School Privatizer to Head US Department of Education

By Bob Peterson In this Nov. 19, 2016 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos pose for photographs at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Trump has chosen charter school advocate DeVos as Education Secretary in his administration. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) (Carolyn Kaster) While it is doubtful that US President-elect Donald […]

Trump and Our Students

Dear Rethinking Schools friends, And so it begins. At a high school in rural Oregon, south of Portland, 30 to 40 white students celebrated Trump this week in front of a Confederate flag and taunted Latina/o students: “Pack your bags, you’re leaving tomorrow,” and “Tell your family goodbye.” Graffiti found in a Minnesota high school bathroom […]

Racisim, Xenophobia, and the Election

By the Editors of Rethinking Schools As teachers and students return to classrooms this fall, together we have to try to make sense of a tumultuous presidential campaign and a summer of racial violence that have forcefully surfaced the racism that plagues our nation. Elementary and middle school students have grown up with an African American […]

Making Climate Change Part of the School Curriculum

By Katy Farber Originally published at It can be a confusing time to be a kid. People on the TV, internet, and radio say conflicting things — about climate change — with seriousness and determination. How hard to tell truth from fiction! We know that scientists agree that human caused climate change is real, and it is hurting […]

Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality on the Radio!

  KPFA, the San Francisco Bay Area progressive radio station, recently ran an engaging hour-long show on Rethinking Schools’ new book Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality. Kate Raphael, producer of KPFA’s Women’s Magazine, interviewed RSGS editor and contributor Jody Sokolower and contributors Liza Gesuden, Candice Valenzuela, and A.J. Jennings. The far-ranging conversation included how to […]

The Roots of Racist Violence in Milwaukee

Editor’s note: Milwaukee is the latest city to erupt as a result of the police shooting of a Black man. As in Ferguson and Baltimore, the outrage in Milwaukee last weekend was rooted in long-standing anger toward the city’s multi-faceted racism. Milwaukee has been home to Rethinking Schools since our founding in 1986. Its schools […]

Readying Students for the Conflagration

By Brian Gibbs and Holly Gibbs When the LA Times reported that there was negative backlash from the Portland School Board’s decision to make certain that climate change was accurately described in all textbooks and instructional materials we had two reactions: A shrugging “Of course.” And, an exasperated “We’re still arguing about this? In 2016, […]

Nation’s Largest Teachers Union Endorses Teaching “Climate Justice”

By Bill Bigelow In May, the Portland, Oregon school board passed the country’s first comprehensive “climate justice” resolution. The school board voted unanimously to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities,” and called for all […]

A Dialogue with the Curriculum of Our Nation: A Critical Reading of Moments

Courtney Cook sent this poetic response to the murder of Philando Castile to Rethinking Schools. We wanted to share it with our readers as a source of healing and a call to action. Cook is a former high school English teacher who has been engaged in justice work and critical education in high schools, prisons, and youth-run organizations. She currently teaches Sociocultural Issues in Education at University of Texas at Austin.

Abandoning Doubt & Denial, School District Officially Embraces Climate Literacy

By Bill Bigelow In what may be a first in the nation, this week the Portland, Oregon school board passed a sweeping “climate justice” resolution that commits the school district to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its roots […]

Why I’m voting for MORE

By Adam Sanchez This article was written by Rethinking Schools editor and New York City public school teacher Adam Sanchez. Rethinking Schools does not make endorsements in elections — whether for political or union office — but we have long been concerned with transforming teacher unions. Given the broad issues that Sanchez raises, we think that his article deserves […]

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth

By Tim Swinehart “We can’t hunt [because] the ice is receding. People are going hungry,” says one voice. “Us, too! It’s food. We can’t grow it in the desert,” says another. The speakers are my students, who have taken on the voices of different indigenous people during a role play on the impact of climate […]

Opting Out of the Education Reform Industry

High-stakes tests provide the data that is the very fuel of the corporate education reform machine. By opting out of these tests, students, parents, and teachers have the power to take away the data. With the data seized and the machine deprived of its fuel, the corporate reformers cannot produce public education for private gain. This is why opting out is so threatening to the reform industry—and it should be.

Six Reasons Why the Opt Out Movement is Good for Students and Parents of Color

By Jesse Hagopian, first published in The Progressive magazine Corporate education reformers who seek to reduce teaching and learning to a single score are beginning to realize they are losing the public relations battle. Hundreds of thousands of families across the country are opting out in what has become largest revolt against high-stakes testing in […]

Hoodies Up! Black Lives Matter!

By Moé Yonamine “I don’t understand why people talk about him like he’s a criminal. He was a 17 year-old kid,” Kiana said. Kiana was one of more than 100 students in my Mock Trial classes at Roosevelt High School in Portland, Oregon. As the most diverse high school in the state, our students brought […]

Have you seen my dad? image

“¿Qué es deportar?”: Teaching from students’ lives by Sandra L. Osorio

Image Credit: Joe Brusky  (Text available in Spanish on our website.)  Our class was part of a developmental bilingual program with all native Spanish speakers. I had introduced literature discussions the previous year when I had the same students in 1st grade, but now I was carefully choosing books with themes I thought would resonate with my […]

Cuentos del corazón (Stories from the Heart): Fall Issue

Letter from the Editors ​Nothing reveals our attitudes about our students more clearly than the stance we take toward their home languages. Do we advocate for students’ right to education in their home language? Do we welcome their multilingual “stories from the heart,” and use them to anchor our curriculum, or do we demand English-only […]

Columbus Protest at UW-Madison

Time to Abolish Columbus Day

By Bill Bigelow Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop. Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Taínos to Spain. Columbus described those […]

Solidarity with Seattle Education Association

Dear Seattle Education Association, Rethinking Schools editors and staff express our solidarity as you go on strike for better schools for your students along with their families and for just compensation and working conditions for your members. We have followed your negotiations carefully and we know that this is a strike for justice. As Seattle […]

Urgent Action Alert: Chicago Hunger Strike

Rethinking Schools expresses solidarity with the 12 parents, grandparents, educators, and their supporters who are in the second week of a hunger strike for the Dyett High School of Global Leadership and Green Technology, an open enrollment public high school in Chicago’s historic African American Bronzeville neighborhood. Our friends and colleagues with Chicago’s Teachers for […]

Black Students’ Lives Matter: Building the school-to-justice pipeline

By the editors of Rethinking Schools Read the full article on our website: We’re at a tipping point. The killings of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Renisha McBride—and far too many other African Americans—have put to rest the myth of a “post-racial” America. In death, these Black youth—shot down with impunity because […]

The Children of Gaza

This editorial is featured in our upcoming issue: Teaching in Black and White. Subscribe today! Like millions around the world, Rethinking Schools editors have been horrified and angered by Israel’s assault on the Palestinian people of Gaza. Of the more than 2,100 Palestinians killed, the vast majority civilians, more than 500 have been children. The images […]

Teach About Mike Brown. But Don’t Stop There.

By Renée Watson   This time last summer, I researched articles and collected poems about police brutality, racial profiling, and the murders of black men in the United States. The George Zimmerman verdict was fresh on my mind and I wanted to talk about it with my students once school was back in session. I […]

“The Library That Target Built” and other articles from our Summer Issue

“The Library that Target Built,” by teacher-librarian Rachel Cloues, reveals what happened when Target donated a library “makeover” to a San Francisco elementary school: the district’s anti-branding policy wasn’t enough to keep the students from being engulfed by corporate messaging. Rethinking Schools’ summer 2014 issue, “Targeting Books and Films.”  asks how are media affecting students, and […]