School of Education News

Ladson-Billings featured at Cap Times Idea Fest on how to better serve students of color

September 21, 2017

UW-Madison's Gloria Ladson-Billings led a session at the Cap Times Idea Fest on Sept. 17 titled "Education and children of color." 

Ladson-Billings holds the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education. She is a professor with the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Policy Studies, and Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

At the session, Ladson-Billings was asked how Wisconsin could better serve students of color. Ladson-Billings answered to strive for experimentation, patience and a never-failing belief in the students themselves.

“Don’t treat them like your kids,” Ladson-Billings said during the session. “Treat them like your grandchildren … I really think my grandkids are special, I think they can do anything. And everyone deserves that.”

Ladson-Billings, the author of "The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children," spoke about how most of the literature and studies before her book were focused on failure and the assumption African-American students were doing something wrong. 

Ladson-Billings urged educators not to fall into this pessimistic mindset, saying children could internalize the mindset. 

"Say, ‘I’m responsible for kids, I’m going to do everything within my power to ensure their success. (I’m) not going to give up, quit, or believe that they cannot do things,’” Ladson-Billings said. “That kind of perseverance and persistence is something we don't often reward in teachers.”

Read more about Ladson-Billings' talk on the Cap Times website: "Gloria Ladson-Billings says students of color need teachers who 'think they can do anything.'"

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