Volume 30, No.3

Spring 2016

The FBI is instructing high schools to report students who criticize government policies or “western corruption,” travel to “suspicious countries,” or are seen as “anarchist extremists,” according their new Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools guidelines.


This thinly veiled attack on Muslim students, as well as Black Lives Matter and other activists, makes “COINTELPRO: Teaching the FBI’s War on the Black Freedom Movement,” by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, critical reading for teachers and parents. Ursula shows how she uses the history of FBI attacks on the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King Jr., and others to illuminate current events. You’ll find it in the spring 2016 issue of Rethinking Schools magazine. 

You won’t want to miss our thought-provoking editorial, “Boycotting Occupation: Educators and Palestine,” which urges teachers to join the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel in solidarity with Palestinian human rights. The editorial is paired with “Education Under Occupation: East Jerusalem,” an interview with Palestinian education activist Zakaria Odeh.

We depend on RS editor Stan Karp for policy wisdom. In “ESSA: NCLB Repackaged,” he explains the Every Student Succeeds Act, which just replaced No Child Left Behind—what’s different and what’s not.

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  • COINTELPRO: Teaching the FBI’s War on the Black Freedom Movement

    By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

    Students learn about the FBI’s counterintelligence program of the 1960s and 70s. They see the roots of Black Lives Matter—and the attacks on it—in the history of Martin Luther King Jr. and Fred Hampton.

  • ESSA: NCLB Repackaged

    By Stan Karp

    Its total failure and the movement against standardized testing finally brought the demise of No Child Left Behind. But is its successor, the Every Student Succeeds Act, any better?

  • Education Under Occupation: East Jerusalem

    An interview with Zakaria Odeh

    By Jody Sokolower

    An on-the-ground account of the impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian children from the perspective of East Jerusalem.

  • Cultivando sus voces

    1st graders develop their voices learning about farmworkers

    By Marijke Conklin

    Emerging bilingual 1st graders research farmworkers by visiting a strawberry farm and reading lots of books. Then they write their own stories.

  • El corazón de la escuela/The Heart of the School

    The importance of bilingual school libraries

    By Rachel Cloues

    A public school teacher-librarian describes a vibrant library program—and exposes the harm when librarians are seen as dispensable and libraries become testing centers.

  • El corazón de la escuela

    La importancia de las bibliotecas bilingües en las escuelas

    By Rachel Cloues

    Una maestra bibliotecaria describe los dinámicos programas de su biblioteca y expone el daño causado cuando se considera a los bibliotecarios como dispensables y a las bibliotecas como el centro de los exámenes.

  • Believe Me the First Time

    By Dale Weiss

    A 2nd grader and a 4th grader share experiences on their paths toward gender identity, then join forces to create and teach a lesson promoting understanding and support.

  • Sacrifice Zones

    By Rosemarie Frascella

    An English language teacher uses Naomi Klein’s concept of sacrifice zones—from This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate—to help her immigrant students understand connections between oppression in their home countries and in the United States.

  • Zonas de Sacrificio

    By Rosemarie Frascella

    Una maestra de inglés usa el concepto de zonas de sacrificio de Naomi Klein, de Esto lo cambia todo: El capitalismo contra el clima, para ayudar a sus estudiantes inmigrantes a entender las conexiones entre la opresión en sus países de origen y en los Estados Unidos.

  • “The Most Gentrified City of the Century”

    By Becky HenkleBerry, Jeff Waters

    Middle school teachers collaborate to help students understand and critique the changes that have taken place in their Portland, Oregon, neighborhood. Their inspired students create an online resource of local history and heroes.

  • Prizes as Curriculum

    How my school gets students to “behave”

    By Kelly Lagerwerff

    A paraprofessional exposes the harm of substituting compliance for content at a school for special needs students.

  • Boycotting Occupation: Educators and Palestine

    By The Editors of Rethinking Schools

    “They are targeting our children. They know our children are the future of Palestine,” a mother and community activist told Rethinking Schools editor Jody Sokolower. In this Palestinian woman’s East […]

  • Reining in Military Recruiting

    By Seth Kershner

    In 2012, Kate Connell — a photographer with two children in the Santa Barbara public schools — learned that her son’s freshman seminar had a Marine recruiter as a guest […]

  • Our picks for books and other resources for social justice teaching 30.3

    Check out these valuable resources, reviewed by Rethinking Schools editors and Teaching for Change colleagues.

  • Memories

    By Herb Kohl

    Ethan Michaeli’s The Defender is a beautifully written, passionate account of the history and influence of the Chicago-based African American weekly newspaper the Defender. The first issue was published in […]