A Letter to Our Readers

By Bill Bigelow

Dear Rethinking Schools friends,

To borrow from Dickens, for Rethinking Schools this has been the best of times and the worst of times.

The best?

We’ve never played a more important role in the movement to transform and defend public education. Some examples:

  • Through articles in the magazine and our Not Waiting for Superman website, we provided a powerful critique of the simplistic message of the film Waiting for “Superman.” Tens of thousands have used the website, visited our Facebook page, and drawn inspiration from our pushback.
  • Rethinking Schools editors played key roles as organizers, participants, and reporters in the unprecedented rebellion against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s reactionary initiatives. The Wisconsin Uprising inspired educators and activists everywhere.
  • Our work exposing Scholastic’s link to the coal industry and its 4th grade pro-coal curriculum touched off a storm of media attention and activism—and forced this gigantic education publisher to entirely revise its policy of producing curriculum for hire.
  • Our Zinn Education Project has become the key site for teachers hoping to “teach outside the textbook” and offer students an independent people’s history curriculum.
  • And we managed this year to publish two fabulous books—the second edition of The New Teacher Book and Rethinking Popular Culture and Media —and put out four of our best-ever issues of Rethinking Schools magazine.

And the worst of times?

We’ve never seen such a concerted attack on public schools and teachers—never seen such an attempt to undermine public schools in favor of a host of privatization schemes.

And Rethinking Schools’ financial health has never been more precarious. We are barely hanging on, despite the fact that almost all of our editors are volunteers and each of our five staff members juggles multiple projects for low salaries.

It’s hard for us to ask our readers and supporters for money. That’s not what we do. We teach. We write. We organize. We try to make the world a better place.

But we depend on your generous financial contributions to continue this work. Please support our defense of schools and kids and justice with a donation that matches your appreciation for Rethinking Schools.

Thank you. All of our work depends on all of your work.


Bill Bigelow

For the Rethinking Schools editors and staff

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Or send your tax-deductible donation to: Rethinking Schools, 1001 East Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, WI