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The Real Ebonics Debate: Power, Language, and the Education of African-American Children

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In the winter of 1996, the Oakland school board's resolution recognizing Ebonics as a valid linguistic system generated a brief firestorm of hostile criticism and misinformation, then faded from public consciousness. But in the classrooms of America, the question of how to engage the distinctive language of many African-American children remains urgent. In The Real Ebonics In the winter of 1996, the Oakland school board's resolution recognizing Ebonics as a valid linguistic system generated a brief firestorm of hostile criticism and misinformation, then faded from public consciousness. But in the classrooms of America, the question of how to engage the distinctive language of many African-American children remains urgent. In The Real Ebonics Debate some of our most important educators, linguists, and writers, as well as teachers and students reporting from the field, examine the lessons of the Ebonics controversy and unravel the complex issues at the heart of how America educates its children.


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In the winter of 1996, the Oakland school board's resolution recognizing Ebonics as a valid linguistic system generated a brief firestorm of hostile criticism and misinformation, then faded from public consciousness. But in the classrooms of America, the question of how to engage the distinctive language of many African-American children remains urgent. In The Real Ebonics In the winter of 1996, the Oakland school board's resolution recognizing Ebonics as a valid linguistic system generated a brief firestorm of hostile criticism and misinformation, then faded from public consciousness. But in the classrooms of America, the question of how to engage the distinctive language of many African-American children remains urgent. In The Real Ebonics Debate some of our most important educators, linguists, and writers, as well as teachers and students reporting from the field, examine the lessons of the Ebonics controversy and unravel the complex issues at the heart of how America educates its children.

30 review for The Real Ebonics Debate: Power, Language, and the Education of African-American Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I actually don't think white teachers like me should be allowed in the classroom without reading this book. I actually don't think white teachers like me should be allowed in the classroom without reading this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    sydney

    I heard about the Ebonics debate when I was younger but never really understood it. Like a lot of people, I assumed that some school system out in California had resolved to stop teaching black children Standard English and teach them Ebonics, instead. I also mistakenly thought that Ebonics was some sort of slang or sloppy English. This book, a series of essays, interviews, and documents, tackles all of those misperceptions and prejudices and gets to the root of the Ebonics debate. The authors e I heard about the Ebonics debate when I was younger but never really understood it. Like a lot of people, I assumed that some school system out in California had resolved to stop teaching black children Standard English and teach them Ebonics, instead. I also mistakenly thought that Ebonics was some sort of slang or sloppy English. This book, a series of essays, interviews, and documents, tackles all of those misperceptions and prejudices and gets to the root of the Ebonics debate. The authors explain what Ebonics is (they argue that it is a distinct language with Pan-African origins), what the Oakland resolution really said (that the school system should recognize Ebonics as a language and therefore teach children who spoke it using aspects of culturally-sensitive bilingual Standard English instruction), and how the debate was twisted by careless and racist reporting. Whether or not you agree with the assertion that Ebonics is a distinct language, this book is a fascinating look at a debate that got a lot of attention a few years ago and continues to be relevant today. It is obviously really one-sided (so the word "debate" in the title is a bit misleading), but it's clear, easy to read, and really informative. I learned a lot from this book. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    This was written as a result of a decision by the Oakland, CA school board validating Ebonics as a language, as you would classify "French" or "English" a language. I read the book during research for a thesis in my linguistics class and became really interested in the subject. I even changed my thesis to examine the validity of Ebonics as a language. Really, really fascinating. This was written as a result of a decision by the Oakland, CA school board validating Ebonics as a language, as you would classify "French" or "English" a language. I read the book during research for a thesis in my linguistics class and became really interested in the subject. I even changed my thesis to examine the validity of Ebonics as a language. Really, really fascinating.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    This is a must-read for educators in the U.S. It opened my eyes to the Ebonics debate and inspired me to create a more open-minded environment in terms of different types of spoken language in the classroom. It is well worth the read!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Miss Ary

  6. 4 out of 5

    Raminta

  7. 5 out of 5

    robin

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cara

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Allan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tina janus

  13. 5 out of 5

    bekah

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary Shelton

  16. 5 out of 5

    John

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Weber

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

  20. 4 out of 5

    Camille

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Grimaldi

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alena Reid

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  25. 4 out of 5

    Charisse Montgomery

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dan Wagner

  28. 5 out of 5

    Justin Smith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jacara Brown

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

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