“Digging Deeper” includes chapter-by-chapter lists that readers can consult if they want to dig more deeply into the chapter’s content. These lists identify scholars who are studying or working on practical applications of issues we raise, and some of the books and articles that readers might find interesting and useful. When applicable, lists also include professional organizations and activist groups working to make education policy or school practices more consistent with and supportive of socially just teaching. And when possible, we include resources that current and future teachers can use in their classrooms.
By placing these resources online, we hope to make them more accessible to readers, who can access them wherever they have the Internet, whether they have their book in hand or not. We also encourage readers to share these resources with colleagues and others interested in schooling and teaching; we have made the resources open-access in order to make that possible!
Digging Deeper: Chapter 1
The United States Schooling Dilemma: Diversity, Inequity, and Democratic Values
- Jean Anyon, now deceased, was a professor of Urban Education at New York University. She published articles, books, and book chapters on the confluence of social class, race, and education, particularly in urban contexts. Her books, Ghetto Schooling: A Political Economy of Urban Educational Reform (Teachers College Press, 1997) and Radical Possibilities: Public Policy, Urban Education, and a New Social Movement (Routledge, 2005), are widely cited.
- Arizona State University professor emeritus David Berliner and his colleague Bruce Biddle at the University of Missouri provide detailed analyses of the evidence underlying criticisms of public schools. In their book The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools (Addison-Wesley, 1995), they also provide evidence that, despite the barrage of criticism in the past two decades, U.S. schools have improved.
- Nikole Hannah-Jones is an American investigative journalist known for her coverage of civil rights in the United States. Her reporting on education and racial segregation has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and on NPR’s This American Life. In 2017 she was awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius Award” for “chronicling the persistence of racial segregation in American society, particularly in education, and reshaping national conversations around education reform.”
- UCLA Professor Gary Orfield has authored a number of books on civil rights issues, segregation and education. Two of Orfield’s recent publications, co-authored with Erica Frankenburg are The Resegregation of Suburban Schools: A Hidden Crisis in American Education (2013) and Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair (2013).
- For decades, author and educator Jonathan Kozol has written rich, narrative accounts of educational inequity, particularly as it impacts youth in urban schools. His books, Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools, and The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, are among the most widely read, best-selling texts on public education.
- Pauline Lipman is professor of Educational Policy Studies and Director of the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her work focuses on race and class inequality in education, globalization, and political economy of urban education. Pauline’s newest book, The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City (Routledge, 2011), argues that education is integral to class and race inequalities and exclusions as well as to the potential for a new, radically democratic economic and political social order. Her previous books include High Stakes Education and Race, Class and Power in School Restructuring.
- Economist and writer Richard Rothstein’s latest book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (New York: Liveright, 2017) documents how U.S. government policy promoted and enforced the residential racial segregation that underlies much of the social and education inequality today.
- Sean Reardon, Professor at Stanford University, conducts sophisticated statistical analyses of the causes and patterns of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement disparities; the effects of school integration policies on segregation patterns and educational outcomes; and income inequality and its educational and social consequences. An interesting non-technical account of his analyses appeared in the New York Times in 2013, titled “No Rich Child Left Behind.”
Websites to Explore
- Inequality.is, an interactive website produced by the Economic Policy Institute, brings clarity to the statistics on wage and income inequality, using interactive tools and videos to tell the story about how we arrived at the state of inequality we find today.
- The Kappan a monthly journal published by Phi Delta Kappa, an educational association, provides short accessible articles on current education issues.
- Education Week American education’s newspaper of record, is published by the Editorial Projects in Education, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. The goal of Education Week is to help raise the level of awareness and understanding among professionals and the public of important issues in American education. It covers local, state, and national news and issues from preschool through the twelfth grade.
Organizations that Provide Information about Diversity, Inequality and Schooling
- The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, co-directed by Patricia Gándara and Gary Orfield, is a leading organization devoted to civil rights research in education. It has commissioned over 400 studies on a range of civil rights issues. The project’s website has many excellent downloadable reports on education policy and law.
