Education professor’s book on unconscious bias in schools drawing national attention

Tracey Benson
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A new book co-researched and written by Cato College of Education professor Tracey Benson is drawing national coverage and acclaim for its incisive look into the role of unconscious bias in K-12 schools.

Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism,” examines the phenomenon of unconscious racial bias and describes how it negatively affects the work of educators and students in schools.

“We wrote this book to support the leaders we continue to meet who seek to interrupt the patterns of racial inequity at their schools and who feel isolated in that endeavor,” Benson said. “Readers will join us in discussing essential mindsets, leadership skills and concrete strategies to reduce the impact of racial bias in schools.”

 In order to address unconscious bias, Benson and his co-author, Sarah Fiarman, argue, educators must first be aware of the racialized context in which we live.

“[The book] pulls leaders into a developmental approach for addressing racism in schools using unconscious bias as a nonthreatening entry point. Still, [the authors] do not avoid challenging topics and skillfully aim their sights on the true reason to undertake this difficult work,” wrote Mark Anthony Gooden, professor of education leadership at Columbia University.

Since its mid-August release, “Unconscious Bias in Schools” has been featured in Educational Leadership and Edweek. It also appeared in the latest editions of the Marshal Memo (Marshall Memo 803) and The Best of the University Press: Recommendations for Smarter Reading.

Benson is currently on a multi-city book tour and has invited talks scheduled at Harvard/Hutchins CenterWilliams College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Fiarman is the director of leadership development for EL Education and a former public school teacher, principal and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education.