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Rethinking Schools and the Zinn Education Project are partnering with an exciting project: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. This “multi-platform” project includes the new book by Naomi Klein (No Logo, The Shock Doctrine), a feature documentary inspired by the book, and an ambitious outreach strategy to share the ideas behind these works with educators and activists, starting in Fall 2014.

Forget everything you think you know about global warming. The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism. The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.

 [...] We have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. We have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it—it just requires breaking every rule in the “free-market” playbook: reining in corporate power, rebuilding local economies, and reclaiming our democracies.

 We have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge. In fact, all around the world, the fight for the next economy and against reckless extraction is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring.

Jacket copy, This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein

 

thischangeseverything_collageThe premise of the project is that dealing with the climate crisis requires us to fundamentally rethink how we organize social and economic life. No doubt, this is scary and overwhelming. But this work has a hopeful dimension.

Imagining solutions to the climate crisis involves imagining solutions to a host of other social problems, from economic inequality to public health to job creation to indigenous rights—even to the quality of the food we eat. As the This Changes Everything team writes: “Climate change is more than an issue, it’s a message, one that is telling us that many of our culture’s most cherished ideas about our place in the world—from the quest for endless economic growth to the assumption of Western supremacy to the limitless capacity of humans to dominate nature—are no longer viable.” Rethinking Schools editorializes: “Confronting the climate emergency … demands that young people exercise their utopian imaginations to consider alternatives of all kinds.”

The team behind This Changes Everything understands the central role that education will play in enlisting students in the work of exploring the roots of the climate crisis, considering possible solutions, and coming to see themselves as climate justice activists. That’s where our This Changes Everything Writing Retreat comes in.

We hope to seed articles for Rethinking Schools magazine, and lesson plans that will be posted at the This Changes Everything and Zinn Education Project websites. Participants will come with either classroom-tested lessons relevant for addressing the climate justice themes in Naomi Klein’s forthcoming book This Changes Everything or detailed plans that can form the basis of materials that can be shared at the This Changes Everything and Zinn Education Project websites. We anticipate that this will be a weekend of lively conversation, focused writing, and at least the beginning of imaginative curriculum that will be shared with teachers throughout the English-speaking world.

christensen_bigelow

The K-12 teachers’ writing retreat will be led by Linda Christensen and Bill Bigelow. Christensen has taught for more than 40 years and directs the Oregon Writing Project. She is a Rethinking Schools editor, and is author of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word andTeaching for Joy and Justice. Bill Bigelow taught high school social studies for many years and now is the curriculum editor for Rethinking Schools and co-directs the Zinn Education Project. He is author or co-editor of many books including Rethinking Columbus, Rethinking Globalization, A People’s History for the Classroom, and the forthcoming A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching About the Environmental Crisis.

Dates and Details:

All lodging and food will be covered. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation to Portland, Oregon, although there will be some limited support for teachers for whom transportation costs would be a burden and make participation unlikely.

Participants must be able to attend the full retreat, which begins on Friday afternoon, Dec. 12 at 2 pm and runs to noon on Dec. 14, 2014.

Sept. 8    Applications are due by 11pm EST
Oct. 15   Notices sent out to applicants about selection decision
Dec. 12-14   Retreat

Application:

Please upload a Word or PDF document with responses to the following questions. The document should be a maximum of three pages with size 12 font, Times New Roman.

  • Personal statement. Briefly, please tell us a little about yourself. Include your teaching background, article and/or curriculum writing experience, and social/environmental justice activism. Feel free to add anything else you’d like to mention.
  • If you have taught about the environment and/or the climate crisis, please describe that work.
  • Why would you like to participate in the Zinn Education Project/This Changes Everything Writing Retreat?
  • Please tell us something about your formal writing experience—e.g., articles you’ve published, lessons or other curriculum you’ve authored, etc.
  • What is your involvement with social justice education activism and organizations—e.g., Rethinking Schools, the Zinn Education Project, Teaching for Change, the Teacher Activist Group network, teacher union activism, etc.?
  • Please include at least one sample of an article or piece of curriculum that you have written.
  • Because we want the Writing Retreat to be racially and ethnically diverse, please indicate how you identify racially and/or ethnically.

Please submit your application as a Word or PDF file through our online form.

Questions can be sent to retreat@zinnedproject.org.

