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Post-patriarchy?

by Jody Sokolower, managing editor of Rethinking Schools
and lead editor for Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality

I came of age in the late 60s, when abortion was illegal, women were routinely blamed for getting raped, and we represented less than 5 percent of the lawyers in the country. When I came out in the early 70s, lesbian moms and gay dads were losing custody of their children, LGBTQ couples had no rights when a partner was dying, and teachers had to stay in the closet.

So it’s easy to feel like things are getting better. And it’s true that things have changed. Just a few weeks ago, the Obama administration included gender identity under Title IX—the civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs. Public attitudes about LGBTQ civil rights have changed markedly.

But misogyny and homophobia are alive and well. Nowhere is that clearer or more damaging than in our schools. Just a couple of months ago, Candler Elementary School in North Carolina school banned a 9-year-old boy from using his “My Little Pony” backpack because it was making him a target for bullies. Rather than working with the children who were taunting and attacking him, they blamed the child for “triggering” the incidents. Twenty-six states say abstinence must be taught as the best method of birth control. Gay and transgender youth are 5-7 percent of the nation’s overall youth population, but 13-15 percent of those in the juvenile justice system.

How can we change the terms? Before Rethinking Schools published Rethinking Columbus in 1991, “Columbus discovered America” was how the history got taught. Now, 300,000 copies later, the conversation has changed. It’s not perfect, but the real history of colonial conquest has made its way into classrooms everywhere.

We need to do the same with sexism, gender, and sexuality. Rethinking Schools has been working intensely in the past few years to cultivate and support the writing of teachers, students, parents, and teacher educators who are doing that work. Now we are working on a new book to bring it all together.

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Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality is built on the premise that we need to build social justice communities in our schools—places where everyone is nurtured as the unique and wonderful being they are, and where tensions and conflicts are acknowledged and resolved.

Equally important is the integration of sexism, gender, and sexuality into the curriculum. Fighting misogyny and homophobia are not issues just for the hallways and playground—struggles, heroes, and problems need to be acknowledged in our history, our literature, and our sciences.

We’re now in the last few days of a crowdfunding campaign to fund Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality. We can’t publish without this support. Our goal is $20,000 and we’re almost there!

Please: Go to the website for our Indiegogo campaign, check out the video, read the sample articles, and help us make our goal. We’re so close! Give generously and spread the word to friends, relatives, and colleagues.

by Jody Sokolower

RSEditors_Jan2012_146We’re in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to publish Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality. Our goal is $20,000 and we still have about $6,000 to go.

Early in the campaign, someone wrote to ask us why we need so much money just to publish a book. We thought you might be interested in where that $20,000 will go.

The overwhelming majority of the work on Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality is volunteer. I am paid staff at Rethinking Schools, but the other four amazing members of our editorial committee—Kim Cosier, Rachel Harper, Jeff Sapp, and Melissa Bollow Tempel—are volunteering their time, wisdom, and energy. None of the more than 50 teachers, parents, students, and teacher educators with articles in the book are being paid. They have written, revised, and revised again out of a commitment to social justice education and to bringing these issues into classrooms everywhere.

So where is all that money going? We have a wonderful art director, Sabiha Basrai, at Design Action in Oakland. She is committed to creating the most beautiful book possible for the least amount of money, but she still needs to be paid. We also have to pay for aspects of production that you may not have thought about—I’ve been an editor for a long time, but I didn’t realize we were going to need money for indexing until a few months ago! Here’s our production budget, which doesn’t even include expenses involved with marketing the book, paying for inventory, etc.

$8,000:  Production editor

$6,800:  Design and layout

$3,500:  Artwork and photos

$1,500:  Indexing

$1,000:  Proofreading

$7,000: Initial print run (3,000 copies of the book)

$500:  Misc

Total:  $28,300

Of course, the real value of Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality can’t be put into dollars and cents. It’s the thought-provoking and inspiring work of everyone who has contributed an article, editorial time, or artwork to this extraordinary book.

As we near the last days of the campaign, we appreciate anything you can do to help us spread the word and make our goal.

Thanks for your support.

 

We like sharing interesting news, insightful opinions, activist victories, and actionable curriculum via Facebook, Twitter, and of course through our magazine and books.

We thought why not collect some of our favorites ideas, opinions, and stories in one place each week. It gives you a peek at what piques our interest, and gives us the opportunity to revisit the news that’s shaping our profession and the public debate about education.

Let us know what you think of this idea in the comments, and feel free to add to our list there as well.

abolition-earthday-posters4An Earth Day Message: Take Heart from the Abolition Movement, by Bill Bigelow. April 22 was Earth Day, and Rethinking Schools curriculum editor (and resident environmental justice expert), penned this column for our Zinn Education Project’s “If We Knew Our History” series.

