Lisa Delpit is an African American and a lifelong teacher who promotes the idea of having "visions of success for poor children and children of color." Her 1995 book, Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, discusses how to better train teachers by using nine specific factors, among them understanding the brilliance of the children, recognizing and building on the children's strengths, using familiar metaphors and experiences from the children's world, and nurturing a sense of connection to a greater community, of which they are a part. Delpit's father owned a restaurant and her mother taught high school. Her parents set an example by providing free meals for local elementary school children who could not afford to buy lunch. This fostered in Delpit a commitment to helping others. Delpit was one of the first African Americans to attend desegregated Catholic schools in Louisiana. She also attended Antioch College in Ohio and Harvard University. She has worked at the University of Alaska, Morgan State University's Urban Institute for Urban Research, and Georgia State University, holding the Benjamin E. Mays Chair of Urban Educational Leadership. Delpit received a MacArthur Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1993.
Ellen Wolpert is the founding director of the Washington-Beech Community Preschool in Boston. Ms. Wolpert currently works for Education Development Center, Inc., in Newton, Massachusetts.
Is it okay to discuss politics in class? How can teachers talk about immigration without putting undocumented students in the spotlight or at risk? What are constructive ways to help young people process the daily news coverage of sexual assault? How can educators engage students around Black Lives Matter? Climate change? Hate speech? Confederate statue controversies?
Lisa Delpit’s Other People’s Children, a classic text on cultural slippage in classrooms, has sold over a quarter million copies. In Teaching When the World Is on Fire, Delpit now turns to a host of crucial issues facing teachers in these tumultuous times. Anchored by a smart introduction that provides a framework for tackling difficult topics with students, Delpit’s master-teacher wisdom tees up insight from high-profile educators including José Luis Vilson, Jesse Hagopian, Bill Ayers, Carla Shalaby, and Mica Pollock, along with critical guidance from K–12 classroom teachers and well-known education networks including Rethinking Schools, the Zinn Education Project, and Facing History and Ourselves.
This timely, urgent volume is sure to inspire teachers who are eager to support their students in navigating the current events, cultural shifts, and social dilemmas that shape our communities, our country, and our world.