Reposted from: http://zinnedproject.org/2014/08/this-changes-everything-writing-retreat/

Heather Cropped1Heather DuCloux, who joined the board of directors last summer, recently moved to Savannah, Georgia. The Rethinking Schools board of directors oversees our financial and personnel matters. Heather has two daughters, Madeleine, 13 years old, and Emma 11. She found time in her busy schedule to talk with Rethinking Schools managing editor Jody Sokolower.

Q. I know your connection with Rethinking Schools started with your friendship with our board president, Stephanie Walters. How do you know Stephanie?

I lived in Milwaukee for a long time, and Stephanie and I met at the YMCA about 14 years ago. We were both running on the indoor track. I was just coming back from a pregnancy, and I was out of shape. I saw her going by and I thought to myself, “That girl is going to beat me. I wish I could run that fast.”

Over time, we became good friends and running partners. We’ve been in six marathons together. And I’ve been hearing about Rethinking Schools all that time.

Q: As a parent, why were you drawn to Rethinking Schools?

I’m a big public school proponent. Last year we lived in Cleveland, and my girls went to a community school they could walk to or ride their bikes. That was great. As soon as we got there, I went and introduced myself to the teachers and gave them my cell number. They were surprised because parents often don’t get involved. Now my girls are in the Savannah-Chatham County public schools. Emma just go accepted by the STEM Academy, which is part of that system. If we just put effort into the schools we have, we’ll have really good schools. It’s all about the teachers and the parents and guardians.

Q: How are you hoping to contribute to Rethinking Schools?

At my recent job, I was the chief fundraiser. That’s the one thing I’m hoping to bring to Rethinking Schools. I’m not shy about asking for money. The first year, like most people, I was afraid of the “no.” But it can’t hurt you. Now I just say, “Can I come back and ask you another time?” Usually they say, “Yes, actually you can.”

I also want to figure out what I can do about spreading RS ideas at a regional level. Here I am in a red state. The schools in this part of the country tend to be organized by county rather than by cities. It is my opinion that this allows the education board to cast a wider net of diversity: racially, economically, and academically.

There are seven counties in my area. It is my objective to connect families and educators with the grassroots work that we are projecting at Rethinking Schools. I’m excited about those possibilities.

 

Summer issue coverThe 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 how can we engage students to explore social justice themes?

In “‘May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor': Teaching Class and Collective Action with The Hunger Games,” Elizabeth Marshall and Matthew Rosati base a role play on the wildly popular novel in order to deepen students’ understanding of social class and its impact on alliances and resistance.

Then Linda Christensen shows how she uses Myrlin Hepworth’s  poem “Ritchie Valens” to teach cultural history, “raise the bones” of a biographical poem, and inspire students to write their own poetry. You won’t want to miss her article, “Singing Up Our Ancestors.”

On the policy front, we are honored to share “Colonialism, Not Reform: New Orleans Schools Since Katrina.” This interview with parent activist Karran Harper Royal is a disturbing warning for parents and educators everywhere.

Other articles in this issue include:

Disarming the Nuclear Family” by Willow McCormick. Most children’s books-even those with animals as the protagonists–portray families with two heterosexual parents. A 2nd-grade teacher has her students create a book that represents their own more diverse families.

Image for Disarming the Nuclear Family

Illustration: Christiane Grauert

12 Years a Slave': Breaking Silences About Slavery” by Jeremy Stoddard. A teacher educator puts the award-winning 12 Years a Slave in the context of other films used to teach about slavery.

Independence or Catastrophe? Teaching Palestine through multiple perspectives” by Samia Shoman. A social studies teacher uses conflicting narratives to engage students in studying the history of Palestine/Israel, focusing on the events of 1948.

Carbon Matters: Middle school students get carbon cycle literate” by Jana Dean. A 6th-grade teacher uses the carbon cycle to help students understand climate change. Along the way, she deals with a parent who wants her to give equal time to “climate change is a myth.”

Articles in Spanish

Three articles in this issue also appear in Spanish:

La biblioteca que construyó Target  Por Rachel Cloues, traducido por Nicholas Yurchenco. Cuando Target le donó a una escuela primaria en San Francisco la remodelación de su biblioteca, la política del distrito en contra de las marcas no fue suficiente para impedir que los estudiantes fueran bombardeados por mensajes corporativos.

El desarme de la familia nuclear Por Willow McCormick, traducido por César Peña-Sandoval. La mayoría de libros para niños–hasta los que usan animales como protagonistas–retratan a las familias con dos padres heterosexuales. Una maestra de 2do grado pide que sus estudiantes creen un libro que represente la diversidad de sus propias familias.

