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Women of Excellence in Education: Dr. Lisa Delpit, Ph.D (1982), Ph.D (1986)

Celebrating Black Women of Excellence in Education:  Dr. Lisa Delpit, Ph.D. (1982). Ph.D. (1986)

Lisa Delpit currently lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is the Felton G. Clark Professor of Education at Southern University.  Among Dr. Delpit’s other published books, she is the proud author of two bestsellers, Other People’s Children and Multiplication is for White People. Dr. Delpit is a social activist in the education arena and is a voice for the black child whose voice is often unheard and unechoed among difference-makers in academia.

Lisa Delpit, Ph.D. is an educationalist whom Harvard’s Graduate School of Excellence recognizes as a “visionary scholar and reformer” in academia. Dr. Delpit has spent the past four decades actively promoting access to equal education, especially for children of color.[1] In her quest to ensure that children of color access the same quality education afforded to children of affluence, Dr. Delpit engages educators to consider how two social constructs affect learning.  Those two constructs are culture and power.  Arguing that academicians must not prepare lessons that are a ‘one size fits all’, Dr. Delpit advises teachers at all levels to realize that the dynamics of culture and power affect all students. Culture and power adversely affect non-affluent students from lower-income families.  Dr. Delpit refers to these children as “Other People’s Children” in her book of the same name. In the book, Dr. Delpit argues that within the public school system, there exists the major problem of “miscommunication …(as)… primarily white teachers educate “other people’s children” and perpetuate the imbalanced power dynamics that plague our system.” [2] 

As a black educator herself, Dr. Delpit recognizes that teachers often encounter blocks to their student's learning and retention.  As a result, she encourages teachers to consider culture as the reason for the problem and to use that problem as a stepping-stone to reach students of color.  Influencing educators in the public school system to deliver culturally relevant lessons is something that Dr. Delpit continues to do.  In so doing, Dr. Delpit may ruffle feathers, inflaming some in protest for outing those who favor teaching to the affluent and powerful children rather than doing the work necessary to reach the child of color, whose only desire is to raise themselves to the same standard that white children are accustomed to because of the ever-prevalent power dynamic that is so closely related to their own culture.  Dr. Delpit continues to shatter stereotypes and empower educators and parents alike to demand an exchange of power from the education of the elite to a multicultural dynamic that ensures the success of every child within the American education system.

Operation Xcel salutes Dr. Lisa Delpit as a Black Woman of Excellence during Women’s Herstory month 2023.


[1] Harvard Graduate School of Education:100 Stories of impact: A visionary scholar and reformer. (2020). Retrieved March 13, 2023, from

[2] The New Press: Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. (2023). Retrieved March 13. 2023, from