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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award

Drawing on personal stories, research, and historical events, an esteemed educator offers a vision of educational justice inspired by the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists.

Drawing on her life’s work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex.

To dismantle the educational survival complex and to achieve educational freedom - not merely reform - teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the imagination, determination, boldness, and urgency of an abolitionist. Following in the tradition of activists like Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, and Fannie Lou Hamer, We Want to Do More Than Survive introduces an alternative to traditional modes of educational reform and expands our ideas of civic engagement and intersectional justice.

©2019 Bettina Love (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A useful rejoinder, half a century on, to Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed; deserving of a broad audience among teachers and educational policymakers.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Through unflinching and daring inquiry, Dr. Bettina Love has stepped out on faith to articulate our pain, suffering, and eternal search for joy. Her words resurrect the abolitionist credo of ‘education’ over ‘school.’ Because they are two different things, the question remains: can school be the place where education happens or do we need to radically rethink what we’re doing? Dr. Love’s work suggests that if we do not choose the latter, we are complicit in our own demise.” (David Stovall, professor of African American studies and criminology, law, and justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, and co-author of Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools

“This text is helpful for gaining a better grasp of oppression and what teachers can do about it.” (Library Journal)

What listeners say about We Want to Do More Than Survive

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Must read for all parents and educators

I would have preferred this to have been read by Dr. Love but I got over that. I kept stopping the book to take notes. This may be one hat is better in hard copy. A must read. As a 20 year veteran educator, there were lots of new concepts that I hadn’t thought about. Should be included in all teacher-trainer programs.

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Had potential...

This book is certainly speaking about an important message. My primary complaint is that I do not think that it is written in a manner that either 1) gives people already knowledgeable in the area new information, or 2) eases newcomers to the topic. The author seemed to provide details where I needed none in some places, while staying high level and/or making unsubstantiated claims in other places where details would have strengthen the argument. While I found myself getting emotional and resonating with certain parts of the book, I was ultimately confused with whom the intended audience was.

At best this book could do well in a book club-type setting where people who otherwise do not interact with each other can have a reason to gather around and talk about some important issues of this world. Incidentally, a book club is exactly why I read this book in the first place. But as someone who has read So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo, I would rather be doing a book club on that book.

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necessary read for 2020

it might take some time to digest, but this is a necessary read for 2020

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If I could go back in time

I wish I’d had this book, this teacher, this eye and mind opening words fill my preservice education-if I could go back and recraft my undergrad and grad courses. I can’t go back, so going forward I will strive be an abolitionist teacher-friend-community member-colleague. Thank you Dr. Love.

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Good Book But No Clear Takeaway

I think the author presented some interesting points that are not often discussed. For example, how Brown vs. Board of Education might have created an adverse effect of its intent. The ruling was supposed to make public schools equitable but now we have a situation where schools allow for integration but socioeconomic status determines the resources provided. That has negatively impacted schools in lower income communities. Ms. Love argues that before the 1954 ruling, schools were segregated but they were equal. This is one of many examples she brought up that was thought provoking. That said, it was unclear what the author’s intent was from the book. It appeared to be solely focused on how the black community and minorities have been disenfranchised by American institutions in the guise of “whiteness.” I was disappointed she didn’t offer any tangible solutions on the path forward and so status quo is maintained.

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A must-read!

A phenomenal book that illuminated so much for me. Discusses issues in race and education, using stories, statistics, example from history. What I appreciate most about this book is it gives actual direction and suggestions for how to be an abolitionist teacher. Moved far beyond just discussing dark suffering (see chapter on Black Joy)

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If there was ever one book to read, this is it.

I am in awe at how expansive, comprehensive, and poignant this book is in explaining the structures of whiteness surrounding dark youth and the principles and strategies necessary to understand and resist those structures. Bettina love's emotional insights articulate so much of what I had struggled to comprehend up until now about creating safe, healing mental spaces for dark lives.

This is THE best book I have read so far on how to be an activist, or "co-conspirator", in building and supporting antiracist communities and movements. I think I need the print version as well, in order to highlight important passages and reference for further research. Love provides a cornucopia of sources she drew from for our benefit of diving deeper, and this book definitely inspires one to do just that.

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amazing

amazing book with great historical references and teaching as well as guidance for our future. highly recommend

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Wow

Worth reading and receiving. allow your mind and thoughts to be transfigured and imploded by way of reflection and empathy.

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necessary reading/listening

This is a book all educators, parents, and law makers should read. It is very thought provoking and explains how important it is that White people take on the fight against racial injustice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-20

A love letter to the world of freedom in education

I liked it all especially the need and urgent gap on teachers training in cultures. There is a line at the very beginning that grabbed my attention to why this matters: ". . .to remind you how worthless human being you are".