“Que las probabilidades estén siempre a su favor” Enseñar sobre las clases sociales y la acción colectiva a través de Los juegos del hambre (The Hunger Games)Por Elizabeth Marshall y Matthew Rosati, traducido por Shireen Cotterall. Los juegos del hambre se usa como base para una dramatización que profundiza el conocimiento de los estudiantes sobre la clase social y cómo esta impacta las alianzas y la resistencia.

June 26, Rethinking Schools editor Wayne Au spoke at a Seattle rally protesting the role of the Gates Foundation in public education: “Educating the Gates Foundation.” The rally was sponsored by Washington BATS (Bad-Ass Teachers) and Washington Save Our Schools. This is the speech he delivered at the rally. 

Educating the Gates Foundation Rally Remarks

by Wayne AuWayne Au

Good evening. I’m here tonight because I am deeply concerned. I’m concerned that public education is rapidly becoming privatized. I’m concerned that we are all part of a grand experiment, one that is hurting kids and communities. I’m concerned that we are losing democratic, public accountability in public education. I’m concerned with the state of public education reform and the role of Bill Gates and his foundation.

 

You see, right now Gates and his foundation are pushing an entire set of public education reforms like charter schools and vouchers, high-stakes, standardized testing, and using tests for teacher evaluation. We are getting this set of reforms purely because he and his foundation have leveraged vast financial resources to influence and negotiate politics. They are doing this despite all countervailing evidence, and they are doing this with no democratic accountability.

 

And that is just the thing. While Gates and his foundation tinker around with charter schools, high-stakes testing, the Common Core, and the junk science of using tests to evaluate teachers, they avoid the central and most important issue that impacts educational achievement: poverty.

 

But Gates and the Gates Foundation aren’t hearing that. As far as I can see, they are not about actual educational equality and equity. Instead they seem to be about opening up public education to the marketplace.

 

In fact, Gates has said as much. Back in 2009 in the run up to the Common Core, Gates said the following:

When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching. For the first time, there will be a large base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better.

 

I find this ironic. It seems to me that Gates wants to fix inequality in public education by relying on the same market forces responsible for the crisis in housing, the crisis in medical care, the climate crisis, the massive wealth gap, and the increase in the schools-to-prisons pipeline for youth of color, amongst other national travesties.

 

And all of this has me concerned because in many ways you and I and our children are unwillingly part of a grand experiment in education reform. Back in September of 2013, Gates himself said, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.” These folks pushing these reforms do not know if they will work, but they are willing to experiment on an entire generation of children.

 

And this raises another issue that we must contend with: institutionalized racism. We know that the system of public education does not serve low-income black and brown kids like it should. Unfortunately, here in Seattle we are a great example of this given the low achievement and disproportionate discipline rates for students of color. But the question we have to ask ourselves is this: “Have these corporate styled reforms like charter schools and high-stakes testing actually improved the conditions of education for the least served?”

 

On the whole the answer is “no.” Low-income students of color have had their curriculum gutted because of the tests. They are far more likely to experience scripted instruction and rote learning purely to prepare for the tests. They are far more likely to have art, recess, music, physical education, and even science and social studies cut in preparation for the tests.

 

And despite their never ending promises, the charter school sector has continued to find ways to keep out English Language Learners and students with disabilities, expel or counsel away low performing kids of color, maintain intense racial segregation, and NOT, I repeat, NOT out perform regular public schools in terms of overall achievement.

 

Given that both failure on high-stakes tests as well as expulsion and suspension from school greatly increase the chances of students to get caught up in the criminal justice system, I would argue that these reforms contribute directly to the racism of the schools-to-prisons pipeline.

 

In this way low-income black and brown students of color are the ultimate guinea pigs for the Gates experiment in public education reform, and I think it is ethically, morally, and politically reprehensible that wealthy elites feel so free to experiment on our kids.

 

This is especially true given that Gates’ own children have not had to face any of his own reforms. In fact, I want all of our children in public schools to have what Gates’ children have had.

 

Take Lakeside Schools, where his kids have attended. They had small class sizes, a large, well endowed library, top notch facilities, and a rich curriculum. These things seem to work for children of the elite. Don’t the rest of our children deserve them as well?

