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ERIC Number: ED538239
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
A Mind-Set Is a Difficult Thing to Change: Why Reforming Low-Performing Schools Requires Eradicating Negative Beliefs about Students. The Claremont Letter. Volume 2, Issue 3
Thompson, Gail
Claremont Graduate University (NJ1)
Numerous researchers have devoted their careers to school reform. At the same time, many politicians have gotten elected by promising to fix failing schools. Although a lot of time, energy, and money have been invested in tackling this problem, the problem persists: Too many schools in the United States are failing to prepare too many students for admission to four-year colleges and universities or to be eligible for decent-paying jobs immediately after high school (Kozol, 2005). Though the topics of school reform and the achievement gaps have generated a lot of research, discussion, and controversy, one related topic that hasn't received as much attention as it should is the effects of negative mind-sets, attitudes, and beliefs about low-performing students. In recent years, the author has become increasingly convinced that true reform won't ever occur until detrimental mind-sets have been addressed and eradicated. To put it bluntly, many of the people who are in a position to improve schools harbor beliefs that are counterproductive to what they say they want to do, and that actually end up harming the same groups of students who have historically underachieved. In this article, the author describes four common harmful mind-sets about African American, Latino, and low-income students that she has identified through her research and from the work of other researchers, and shows how these mind-sets affect students. One harmful mind-set involves parents, the other three pertain to the students themselves, and taken together these mind-sets have contributed to the inequality of educational opportunity that remains rampant in the United States.
Claremont Graduate University. School of Educational Studies, 150 East Tenth Street, Claremont, CA 91711. Tel: 909-621-8000; Fax: 909-621-8734; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Claremont Graduate University
Identifiers - Location: United States