Research and Approach
We know that children "see" race. As early as 3-6 months old, babies notice and respond differently to people based on skin color (Kelly et al., 2005). Children as young as two have used race to draw conclusions about people's behavior (Hirschfield, 2008). Some children will even begin to show pro-white bias by age three (Baron and Banaji, 2006).
But our children are not doomed to repeat or live in systems of oppression. One of the best ways to improve racial attitudes and resilience in children of all races is to have regular, honest conversations about race (Tatum, 2017; Katz, 2003). These conversations, the ones Ripple Reads facilitates, provide children with the foundation of understanding they need to recognize and challenge racial biases and systemic inequality they'll encounter as they grow.
Guided by Experts
We are honored to have the guidance of Dr. Keffrelyn Brown and Dr. Anthony Brown at each step in the development and growth of Ripple Reads. The Browns are the co-founders and co-directors of the Center for Innovation in Race, Teaching, and Curriculum at the University of Texas' College of Education. From helping select books to creating effective in-home curriculum, the Browns' depth of knowledge on best practices for discussing race with children shines through everything Ripple Reads sends out into the world.
Dr. Keffrelyn Brown
Keffrelyn D. Brown (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Professor and Distinguished University Teaching Professor of Cultural Studies in Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She is also the co-founder and co-director for the Center for Innovation in Race, Teaching, and Curriculum (CIRTC). She holds faculty appointments in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and the Center for Women and Gender Studies. Her research and teaching focuses on the sociocultural knowledge of race in teaching and curriculum, critical multicultural teacher education, and the educational discourses and intellectual thought related to African Americans and their educational experiences in the U.S.
Keffrelyn has published over 45 books, journal articles, book chapters and other educational texts. Her most recent book, After the "At-Risk" Label: Reorienting Risk in Educational Policy and Practice was published by Teachers College Press. Keffrelyn has received recognition for both her research and teaching. She has received the Division K Mid-career Award (2017) and the Kappa Delta Pi/Division K Early Career Research Award (2012) from the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Her current research study explores teaching about race and slavery. Keffrelyn has received numerous fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and the Wisconsin-Spencer Foundation Research Training Grant. In 2012 she received the Regent's Outstanding Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor given for excellence in undergraduate teaching across the University of Texas system. In 2019, she was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at UT-Austin, a group of only 5% of all tenured faculty.
Keffrelyn is a recognized and sought-out presenter and curriculum/program developer in her local and national communities. As a former elementary and middle school teacher and school curriculum administrator, she is keen to the everyday challenges around teaching for justice and equity. She is also Mom to two school-aged children: Kanaan and Kythe. Keffrelyn holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from University of Houston.
Dr. Anthony Brown
Anthony Brown is a Professor of Curriculum & Instruction in Social Studies Education. He also is an affiliated faculty in the areas of cultural studies in education, the John Warfield Center of African and African American studies and the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies. He received his B.A and M.A. in political science from California State University-Long Beach and received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
His research agenda falls into two interconnected strands of research, related broadly to the education of African Americans. His first strand of research examines how educational stakeholders make sense of and respond to the educational needs of African American male students. The second strand examines how school curriculum depicts the historical experiences of African Americans in official school knowledge (e.g. standards and textbooks) and within popular discourse.
Overall, his work pursues a theoretical argument, which suggests that the examination of the historical and racial constructions of African Americans within the social sciences, educational literature, popular discourse and curriculum is vital to making sense of how questions are raised and how educational and curricular reforms are pursued for African American students in the present. His work has been published in Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Race Ethnicity and Education and the Journal of Educational Policy.