From Literacy Enquirer: “The Deficit Gaze”

The Literacy Enquirer is a blog for literacy workers. One of its posts this year was an excerpt from an article by Curt Dudley-Marling from the Journal of Educational Controversy called “The Return of the Deficit” (5 February 2013). The excerpt provides a critique of how the US education system views students’ cultural and linguistic differences as a deficiency. Many non-American learners and non-middle-class learners face the challenge of assimilating into the cultural and linguistic norms of American society. “The price of success in school (and in society more generally) is rejection of the language and culture of their communities and families.” (

The article examines the contradictions between the American education system and American democratic philosophies. While democracy embraces differences, the US education system attempts to level out cultural and linguistic differences. The article concludes by arguing that “providing rich, engaging curricula that is respectful of the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of all American school children is in everyone’s interest.” (

To read the full article please click here.

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