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There Are No Deficits Here

There Are No Deficits Here
Disrupting Anti-Blackness in Education

Foreword by Yvette Jackson, Afterword by Ras Baraka

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September 2023 | 208 pages | Corwin

Disrupt the deficit beliefs that steal belonging, purpose, pride, and joy from Black students

School reform efforts have long dominated the educational landscape, but the fixes that characterize many school improvement initiatives swing on the hinges of deficit beliefs about Black students. This book calls for a disruption in these models and urges educators to take seriously the significance of beliefs and cultures within schools.

Focused on racial equity from an ecological perspective and designed to propel readers to examine individual and systemic beliefs operating in their ecosystems, this book provides

  • Details on emancipatory educational ecosystems governed by beliefs that affirm Black children and immerse them in learning where their identities matter
  • A set of beliefs that work together to create collective mindsets needed to power change
  • A counternarrative of how interrelationships and interdependence govern healthy systems by challenging the meritocracy, competition, and individualism.

Grounded in extensive research and personal experience showcasing large-scale change efforts in major urban areas, Wells’ approach toward emancipatory educational ecosystems enables affirming beliefs to guide the work.

About the Author
Part I
Chapter 1: We Need New Educational Paradigm: Here’s Why
Chapter 2: Disrupting the Norm: Central High School and The Newark Global Village School Zone
Chapter 3: Conscious Collectivism: The Power of the Collective
Part II: Collective Context
Chapter 4: The Nature of Ecosystems
Chapter 5: There’s Race in Our Educational Ecosystems
Chapter 6: Culture, Beliefs, and Emotions in Our Educational Ecosystems
Chapter 7: Beliefs and Biology: Subconscious and Conscious Thinking
Part III: Collective Purpose
Chapter 8: Affirming Beliefs that Transform Learning
Chapter 9: By Design: Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Educational Transformation (CRSET)


“For generations, Black students’ dreams have been shattered by a U.S. education system functioning precisely as it was designed – to underestimate their potential and underinvest in their development. Lauren Wells offers a vital counter vision for this broken system and a roadmap to create a better one that brings together our Black students’ identities, cultures, histories, and communities. Grounded in emancipatory educational principles, Wells’ conception of culturally responsive-sustaining education transformation is a gift to our beloved community and all those seeking to address the present anti-Black education system.”

Cheryl Lowery, President and CEO
The Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights

"There Are No Deficits Here: Disrupting Anti-Blackness in Education is a clarion call for sweeping systemic change in our educational landscape. It vehemently challenges the underpinning narratives that have long permeated educational systems and practices that have reinforced a deficit-oriented view of students of color.

Dr. Wells brilliantly interweaves theory and practice to demonstrate how educators and administrators can build more inclusive, equitable learning environments that foster every child's intellectual growth. Her experience, rigorous research, and systemic view of schools as ecosystems intimately intertwined with the communities they serve pave the way for a transformative education model. This model champions coherence and synergy across various elements of a child's learning environment, from their school to their home and the broader community. It offers a toolkit for change, packed with practical resources like the Belief Assessment Tool and reflective exercises that provide educators and community leaders with a structured approach to implementing her transformative educational model.

There Are No Deficits Here is an intellectual masterpiece that will inspire a new generation of educators to champion the cause of equity and justice in education. It paints a bold vision for a future where every student's potential is recognized, nurtured, and celebrated."

Karren Dunkley, Ed.D.
Internationally Recognized K-17 Educator

Helping people to understand the experiences of black children and people in education.

Miss Katrina Maher
School of Teacher Education, Liverpool Hope University
June 26, 2024

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ISBN: 9781071855898