DeColores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children, maintained by Rethinking Schools contributor Beverly Slapin. A blog filled with astute reviews and essays. Teachers and parents — and anyone who reads — will find the blog to be a valuable resource.

Protecting Classrooms from Corporate Takeover: What Families Can Learn from Teachers’ Unions, by Amy B. Dean, via Yes! Magazine. The Milwaukee Teachers’ Union, led by its president and one of the founding editors of Rethinking Schools Bob Peterson, is prominently featured in this well done article.

Teachers Are Losing Their Jobs, But Teach for America’s Expanding: What’s Wrong With That?, by Alexandra Hootnick, via The Nation. The Nation has reliably good coverage on big education issues. Don’t miss the special focus on Teach for America in the spring issue of Rethinking Schools, too.

Jim Crow in the Classroom: New Report Finds Segregation Lives on in U.S. Schools, via Democracy Now! This segment features an interview with journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose multi-part investigation “Segregation Now: Investigating America’s Racial Divide” can be found at ProPublica.

Americans Who Tell the Truth: Dave Zirin portrait, by Robert Shetterly. Our favorite sports journalist Dave Zirin was deservedly honored by Americans Who Tell the Truth with one of Robert Shetterly’s incredible portraits. Read about his accomplishments and view the portrait at this link.

Duncan Withdraws NCLB Waiver from Washington State, via the inimitable Diane Ravitch. This news caused quite a stir when we posted it on our Facebook page on Thursday, and rightly so. Ravitch provides a good explanation of what this means and its implications for public schools nationwide. The corporate-led school privatization movement marches on…

Pearson Pays $7.7 Million in Common Core Settlement, by Lindsey Layton via The Washington Post. The entire Common Core enterprise reeks of corruption. Here’s another piece of evidence.

Scholastic and Big Coal Team Up to Bamboozle 4th Graders, by Joan Brunwasser, via OpEdNews.com. An interview with our curriculum editor Bill Bigelow about the successful campaign Rethinking Schools initiated to get Scholastic, Inc. to stop pushing pro-coal propaganda to 4th graders.

Minneapolis Replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day, by the staff of the Indian Country Today Media Network. Minneapolis is starting a movement. Let’s join them! (Also join the, um. . . . spirited conversation at our Facebook page about this bit of news.)

We recently learned of an interview by Democracy Now! with journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who discusses the segregation that persists in public schools around the United States. 

Watch a brief segment here:

You can watch the full interview at the Democracy Now! website.

Nearly 60 years after the Civil Rights Act and Brown v. Board of Education decision, Hannah-Jones points out that many public school districts look as though these landmark changes never happened.

“What George Wallace and others like him wanted was all-white schools. All-white schools don’t really exist anymore, but all-black schools do,” Hannah-Jones says. “Sixty years after Brown, integration is gone for many students.”

Hannah-Jones discusses the redrawing of school district boundaries in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as just one example of what she calls the “resegregation of America’s schools.”

“We still have a racialized K-12 system,” Hannah-Jones says. “Black and brown students tend to be in schools where they’re receiving an inferior education. They have less rigorous curriculum, and they’re less likely to have access to classes that will help them in college.”

Hannah-Jones’ full report, “Segregation Now” is published at ProPublica.

Related Resources:

The Promise: Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Movement, and Our Schools, special issue of Rethinking Schools, Volume 18, Issue 3, Spring 2004.

Teaching Brown in Tuscaloosa, by Alison Schmitke

by Jody Sokolower

RSEditors_Jan2012_146One of the pleasures of working on Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality has been the discussions among the editorial committee as we have outlined the book, reviewed submissions, and brainstormed chapter introductions. We’re a small group but we span generations, cultures, and experiences; our meetings are lively, thoughtful, and mind-expanding.

One of the most important issues we’ve discussed is the proliferation of anti-bullying campaigns now being marketed and implemented in school districts across the country. Talking openly with children about how we treat each other is almost always a good thing, but we have serious concerns about anti-bullying as an approach.

For one thing, anti-bullying is reactive rather than proactive. Building community—helping children look for what connects them with others and encouraging them to feel empathy—creates classrooms and schools where bullying is much less likely to happen.

For another, bullying freezes children (and adults, too) into static roles: the bully, the victim, the potential ally. But all of us are more complicated than that, and most conflict situations are more complicated, too. Teaching young people to understand the social contexts that can lead to problems—racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, among others—gives them the tools to solve problems without labeling others.

