A mock battle highlights the line between role-playing and re-enactment.
Under pressure from parents, a high school English teacher assigns a classic: Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Her students’ reactions lead her to a deeper understanding of what’s wrong with “the canon.”
A high school English teacher and a media arts teacher team up to teach a unit on identity. Students combine personal writing with vivid photography, creating large banners that become public art.
A teacher educator critiques the biases of story problems in math textbooks. Teachers around the country offer creative alternatives.
Teachers learn that the district’s plan for a desperately needed school renovation is based on “100 percent utilization” — teachers will rotate through classrooms, losing the home bases students depend on. They organize to change the plan.
A math educator brings data from a friend’s solar panels — and the story to win them in their community — into her 7th-grade classroom to build a bridge between math and climate justice education.
So often, the climate crisis is presented in frightening, threatening terms: rising seas, superstorms, raging wildfires, unlivable temperatures, species extinction, disappearing glaciers, dying coral, climate refugees. These are real. But the paradox is that this dystopian possibility is forcing us to imagine an entirely different kind of society. Schools have a central role to play in devising new alternatives and equipping young people to bring those alternatives to life. This is the work we’ve been assigned.
The central tasks of the 2020 campaign are to defeat Trump and to strengthen the impact of grassroots social movements on the U.S. political system. If we pursue these goals with energy, hope, and passion, we will win a chance to build the world our students deserve.
Unfortunately, the transformative history of Reconstruction has been buried. First by a racist tale masquerading as history and now under a top-down narrative focused on white elites. It’s long overdue we unearth the groundswell of activity that brought down the slavers of the South and set a new standard for freedom we are still struggling to achieve today.
A high school ethnic studies teacher describes how students in the Pacific Island Club used poetry to refocus the narrative surrounding climate justice onto frontline communities.
The largest civil rights protest wasn’t in the South, it was in New York City in 1964 when hundreds of thousands of students stayed home to protest school segregation. Here’s how today’s students reacted to a lesson about this historic boycott.
We asked a group of radical educators to weigh in on what they hoped would be part of any 2020 presidential candidate’s education platform.
“We have something to tell you but we’re worried about getting you too involved. We don’t want to get you in trouble,” Baylee and Zaida whispered excitedly as they wiggled through the crack in my classroom door on my prep. I was confused to see them in such high spirits because earlier in the day they had been crushed by news from our administration. For more than two months they had been part of our Restorative Justice club that had been planning two half-day workshops around women empowerment for female-identifying students and toxic masculinity for male-identifying students. The club of 11 demographically diverse students had been urging adults in our building to do something about sexual harassment since October, when they made sexual assault and harassment their Restorative Justice club theme of the month and visited 9th grade classes to lead circles on the topic. This opened up a door for 9th graders to continue to reach out to upperclassmen about the harassment they were facing.
The wave of struggles sweeping through the United States are more than “red state” revolts. They are rebellions against the austerity and privatization that has been driving federal and state economic policy for decades. The dynamics and political landscape are different in each state. However, almost all of the states where statewide actions have occurred are right-to-work states, which have seen the steepest cuts in school funding and sharpest erosion of teacher pay and benefits. These states are less likely to have collective bargaining rights and local district contracts. This puts more focus on state budgets and state decisions about healthcare and pensions, and encourages statewide action focused on the legislature. Consequently, many of the walkouts have been more akin to mass political protests seeking broad changes in public policy. But other common factors underlying these grassroots protests are likely to keep rebellion spreading to “purple” states like Colorado (where there was a walkout in April) and North Carolina (May) and beyond. Almost everywhere in “red states” and “blue states” alike, budget and tax policy has been used to erode social services, shrink public space, undermine union power, and transfer wealth upward, all the while making the lives of working people harder.
It has always been an educator’s responsibility to act in solidarity with vulnerable students. But with President Donald Trump’s September declaration that he will end DACA, we are called on to be more audacious, more resolute, and more imaginative in our solidarity with the 800,000 undocumented young people who now face a frightening uncertainty about their future in the United States.
An elementary teacher tells how she works to include her Muslim students in the life of her classroom. “We can use or create curriculum and projects that allow students to learn about and incorporate their culture and religious practices if they want to. We can be deliberate in including, making space for, and recognizing our students in all aspects of their identities. Making schools inclusive doesn’t have to be a guessing game.”
The increasing violence against Muslims, Sikhs, South Asians, and others targeted as Muslim, suggests we, as Americans, are becoming less tolerant and need educational interventions that move beyond post-9/11 teaching strategies that emphasize our peacefulness or oversimplify our histories, beliefs, and rituals in ways that often lead to further stereotyping.
A high school social studies teacher centers Standing Rock Sioux history and leadership in a unit on resistance to DAPL.
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.
An early childhood educator shows how far-ranging discussions can open children’s eyes to a broader understanding of relationships, including same-sex marriage and not getting married at all.
A middle school teacher tries to implement restorative practices in her classroom. It’s harder than she thought.
Una maestra de preescolar demuestra cómo una variedad de conversaciones pueden ampliar el conocimiento de los niños sobre las relaciones interpersonales, incluyendo los matrimonios del mismo sexo y las parejas que no se casan.
How can we create classrooms and schools where discrimination and assumptions about gender and/or sexuality don’t keep us from nurturing every child, parent, and staff member?
A teacher redesigns her curriculum to support a gay student. As the classroom community strengthens, they confront the impact of poverty and geographic isolation.
Facing conflict fueled by racism and homophobia at his school, a teacher develops curriculum for the school-to-prison pipeline aimed at building bridges and academic skills.