chapter  11
From Outside Agitators to Inside Implementers: Improving the Literacy Education of Vernacular and Creole Speakers
ByANGELA E. RICKFORD, JOHN R. RICKFORD
Pages 19

Forty years ago, linguists working in the United States and the Anglophone Caribbean (e.g., Labov, 1968, p. 1; Le Page, 1968) observed that students who spoke African American Vernacular English (AAVE) or Caribbean Creole English performed poorly on achievement tests of reading and the language arts relative to their peers who spoke varieties closer to the standard English that was expected and rewarded in schools. For almost as long, linguists and tertiary level educators have also served as critics of existing approaches to literacy education for vernacular and Creole speakers in schools, from the elementary to the university level. But vernacular and Creole speakers continue to underperform academically,2 and there are increasing opportunities now for us to propose and implement changes from the inside.3 So what do we need to know and do to move our contributions to a higher and more successful level-from that of outside agitators to inside implementers?