Reversing Deficit Thinking

Toward a Paradigm of Strength-Based Approaches to Educating African American Children

Edited by:
Dr. Olga M. Welch, Duquesne University
Dr. Diane S. Pollard, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

A volume in the series: Research on African American Education. Editor(s): Carol Camp Yeakey, Washington University, St. Louis. Rowhea Medhat Elmesky, Washington University in St. Louis. Bronwyn Nichols Lodato, Washington University in St. Louis.

In this book, we suggest that much of the focus around educating African American children has been misplaced. We argue that, rather than focusing on the achievement gap and failures to educate and learn, attention needs to be paid to factors underlying successful achievement in this group. Furthermore, we will demonstrate that many of the factors that support successful academic achievement in African Americans were articulated many years ago by African American scholars and practitioners who worked under conditions of immense oppression. Finally, we will highlight contemporary scholarship that builds upon the work of these historical figures, and recommend that this would be a more fruitful avenue for research, policy and practice.

Thus, in this book, we combine the writings of historical pioneers in African American education, Booker T. Washington, Mary McLeod Bethune, W.E.B. DuBois and Carter G. Woodson with the research of current scholars on the same topic. This analysis is further buttressed by our own study of academically successful, African American students in an urban, public school district.