9780942961591.MAINI remember an example from when my own daughter had just started 6th grade in a new school district. She has always been gender nonconforming, and middle school is especially hard for nonconformists of all types. Another girl on the basketball team teased her nonstop for dressing like a boy, looking like a boy. I knew that this child was being raised by a grandmother who was now too ill to take care of her; her home life must have been incredibly stressful. As a lesbian, I had a strong hunch that issues of sexuality and gender were barely beneath the surface for her, too. Tensions over race and academic confidence were part of the mix. But the school did no community building; there was no effort to help students talk with each other about the issues they were grappling with as brand new adolescents. What a difference it would have made if teachers were talking to each other about how to create something positive. Instead, my daughter stopped playing basketball.

Giving teachers the tools to support students—all students—is at the core of why Melissa, Kim, Jeff, Rachel, and I are so happy to be working on Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality. The beautiful work being done by educators all over the country inspires us every day.

And the enthusiastic response to our Indiegogo campaign has made us realize how many of us are eagerly awaiting this book.

If you’d like to delve more into the problems with anti-bullying campaigns, check out “10 Ways to Move Beyond Bully Prevention (and why we should),” by Lyn Mikel Brown. You can read it online now or as part of our book as soon as it’s published.

Watch the video that tells the story of how the book came to be, and join the community of supporters who are making it possible for us to publish it.

by Jody Sokolower, managing editor
and lead editor for Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality

v28-3The cover theme of our spring issue of Rethinking Schools  is “Queering Our Schools,” and the thought-provoking and inspiring articles will be included in our new book Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality

Our editorial takes up the question: How do we create classrooms and schools where each child, parent, and staff member’s unique, beautiful self is appreciated and nurtured?

High school teacher Adam Grant Kelley was disturbed by the conflicts fueled by homophobia and racism at his school. In “500 Square Feet of Respect: Queering a Study of the Criminal Justice System” he describes the curriculum he developed to build bridges as well as academic skills.

 

Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality is filled with insightful articles like these on dozens of critical topics. You can be a part of publishing this needed classroom resource: Watch our short video below, which tells the story of how this book got its start, meet the editors, and join our campaign to publish Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality.

Resisting Teach for America

Our spring issue also features a special section on Resisting Teach for America. “Organizing Resistance to Teach For America,” by Kerry Kretchmar and Beth Sondel. tells the story of former TFA members joining with parents, students, and veteran teachers to organize a people’s assembly and nationalize efforts against TFA.

In “An Open Letter to New Teach For America Recruits,” Chicago teacher Katie Osgood urges new TFA recruits to think twice before they sign up.

Articles in Spanish!

Three articles in this issue also appear in Spanish:

Enjoy the spring issue, and don’t forget to support our Indiegogo campaign to publish Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality!

by Melissa Bollow Tempel

UPDATE:  A short time after I posted this at Huffington Post, I received a lengthy email from a teacher who was clearly upset about my message. He wrote: “As a high school history teacher from New York City, I have a different perspective on morality. I personally do not agree with same-sex marriage and I do not endorse homosexual conduct. Nor do I agree with the so-called ‘progressive’ and ‘enlightened’ views you are advocating. . . . You do not stand for common sense, reason, or logic.”

It’s sad to get a message like this, especially from a fellow teacher. It makes me even more passionate about our work on Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and SexualityDespite the progress that has been made in the past years, there is clearly more education that needs to happen. We want to give as much support as we can to teachers who will show compassion, foster understanding in our schools, and advocate for those who feel helpless or alone.

Share this message and our campaign with your friends, family, and, especially, teachers you know.

We can help the children of today—the adults of tomorrow—act with love and compassion toward people who are different, rather than with fear and hatred.

Thank you for your support!

Melissa Bollow Tempel, editor
Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality

Here’s the original post:

MBTheadshotA few years ago, I worked with a teacher that changed my view of not only teaching, but the world. Andy and I co-taught literacy at a school in the city. Every morning Andy would join us with a smile on his face and we would greet the students. He had an eternally cheerful disposition and genuine care for children. Andy and his partner, Mark, cared for foster children. One Monday morning, before the students arrived, Andy and I were chatting about what we we did over the weekend. Andy told me about how he had spent the weekend on his organic farm with Mark and dog, picking pumpkins and preparing the garden for winter.

“You’re so lucky,” Andy said, “you can tell the students what you did with your family over the weekend.” It took me a moment to understand that Andy was talking about having to stay in the closet at work, and then I felt terrible. I felt for Andy, and I felt even worse for all the students who would miss out on the opportunity to learn about organic farming experiences and the rest of Andy’s charmed life. He also wasn’t able to teach the students to build an understanding and care for equity and rights of LGBTQ people.

Read the rest of this post at HuffingtonPost Gay Voices

Join our campaign to raise funds to publish Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality! 

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