University of Wisconsin-Madison
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Ladson-Billings contributed foundational scholarship that introduced critical race theory to education and especially to teacher education. She introduced the seminal idea of culturally relevant pedagogy. Her book, Dreamkeepers (1994) is still a key text. It illustrates that successful teaching of black children is characterized by rigorous and demanding expectations of young people, accompanied by support. Perhaps the essential contribution of her work is that this deep and generative approach to teaching goes well beyond colloquial notions of just good teaching. Such teaching engages students' communities, and promotes young people's critical consciousness about structural racism and oppression.