Overcoming Linguistic and Cultural Inequities in Communities, Schools, and Classrooms
Foreword by Dan Alpert, A Joint Publication with Learning Forward
Achievement of Minority Students | Bilingual/EAL Learners | Social Justice
What are some lessons learned from the pandemic?
We learned that, in times of crises, the humanitarian needs of students, families, and ourselves must be a top priority.
We learned that forming effective partnerships with families and communities is essential to the health and well-being of our children.
We were offered a blunt reminder that a system designed to serve the interests of a privileged few was destined to fail our historically underserved students, especially our millions of multilingual learners.
Above all, we learned that the “normal” many of us have yearned for was never good enough—that we must envision a “better world,” where we build on our multilingual students’ unique assets and cultivate their inner brilliance. Only then will we deliver on their promise.
It’s this “better world,” a world in which communities, schools, and classrooms work together as a “whole-child ecosystem,” Beyond Crises: Overcoming Linguistic and Cultural Inequities in Communities, Schools, and Classrooms sets out to create. Taking a look from the outside in, Debbie Zacarian, Margarita Calderón, and Margo Gottlieb address three critical arenas:
1. Imagining Communities describes how to design and enact strengths-based family and community partnerships, including the critical importance of identifying, valuing, and acknowledging each member’s assets and competencies, and the ways recent crises have amplified their struggles.
2. Imagining Schools takes an up-close look at policies, structures, and now irrelevant ways of schooling that call for change and how we might reconfigure professional development to ensure every teacher and administrator is dedicated to the well-being and success of our multilingual learners.
3. Imagining Classrooms demonstrates how to optimize learning opportunities—both virtual and face-to-face—so our diverse students grow cognitively, linguistically, and social-emotionally, and accentuate their talents in knowing and using multiple languages in linguistically and culturally sustainable environments.
“Student and family, classroom, school, and local community are not silos unto themselves,” Debbie, Margarita, and Margo insist. “They are part of a larger whole that is interrelated and interconnected and, even, interdependent on each other. By forming stronger alliances, we can realize the power of truly working, socializing, and flourishing together.” Beyond Crises is the first critical step forward.
"This timely and unique volume from Zacarian, Calderón, and Gottlieb, three of the most renowned masters in the field of teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students, spotlights the critical need for collaborative relationships between communities, schools, and classrooms to engage in advocacy for equitable educational opportunities for all learners. It guides the reader through a journey of reflection by making connections to one’s own experiences with relationship building as well as identifying action steps to strengthen partnerships. It also invites the reader to imagine ways to be open to change and make things happen! This book is a must read for anyone who works with this special student population.”
"Through witnessing the pandemic’s detrimental effects on English learners, I’m left grasping for a silver lining. I need to know how to make sense of what has happened, to learn from the challenges and heartbreak, and to thoughtfully move forward. Beyond Crises comes at just the right time. Through compelling student stories, anecdotes from fierce advocates, and spot-on reflection questions and tools, the authors guide us to reimagine education for ELs."
"Beyond Crises: Overcoming Linguistic and Cultural Inequities in Communities, Schools, and Classrooms is just the resource administrators, instructional leaders, and educators in all walks of life need! This timely book by the powerful trio--Debbie Zacarian, Margarita Calderón, and Margo Gottlieb--is destined to pave the way for imagining and re-imagining our communities, schools, and classrooms in a post-crisis world. Their unapologetic call-for-action is to overturn racial, cultural and linguistic inequities—this book will show you how!"
"What a superb and relevant discussion of how we as educators and servants can take our colleagues, our students and their families to the next level. Debbie, Margarita, and Margo have done a great job combining practical, critical practices, and partnerships with perfect examples of why we as educators do what we do. You’ll want to buy two, one for yourself and one to share."
"By using voices from communities, schools, and classrooms, Beyond Crisis re-envisions how systems can move away from deficit-based paradigms. The practical and new ways of re-imagining presented in this book highlight and inspire a call to action that encourages strengths-based partnerships to acknowledge assets and competencies within systems. Beyond Crisis is a relevant and responsive book that motivates hope and empathy to address polarizing and chaotic times in our nation."
"Beyond Crisis is the humanizing, empowering book we need right now! Read it for a compelling vision and action steps to move beyond crisis and create the interconnected schools and communities our multilingual learners deserve."