 

Lakeside students also don’t have to take 5, 6, 7, or 8 high-stakes, standardized tests a year. As my dear friend and education activist Jesse Hagopian says, we could say the boycott of high-stakes testing in Seattle really started at schools like Lakeside because the rich have rejected having their children take these tests for years: They just sent them to elite private schools.

 

I also want all of our kids to have some other things those Lakeside students have, like food security, a stable home to live in, jobs for their parents that pay livable wages, access to free or affordable healthcare…You know, all the basic human rights that the rich can afford and, increasingly, the poor cannot.

 

If Gates and the Gates Foundation really want to start increasing the achievement of low income and students of color, and if they are unwilling to have the real conversation about growing race and class inequality in this country, then I’ve got a suggestion: Fund a nationwide campaign for the implementation of Ethnic Studies. We’ve got research that shows that Ethnic Studies, like the program that was banned by conservatives in Tucson, Arizona, contributed greatly to positive educational outcomes and college attainment of students of color there. In that program students learned about their cultural histories and identities, and they learned about institutional racism in this country.

 

But I doubt we’ll see any Gates-funded campaign for Ethnic Studies because it doesn’t have the right kind of politics.

 

Speaking of politics, as the Seattle Times reported, Bill Gates recently said that, “These are not political things,” and that he’s merely supporting research about making education more effective. I’d like to close my speech tonight by pointing out how this statement rings hollow in so many ways.

 

For instance, we have ample research on the critical impact of smaller class sizes, the importance of culturally relevant practices, the fallacy of using test scores to evaluate teachers, the increased inequity produced by charter schools, the harmful effects of high-stakes, standardized testing, and the central role poverty plays in educational achievement. But Gates and his foundation don’t care to listen to any of this. They have their own agenda for public education, and they are wielding their mighty resources to advance this agenda with disregard of sound critiques or public deliberation.

 

Gates’ statement also rings hollow because these are all political things. Poverty is a political thing. Institutionalized racism is a political thing. High-stakes testing is a political thing. Charter school policy is a political thing. Private school vouchers is a political thing. All curriculum, especially the Common Core, is a political thing. Teachers’ rights to due process and protections provided by union contracts are political things.

 

When you attack public education and try to reshape it along the lines of private industry, and you do it with no democratic accountability to the public, THAT is a political thing. Every aspect of education policy is a political thing, and it is ignorant of Gates to think or say otherwise.

 

But that is why I am standing here tonight. That is why you are here as well. We all know better. We all know that public education is a political thing, and we all know that public education is a political thing worth fighting for. We can win this fight. Together we can remake our schools in ways that actually meet the social, cultural, and academic needs of ALL of our children. We can resist the privatizers like Gates. We can put the Public back into public education.

 

Thank you.

We have wonderful news. Two of our recent books earned Honor Awards from Skipping Stones magazine–a journal that has been celebrating exceptional multicultural children’s literature and professional education resources for over 26 years.

REEcoverRethinking Elementary Education and Teaching About the Wars earned the awards. Luckily, we have a special promotion going on right now so you can get these books and any others from our collection now with our 20% end-of-school-year discount.  Use code GRADE14 at checkout.

Also a winner of the Independent Book Publishers Association Ben Franklin Gold Award, Rethinking Elementary Education is a collection of articles by teachers, parents, and activists about elementary school life and learning. The book covers classroom community, media literacy, language arts, science, social studies and other topics through a social justice lens.

Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities, described Rethinking Elementary Education this way: “Another glorious package of encouragement and challenge from the most enlightened and most fervent group of teachers and their allies in our nation. Indispensable for elementary teachers–and a feisty provocation to all educators to stand up and fight for our beliefs.”

Teaching About the WarTeaching About the Wars, edited by Jody Sokolower, focuses on U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Although the United States has been at war continuously since just after 9/11, the role of the U.S. military around the world is rarely discussed in classrooms. This collection provides lessons and activities for teachers to engage students in critical thinking about this critical issue.

We’re so grateful for everyone who contributed to both of these books and to Skipping Stones for recognizing our work and passion for multicultural social justice education.

And we’re grateful to you for your continued support of our work.

If you want to see for yourself why these books earned accolades, use code GRADE14 for a 20% discount off these or any of the books in our collection.

We’re nearing the end of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, but don’t let the teaching of Asian Pacific Islander history and perspectives be limited to just one month. It’s good that we have official months and weeks during which we learn about and celebrate a diversity of cultures. But, of course, the world is always multicultural, and our curriculum should be too.

