous Conversations about Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  634 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Deepen your understanding of racial factors in academic performance and discover new strategies for closing the achievement gap!

Examining the achievement gap through the prism of race, the authors explain the need for candid, courageous conversations about race in order to understand why performance inequity persists. Through these "courageous conversations," educat
Paperback, 281 pages
Published November 18th 2005 by Corwin Publishers (first published 2005)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008, education
i'm gonna be honest and say i'm having a really hard time with this book as it seems to paint asians in a very poor light. i'll finish it because i have to for work, but i'm not going to enjoy it.

this book is pissing me off so much i can't stand it. i have to find a way to get out of the discussion we're supposed to have about it at work next week. i'm gonna end up being the crazy asian lady again if i don't....

totally crappy book....with insights like.....jews are white before they are jewish..
Jay Reinoso
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book during the summer before beginning a new job as a high school Spanish teacher. As a young teacher of color, this book helped me reflect on my own understanding of my own racial identity as a Latino, first generation American. There were moments in the book where I thought to myself “Will my White colleagues be willing to engage in these Courageous Conversations?” “What steps are needed for them to get to a starting point to discuss race in schools?” and “What are some effective ...more
Shaeley Santiago
Contains a protocol for talking about race plus many exercises that can be used with staff in a school setting and racial autobiographies that reflect people's journeys to understand how their own lives are impacted by race.

Too many quotes to list, this is definitely a book to read again and again on the journey to be more critically conscious.
Rose Peterson
You can't get far in equity circles before the title Courageous Conversations about Race comes up. I finally got around to reading this book when I was given the opportunity to join a book club that had selected it as their focal text. I was underwhelmed, though, after all the hype.

Perhaps most crucially, I do not feel better equipped to lead courageous conversations about race after finishing this book. It provides a glut of "The 4 This" and "The Circle of That" and countless acronyms, but the
Nov 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone in education
I fully agreed with the argument that educators (especially white educators) need to understand the pervasive reaches of white privilege and institutional racism in order to successfully close the racial achievement gap. However, do "courageous conversations" achieve the same enlightenment when held amongst a predominantly white staff? Anne Braden forcefully claimed that white people holding conversations about race with other white people is a dangerous activity, and I agree. Some of the cultur ...more
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was ok
My rating is probably unfair, because I think the book accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do: an administrator can easily use it as a guide to run a series of anti-racism trainings in a majority white school. The trainings won’t be super deep and they won’t make a direct connection to pedagogy, but they will help get teachers thinking about race in a productive way.

I just was hoping for more. There were some good insights, but most of the book was an introduction to anti-racism and left o
Jennifer Tonelli
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every educator, parent, and administrator should read this book. Full of knowledge, trufh, and harsh but real realities of our current educational system in the United States. It beings wirh definitions and making sure all readers are all on the same page and then develops into how to begin to discuss race in a context that is helpful for all, albeit quite difficult and uncomfortable. I feel as though no matter what stage you are in your journey with understanding race and becoming anti racist, ...more
Clare Wojda
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an invaluable guide for personal reflection on how racism shapes one's worldview as well as a practical roadmap for any educator passionate about creating truly equitable schools where all children are empowered to actualize their inherent brilliance. Glen Singleton says he wrote this book to "provide [educators] with the insight and tools [they] need to eliminate racial achievement disparities." I believe he succeeded in his mission. ...more
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Turning this into a book study / PLC as soon as I get the opportunity
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blackauthor
To say that I learned a lot reading this book is an understatement. I wish I had a book club or friends in education to discuss it with. This is a must-read for teachers!
Catherine Theriault
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I started this book I didn't really expect to be deeply affected...after all I've been teaching with a social justice focus in a racially diverse school for 20 years. My response took me by surprise--Courageous Conversations opens up doors that I didn't even know existed, most notable among my own learning community. I'm now more sensitive to teaching with the race lens and am more open to discussing race with students and colleagues. It's utterly transformative and powerful work. ...more
North Landesman
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad I read this book. Singlegton's big idea, that race is an issue and needs to be talked about, is a important issue facing educators. It made me reconsider some of what it means to be White. How much of "culture" is really "white culture." I liked how he used data. My two big questions:
1. How can a White educator feel safe having an honest conversation about race without fear of being labeled a racist?
2. Does this whole idea need to be system wide to work?
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Explains how to have conversations about race in a constructive and courageous way. I liked that the authors were very clear that conversations about race would be uncomfortable. They also discussed all the ways people use to avoid talking about race. I entered this book a skeptic, but came out a convert.
Jan 25, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm actually conducting workshops w/ this text....I find that after my third time reading it...the information is finally beginning to settle in. This is a hard read and is likely to make you angry. ...more
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read. Needed this for my research.
Erin McDonnell-Jones
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I had hoped that this book would offer more examples of conversations and examples from classrooms; however, this serves as a program that schools can use to help teachers understand race and biases in the classroom.

