Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There, Second Edition

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

H. Richard Milner IV
paper, 352 Pages
Pub. Date: February 2020
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-439-7
Price: $30.00

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cloth, 352 Pages
Pub. Date: February 2020
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-440-3
Price: $64.00

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Pub. Date: February 2020
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-441-0

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2021 PROSE Award Finalist, Education Practice and Theory Category

In the thoroughly revised second edition of Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There, H. Richard Milner IV addresses the knowledge and insights required on the part of teachers and school leaders to serve students of color. Milner focuses on a crucial issue in teacher training and professional education: the need to prepare teachers for the racially diverse student populations in their classrooms.


Milner is one of the premier voices in urban education. In the second edition of Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There, he once again demonstrates why. Through an exploration of case studies he has conducted across urban settings, he uses his research and experiences to inform, inspire, and reimagine a way forward for stakeholders in education. This work beautifully strikes the delicate balance between the theoretical and practical through the provision of an academic framework that concurrently serves as a charge and challenge. Milner’s ‘opportunity-centered teaching’ and the ideas that generate from it are essential to teaching and learning. This is a must-have book. — Christopher Emdin, Robert Naslund Endowed Chair in Curriculum and Teaching, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

Milner’s book has been my constant companion as a teacher educator. This new edition serves to do more than demonstrate that this work is still relevant. Milner extends his theoretical insights—including his work on relational efficacy and instructional agility—in ways that will guide educators on their journey to becoming the educators they want to be. Milner’s new edition should serve as a central text for all teacher education programs. — Maisha T. Winn, Chancellor’s Leadership Professor, School of Education, University of California, Davis

Milner has written an important and powerful book. When this text was originally written, Milner’s brilliant insights changed the pedagogical practice of educators around the country. With this second edition, we are even better equipped to understand how the educational experiences of the vulnerable are not due to a lack of talent or initiative, but considerable gaps in resources and opportunities. Milner builds on his rigorous conceptual and structural analysis by offering concrete strategies and solutions to practitioners of all backgrounds. While this is an invaluable resource to educators, it should be read by policy makers, administrators, scholars, and parents alike. — Marc Lamont Hill, professor and Steve Charles Chair in Media, Cities, and Solutions, Temple University, and author of Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond

In Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There, Milner leverages his deep knowledge of teachers and teaching to build a bold framework for transforming schools for youth of color. Grounded in an understanding of robust and equitable teaching, the book offers a vision for addressing diversity and opportunity gaps and imagining new futures for youth of color. An important read for teachers and teacher educators. — Kris D. Gutiérrez, professor and Carol Liu Chair in Educational Policy, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley

Milner, one of the most influential education scholars, has rewritten one of the most important books for educators. The brilliance and usefulness of the first edition are elevated in this second edition. Its groundbreaking focus on ‘opportunity-centered teaching’ makes this text a must-read for all in our field. — Shaun R. Harper, provost professor and Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership, University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education

Milner never disappoints. His writing is always clear, powerful, and centered where it needs to be, giving teachers practical tools and strategies to support student success. This book is no different. His concept of the opportunity gap gave the entire field of education a new language to boldly speak back to the relic idea of the achievement gap. Now, he has revised his timeless book, Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There, to include a teaching approach that every teacher needs—‘opportunity-centered teaching’—which transforms learning by recognizing the power of student-teacher relationships, community knowledge, and families working together for equity and justice. This book is more than a resource, it is what we desperately need to create successful schools. — Bettina Love, associate professor, College of Education, University of Georgia

In this revised edition of an important book, Milner writes truth to power and declares that students will do better once teachers know and act better. Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There compels readers to understand how opportunity gaps engender achievement disparities. To close those gaps, Milner articulates that only when students are exposed to ‘opportunity-centered teaching’—which he highlights by featuring exemplary educators steeped in the awareness of the racial, political, and economic realities of historically underserved students of color—then schooling will truly do its wonder. — Prudence Carter, dean and professor of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley

The book is at once empirical, theoretical, and practical: it is accessible and compelling to a variety of audiences, and its ideas and conclusions are clearly supported by Milner’s own research and experiences, as well as research in the field. — Teachers College Record

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About the Author

H. Richard Milner IV is Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor of Education and Professor of Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He holds courtesy professorships in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt. His research, teaching, and policy interests concern urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the social context of education. Professor Milner’s research and scholarly contributions have been recognized by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) with an Early Career Award and an Innovations in Research on Diversity in Teacher Education Award. In 2018, he was selected as the youngest ever to give the prestigious AERA Brown vs. Board of Education lecture to a record number of attendees in Washington, DC. He is also a Fellow of AERA and has received the Carl A. Grant Multicultural Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education as well as the John Dewey Society Outstanding Achievement Award for efforts to relate research to practice. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Urban Education and has published seven books, including Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms (Harvard Education Press, 2015), “These Kids Are Out of Control”: Why We Must Reimagine “Classroom Management” for Equity (Corwin Press, 2018), and the Handbook of Urban Education (Routledge Press, 2014). Professor Milner consults with schools, districts, and universities. He can be reached at

Table of Contents



Discussion Questions

Race and Education Series

Blog Post: “I Feel Sad, and I Don’t Know Why”

E-book available through online booksellers

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Richard J. Reddick, Foreword by Colette Pierce Burnette

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John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.

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Rac(e)ing to Class