Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There

Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Today’s Classrooms

H. Richard Milner IV, foreword by Gloria Ladson-Billings
paper, 256 Pages
Pub. Date: November 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-934742-76-1
Price: $29.00

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2012 Outstanding Book Award, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
2010 Critics' Choice Book Award, American Educational Studies Association (AESA)

A new edition of Start Where You Are, But Don't Stay There is available. Learn more.

Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There addresses a crucial issue in teacher training and professional education: the need to prepare pre-service and in-service teachers for the racially diverse student populations in their classrooms. A down-to-earth book, it aims to help practitioners develop insights and skills for successfully educating diverse student bodies.


This is a wonderful text that should be required reading for teacher education programs. Based on literature, best practices, and syntheses of learning sciences and social realities, the book debunks myths held by even the most open-minded and well-intentioned people in our society. It provides immensely helpful examples of strategies for reducing opportunity gaps for disadvantaged children, so that they too can reach—and exceed—their goals. — Lee E. Limbird, Dean, School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Business, Fisk University

If you thought excellent teaching is based on instinct rather than learning, think again. Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There offers wonderfully vivid case studies of practicing teachers who have learned to succeed teaching students who come from backgrounds dissimilar from—and sometimes similar to—their own. In this significant and uplifting book, Milner shares his optimism and his wisdom about teachers’ potential to become border-crossers who can reach all of their students by first reaching into themselves. — Christine Sleeter, professor emerita, California State University, Monterey Bay, and president, National Association for Multicultural Education

This engaging and informative book is enriched by compelling examples of teachers in the process of becoming adept at their craft. Milner provides educators with the knowledge, insights, and inspiration that will help them to create schools in which all students have equal opportunities to learn. — James A. Banks, Kerry and Linda Killinger Endowed Chair in Diversity Studies and founding director, Center for Multicultural Education, University of Washington, Seattle

A thoughtful and insightful analysis of what it takes to educate all children, especially those who have traditionally been poorly served by our nation’s schools. The ideas and recommendations presented in this book will serve as useful guides to educators, policy makers, and others who are seeking ways to create successful schools. — Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University

The stories Milner tells about instructional competence, caring, and facilitation are compelling examples of culturally responsive teaching in action and effect. They show that educational excellence is truly possible for children of color in U. S. schools. — Geneva Gay, professor of curriculum and instruction, University of Washington

This book is a must-read for educators at all levels. It showcases teachers and students improving together and doing what it takes to succeed. We will use this book as a resource for turning around our school! — Perry L. Daniel, principal, Prescott Middle School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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About the Author

H. Richard Milner IV is associate professor of education and a founding director of the graduate program Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Professor Milner is also a faculty affiliate in education at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. A former high school teacher, Milner has served as a visiting professor in urban education at the University of Texas-Austin and was named a visiting lecturer in the graduate program of education at York University in Toronto, Canada, where he taught in the Language, Culture and Teaching program. His teaching, research, and policy interests concern urban education, teacher education, English education, and the sociology of education. Professor Milner’s research and scholarly contributions have been recognized with an Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association and the Carl A. Grant Multicultural Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education. He is the incoming senior editor of the journal Urban Education. Professor Milner has also edited several books, including Race, Ethnicity, and Education (coedited with E. Wayne Ross, 2006), Diversity and Education: Teachers, Teaching, and Teacher Education (2009), and Culture, Curriculum, and Identity in Education (2010). Professor Milner consults with schools and districts concerning diversity and opportunity both domestically and internationally.