Introducing Rethinking Schools

The crisis in education continues. Young people find themselves confronting an educational system ill-suited to prepare them for life. Teachers find their creativity buried under increasing paperwork and administrative interference. Parents often experience schools as intimidating and unresponsive. Schools are marked by boredom, overcrowded classrooms, increasing violence, and a growing incapacity to help students acquire the basic knowledge and critical thinking skills they need. Several years of desegregation and compensatory programs have failed to close the profound gap between the achievanent levels of white and non-white students.

Rethinking Schools is dedicated to helping parents, teachers, and students solve these problems. As teachers and community members, we want to promote thoughtful discussion and debate on educational Issues and help unite the many groups currently working to make schools better. Discussion of educational issues is often dominated by administrators and educational consultants. We hope, that Rethinking Schools will help give teachers, parents, and students an effective voice in determining the future of our schools.

Rethinking Schools will be broad in scope, but will also focus on certain concerns. In upcoming issues we plan to consider the following questions: 

  1. How can parents, teachers, and students gain more powerful roles in determining school policies and practices?
  2. What must be done to overcome the significant racial, gender, and class inequalities which prevent many students from receiving an equal and effective education?
  3. What specific approaches can teachers use to empower students within the classroom and the community? How can we make meaningful, community based work experience an integral part of each child’s education?
  4. What can we do to insure that multicultural and anti-racist education takes place?
  5. What creative and peaceful methods can we use to resolve conflicts among students, and conflicts between students and teachers?
  6. What specific teaching techniques and materials have proven successful in our efforts to motivate students?

Rethinking Schools will take up these and other issues with two goals in mind. First, we want to provide a forum which encourages debate and dialogue. Second, we want to act as an advocate for educational policies we believe to be sound and necessary.

As we balance advocacy with debate, we will also need to balance the theoretical with the inractical. We will complement reasoned critiques with positive examples of way in which teachers and parents are overcoming problems. Wg will strive to provide both informed analysis of controversial issues and specific ideas that teachers and parents can use to help young people learn more effectively.

Our new journal will need your help. Rethinking Schools can only succeed if it has your suggestions, letters, articles, and financial support. Please join us in this effort to enliven and improve education in the Milwaukee area.