I also really liked their definition of equity: “it is an operational principle that enables educators to provide whatever level of support is needed to whichever students require it” (p. 47).

The program is based on Four Agreements and Six Conditions:

“The initial action for educat
Josiah Aston
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Provocative yet enlightening

I found myself angered multiple times when reading this book. As a white male, I was asked to embrace the knowledge and privilege of my race, recognizing that others do not have such privileges. I cannot deny these privileges, but I felt that many of the author's claims of racism were founded on faulty assumptions and perceptions. According to him, unless engaged in racial equity work, you are perpetuating racism.

I felt this book opened my eyes to the racial beliefs
James Weakley
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Self-Discovery and a Plan

Glenn E. Singleton and his co-authors of this and the previous edition of Corageous Conversations About Race ask the reader to do one thing. It is neither simple nor easy. It takes a commitment from the reader. They ask that we investigate the way race plays out in our lives, the ways in which we have acquieced to Institutional Racism and how we can confront those internal biases in the service of our students.

This book gives district school, and classroom leaders steps
Jordan Munn
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a deceptively simple book. The Four Agreements feel like common sense at times, and the 6 Conditions feel do-able, at least at the start. Then, as the book folds in on itself with deeper and deeper observations and insights, you find yourself returning to earlier statements and seeing them in new lights. However, I wouldn't recommend reading this book cover to cover in isolation. It's best read and parsed in a group, with time given to explore one another's perspectives and reactions to ...more
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing

My school district has been given this book to read to guide our discussions and policies about equity. I read it over the holiday break to begin to reflect on my racial understandings and start facing the challenge to go deeper. I found the Courageous Conversation Compass to be especially fascinating. It helps you to determine the direction your words and beliefs are coming from, as well as the words and beliefs of your colleagues. The intense work will begin when we read it together with colle
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful guide book and call to action for educators to get on the path of raising our racial consciousness and addressing the core challenge at the heart of our work in K-12 education in the United States.: the challenge of an academic and opportunity gap created by systemic racism aimed directly at Black, Brown, and indigenous students. This text is an invaluable resource for exploring our racial identities in school communities and creating more equitable schools.
Oct 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took so long to read this, but I am glad I took my time. I do think this was geared more towards administrators than teachers, but the content was still useful and valuable. I can see keeping this on hand, and referring back to it, and also working through it with a group. I'd really like to see this in action with a whole district to see how transformative the work could be. ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
An excellent tool to gain understanding of White privilege, what it means to have conversations about race, how to actually talk about it, and what needs to happen in our schools and in this country if the racial divide is ever to close...
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a MUST read for all leaders and educators. In order to improve this country, we must first look at equity and address some of the injustice that people have endured due to racism. Everyone should read this book. And it is so practical!
Tricia Friedman
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible practical and remarkably affective. This book left me with both strategies and provocation. I love the raw honesty at play here and I think Singleton’s approach and encouragement to sit with the tension longer will resonate with educators who feel like we just need “solutions.”
Christine Fay
Apr 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A good start for thinking about the tough talks we need to have as educators, and also how to recognize and stop the microaggressions that take place every day in the hallways and the classroom. Once your eyes are open to this, they cannot be shut.

C. Garrett
A great resource and must-read for anyone concerned with institutional racism and creating the context for transformational change.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a wonderful book on how to have conversations about race in schools. It makes me want to do this all the time. Definitely worth the read.
Claremarie Bonafede
Excellent book. Great reflections made while reading book.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Something to keep looking at time and time again. Maybe best to read it with others and using the facilitators guide.
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“I Dream I am from a clash of Color, From an idea of love, modeled for others’ perception. I see me as I am, but am hidden from others’ views. I am who I am, but a living contradiction to my peers. I see life as a blessing, a gift granted to me. Why should my tint describe me? Why should my culture degrade me? Why should the ignorance of another conjure my presence? Too many times I’ve been disappointed by the looks, By the sneers and misconceptions of the people who don’t get me, Who don’t understand why it hurts. I dream of a place of glory and freedom, Of losing the weight of oppression on my back. I dream of the enlightenment of people, Of the opening of their eyes. I dream for acceptance, And for the blessing of feeling special just once. One moment of glory . . . for the true virtue in my life. For the glimmer of freedom, and a rise in real pride.” 2 likes
“Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) and AP classes composed solely of White and Asian students Special education classrooms where Black students are overrepresented School orchestras with no Black, Brown, or Indigenous students Suspension and expulsion data showing that a disproportionate number of Black, Brown, and Indigenous students are suspended or expelled Remedial classrooms with high proportions of Black, Brown, and Indigenous students Honors classes with low proportions of Black, Brown, and Indigenous students” 0 likes
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