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Shut Up and Listen

Teaching Writing that Counts in Urban Schools


Chris Knaus

Less than fifty percent of African American students graduate from high school. Their educational failure is built into the racial structure of curriculum, standardized testing, teacher preparation programs, and even teacher recruitment pathways. Shut Up and Listen argues that African American students should be taught to navigate and resist the racism perpetuated in every aspect of society and schools, and that to do so requires the development and expression of a culturally-rooted voice as a foundation for multicultural, multilingual, democratic communities. Shut Up and Listen focuses on the voices, perspectives, and experiences of urban African American students – and on their writing, to remind educators of the power of voice, and how far schools are from addressing the reality of racism.