Pushing Past the Achievement Gap: A Conversation with Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings
Location: Teachers College, Columbia University

The words "achievement gap" are on everyone's lips--teachers, administrators, politicians, policy makers, parents, and the community. However, perhaps what we are experiencing in our nationwide schools is not so much an achievement gap but an educational debt. In this discussion, renowned educator and author Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings examines how the characterization of students and their families can lead to continued deficit thinking and keeps us trapped in a paradigm about what students cannot do, rather than what their personal and cultural strengths allow them to do.

Gloria Ladson-Billings is the Kellner Family Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and faculty affiliate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former president of the American Educational Research Association. Dr. Ladson-Billings’ research examines the pedagogical practices of teachers who are successful with African American students. She also investigates Critical Race Theory applications to education. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children; Crossing over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms, and numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is the former editor of the American Educational Research Journal and a member of several editorial boards. Her work has won numerous scholarly awards including the H. I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship, the Spencer Post-doctoral Fellowship, and the Palmer O. Johnson Outstanding Research Award. In 2002, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Umeå University in Umeå, Sweden and in 2003-2004, was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. She is the 2004 recipient of the George and Louise Spindler Award for ongoing contributions in educational anthropology, given by the Council on Anthropology & Education of the American Anthropological Association. In the spring of 2005, she was elected to the National Academy of Education. In spring of 2008, she was awarded the Hilldale Award, the highest faculty award given at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In that same year she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from Teachers College – Columbia University. During the 2008-2009 academic year, she was the Louise Baron Hilton Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. In 2010, she was elected to the Laureate Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi National Education Honor Society. The Laureate chapter is comprised of 60 living scholars who have made significant contributions to education. In June of 2010, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and in January of 2012, she will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Alicante in Alicante, Spain.

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