By sharing these articles, we’re posing a friendly challenge to take lessons about Asian Pacific history and culture (as well as Black history, Latino history, etc.) beyond the artificial boundaries created by the dates May 1 and May 30.

Enjoy these articles, available free to all friends of Rethinking Schools. 

You’re Asian, How Could You Fail at Math? by Wayne Au and Benji Chang.  Unmasking the myth of the model minority.

Taking a Chance With Words by Carol A. Tateishi. Why are the Asian-American kids silent in class?

Decolonizing the Classroom: Lessons in Multicultural Education by Wayne Au. This article is one of many critical pieces published in our new and expanded edition of Rethinking Multicultural Education.

The two articles below were originally published in Rethinking Schools magazine. They are now available from the Zinn Education Project, a collaboration between Teaching for Change and Rethinking Schools. (Register for free access to these and hundreds more teaching articles and resources.):

A review of ANPO: Art X War by Moé Yonamine. A film tackles the U.S. occupation of Japan.

What the Tour Guide Didn’t Tell Me: Tourism, Colonialism, and Resistance in Hawai’i by Wayne Wah Kwai Au. Lessons on the history of Hawai’i and the impact of colonization and tourism.

 

These articles are free to read for our subscribers. Subscribe today at a 20% discount when you use code GRADE14 at check out. You’ll gain immediate access to these articles: 

Tiger Moms and the Model Minority Myth by Helen Gym
The media splash around Amy Chua’s writings about Chinese mothers exploits Asian stereotypes, exacerbates racial tensions and creates additional obstacles for vulnerable youth.

Haiku & Hiroshima by Wayne Au
A high school teacher uses an animated film and haiku poetry to raise awareness about the events of August 1945 and the dropping of the atomic bomb.

The Other Internment: Teaching the Hidden Story of Japanese Latin Americans During WWII by Moé Yonamine.
A role play engages students in exploring a little-known piece of history-the deportation of people of Japanese origin from Latin American countries to U.S. internment camps and back to Japan as POWs.

 

 

We are seeking your articles and stories for a new book with the working title, Rethinking Bilingual Education.

Practicing bilingual teachers, we need your voices! We’ve extended our deadline to July 10th. We are looking for articles that show how you integrate social justice themes into your classroom curriculum, how you confront issues of equity and access in your classroom and school community, or how you deal with the pressures of assessment and standardization without sacrificing the integrity of your bilingual teaching.

In this book, we are defining bilingual education as occurring in instructional settings where  teaching and learning take place in two languages with the objective of developing long-term biliteracy. We are particularly interested in articles that describe K-12 bilingual classroom teaching and curriculum—those that are social justice oriented, story-rich, replicable and critical. We are especially looking for articles about:

  • teaching in bilingual classrooms from a social justice perspective
  • anti-bias lessons/units (teaching about gender, race, class, ableism, etc.)
  • social justice lessons across the curriculum (particularly in math and science)
  • special education in bilingual contexts
  • helping students value and use non-dominant languages
  • perspectives from a diverse range of bilingual programs (especially programs that incorporate African American English, ASL, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or Russian)
  • family involvement
  • effects of testing or the Common Core on your bilingual program

Students’ voices are important; make sure we can hear them! We especially encourage submissions from teachers and students of color, particularly those who speak a language other than English as their first language.

Please remember that Rethinking Schools is not an academic journal. We want the writing to be lively, conversational, and to avoid the kind of needless jargon that infects so much academic writing. Please approach it as a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end, filled with anecdotes and the voices of teachers, parents, and/or students. Traditional academic/scholarly articles will not be considered for this book.

The best way to understand what works for Rethinking Schools is to read through several issues of the magazine with an eye to how the authors show specifically what they do in the classroom and how they integrate information about the topic into the article. Specific models you might want to look at include “Sin Fronteras Boy” by Grace Cornell Gonzales and “Aquí y Allá: Exploring Our Lives Through Poetry—Here and There” by Elizabeth Schlessman Barbian. As a model of writing for the magazine, see anything by Linda Christensen.

Before you begin writing, check out the writers’ guidelines.

The submission deadline for this call is July 10th.

Please send submissions electronically (Word.doc) to grace@rethinkingschools.org. We are unable to read submissions of more than 3,000 words, and are generally interested in articles that are substantially shorter.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact Grace Cornell Gonzales at grace@rethinkingschools.org.

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