From the Race to the Top to
the Plunge to the Bottom

The Pandemic and Federal Education Policy


Summer 2020

Teaching Voting Rights in the Time of Coronavirus

What Our Students Should Know About the Struggle for the Ballot — but Won’t Learn from Their Textbooks

By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment, which promised “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Given the dizzying array of disruptions to our lives in this moment of pandemic, one could be forgiven for failing to register this anniversary. But the fight for voting rights enshrined in the 15th Amendment is still very much alive, and more critical now than ever — and needs to be taught to every student in this country.

“I Don’t Like China or Chinese People Because They Started This Quarantine”

The History of Anti-Chinese Racism and Disease in the United States

By Wayne Au

In this moment, teachers building online social justice curriculum and parents assisting with distance learning are in a position to teach our children about historical injustices such as those visited upon the Chinese American community at the turn of the 20th century, as well as share historical victories won through resistance and protestations. And we can make connections to this history as we organize to resist anti-Asian racism during the coronavirus crisis.

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Rethinking Schools is the country’s leading grassroots magazine for social and racial justice in education.

About Rethinking Schools

Rethinking Schools began in 1986, when a group of Milwaukee education activists — teachers, teacher educators, and community members — met to talk about how they could bring more critical voices into the conversation about public schools and libraries. These founding Rethinking Schools editors saw a school curriculum that was conservative, dumbed-down, and dominated by corporate-produced textbooks. Inappropriate standardized testing was rampant. Racial bias infected every level of schooling.