Sixty-two years after the landmark Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision that desegregated America’s public schools, the education system is still struggling with a number of issues in classrooms, including segregation, the opportunity and achievement gaps, school funding discrepancies, improving high school graduation rates, and college enrollment and persistence.
In 2007, Dr. Claude Steele, then the Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences at Stanford University, delivered the seventh annual Jacqueline P. Danzberger Memorial Lecture, co-hosted by IEL and the National School Boards Association, on stereotype threat and why understanding it is crucial to leading students to success. In focusing on the importance of social context and social identity—whether it be age, gender, religion, income level, or race—to learning and development, Steele explored the implications of his and others’ research on the achievement gap and suggested possible solutions.
Citing the intriguing life story of former New York Times book editor Anatole Broyard, an African-American who spent much of his adult life passing as a white man to achieve career success and broader opportunities, and research on gender stereotypes and math skills and race stereotypes and I.Q. tests, Steele offered three recommendations for making classrooms places where students feel a sense of belonging:
Steele is currently executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley and has previously held administrative and leadership positions at Stanford University and Columbia University.
Read an excerpt from Steele's 2007 Jacqueline P. Danzberger Memorial Lecture, "Making School a Place Where Everyone Succeeds: Belonging is Necessary for Learning."
The Jacqueline P. Danzberger Memorial Lecture series ended in 2015.