- The Urban Institute is a research organization that focuses on a wide range of domestic policy topics, including demographics and education. Numerous, accessible publications and reports are available on their website. Its interactive Children of Immigrants Data Tool is designed to generate charts and tables with indicators on children, age 0 to 17, for the U.S., 50 states, District of Columbia and top 100 metro areas using data from the American Community Survey. The tool presents data on a number of population groups defined by children’s nativity and citizenship, as well as the nativity, citizenship, and origin of their parents (e.g., children with immigrant parents, noncitizen parents, with Mexican parents, etc.).
- Childstats.gov is a government website assembled by the Federal Intra-agency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of federal agencies and private research organizations that collect, analyze, and report data on issues related to children and families. The Forum’s annual report, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, details the status of children and families in the U.S.
- Inequality.org is a project of Demos, a New York City-based online resource “for journalists, activists, scholars and policymakers seeking information on the connection between rising economic inequality, on the one hand, and eroding opportunity and democracy, on the other.” Demos offers analyses and reports that illuminate the causes and consequences of widening wealth, income, power and opportunity gaps in the U.S.
- Kids Count is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and a premier source of data on children and families. Each year, the Foundation produces a comprehensive report—the Kids Count Data Book—that assesses child well-being in the U.S. The indicators featured in the Data Book are also available online in the Data Center.
- The National Center for Educational Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education is the primary federal agency charged with collecting and analyzing data about U.S. education. Regularly produced reports provide the most up-to-date official analyses of school-related data, including the Conditions of Education; Digest of Education Statistics; High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States; Indicators of School Crime and Safety; Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups; Projections of Education Statistics. All are downloadable from the Center’s website.
- The Southern Education Foundation has written a series of reports on the changing demography of American Schools. Their website includes data and maps showing how public schooling now consists of a “new majority”—low income children and children of color.
Resources for Teaching
- Although not designed specifically for educators, online interactive tools that chart neighborhoods’ demographics (e.g., racial composition, income levels, etc.) and human development levels using census data might be of interest. Measure of America is one site where users can plug in zip codes to locate communities, compare places and indicators, and more. Social-justice focused lessons can also be designed using these maps.
- Teaching Tolerance offers a range of classroom resources, from film kits and lesson plans to the building blocks of a customized Learning Plan—texts, student tasks, teaching strategies—to provide a road map for anti-bias education at every grade level.
- Amnesty International provides educational material that can help people of all ages learn more about human rights. Among the online resources is Human Rights Friendly Schools: A Guide for Teachers.
- The National Center for Education Statistics includes on its site a “Kids’ Zone” page that provides statistical information about schools, colleges, and public libraries in an easily searchable format. It allows students (and teachers) to play games, take quizzes, and build skills about math, probability, graphing, and mathematicians.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 2
History and Culture: How Expanding Expectations and Powerful Ideologies Shape Schooling in the U.S.
- The late Lawrence Cremin wrote the classic history of the pivotal period of huge growth in U.S. schooling. The book, The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education 1876–1957 (New York: Knopf, 1961), contains wonderfully detailed stories about how American education moved from a small, local activity to a huge national enterprise.
- Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, professors of law at the Seattle University, brought together in their book Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror (Temple University Press, 2013) writings from scholars in a number of disciplines about a new field of scholarship that they call “whiteness studies.” The book seeks to engage readers in reflecting on what it means to be white, in terms of the social, political, and economic advantages that accrue to whites because of historical and structural arrangements. The book looks at these arrangements from the perspectives of sociology, law, history, cultural studies, and literature.
- In Young, Gifted, and Black (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004), Theresa Perry, Claude Steele, and Asa G. Hilliard discuss how African American identity shapes students’ experiences in school. They argue that understanding the societal issues surrounding what it means to be African American in U.S. schools can help promote high academic achievement for students.
- In Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015), Sandy Grande—indigenous scholar, critical theorist and education activist—draws connections between critical theory and indigenous education; doing so, she addresses the legacies of U.S. colonization and genocide while also identifying possibilities for revolutionary struggle and social and political transformation.
- Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is a prominent educational historian. A former critic of progressive education and staunch advocate of traditional ideals, Ravitch’s latest books, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education (New York: Basic Books, 2010) and Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (Knopf, 2013) chronicle her shift away from supporting a conservative education agenda.
- Joel Spring is the author of numerous educational histories. Spring’s work is especially helpful for understanding how schools have worked to support the status quo, and how the history of peoples of color in the U.S. connects with educational policies and practices. Of particular interest might be Deculturation and the Struggle for Equality: A Brief History of the Education of Dominated Cultures in the United States (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997).
- David Tyack, Stanford education historian, has written a number of engaging historical texts. Of particular interest is his The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974), a history of how modern urban schools were shaped by a coalition of civic elites, reformers, and professional school administrators. Tyack’s book with fellow Stanford historian Larry Cuban, Tinkering toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), analyzes the failure of most twentieth-century school reforms to change the basic institutional patterns of schooling.
- University of Texas at Austin psychologist Richard Valencia evaluates the validity and reliability of intelligence and achievement tests, particularly for use with Latino students. His work has traced the links between tests, test bias, and widely held conceptions of cultural deficits in students of color. Of particular interest is his book The Origins of Deficit Thinking: Educational Thought and Practice (London, England: Falmer Press, 1997).
Websites to Explore
- Daniel Schugurensky, professor at the Arizona State University, has assembled a website, “Selected Moments of the 20th Century,” that includes short descriptions of “educational episodes” such as policy, a court case, a piece of legislation, a research report, an incident, a speech, a movie, or anything, that tells something about education theory, policy, politics, research, or practice during the last century.
- PBS-hosted sites offer a number of resources related to education-themed documentaries. School: The Story of American Public Education (2002), for example, is a four-part documentary series that chronicles the development of the U.S. public education system from the late 1770s to the twenty-first century. Excerpts from the film are online. Another is Precious Knowledge,a documentary that chronicles some of the recent struggles for ethnic studies—and Mexican American/Raza Studies, in particular—in Tucson Unified School District. The film’s footage and media coverage powerfully reflect hopes and fears associated with “Americanization,” and also depict some of the relationships and instructional approaches developed by teachers and students with deep roots in the local community.
- Christine Sleeter’s critical family history website situates family in a socio-cultural historical context. Intended as a counter-narrative to individual meritocracy, Sleeter demonstrates how dynamics of power and privilege have deep historical roots, particularly in regard to the transfer of wealth within families. Using her family as an example, she describes how her (white) ancestors were able to buy lands from which indigenous peoples were displaced and during a time when discriminatory laws prevented African Americans and others from making such purchases.
Resources for Teaching
- In Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Social Justice (Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 2007), editors Wayne Au, Bill Bigelow, and Stan Karp provide educators with valuable resources for teaching about history, society, and culture critically (http://rethinkingschools.aidcvt.com/ProdDetails.asp?ID=9780942961355).
- Enid Lee, Deborah Menkart, and Margo Okazawa-Rey are the editors of Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 to Antiracist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development (Washington, D.C.: Teaching for Change, 2007). The book is a collection of essays and teaching tools for educators who aim to enact antiracist pedagogy in their classrooms. (http://www.teachingforchange.org/books/our-publications/beyond-heroes-and-holidays)
- Facing History and Ourselves tackles issues of bigotry head-on. Content focuses centrally on the Holocaust, and other recent examples of genocide and mass violence, but provides opportunities for broad learning about the consequences of hatred and bigotry, as well as methods students can use to combat prejudice with compassion, indifference with participation, and misinformation with knowledge. The project’s website includes examples of justice-themed units and lessons.
- A People’s History of the United States (New York: Harper Collins, 2003), by Howard Zinn, chronicles the history of the U.S. from the perspective of peoples traditionally excluded from mainstream history textbooks: women, African Americans, workers, etc. Although Zinn passed away in 2010, many of his writings can be found online. In addition, the Voices of a People’s History website includes videos of well-known actors who bring to life the extraordinary voices of ordinary people who built the movements that made the U.S. what it is today.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 3
Politics and Philosophy: The Struggle over the School Curriculum
- University of Wisconsin professor Michael Apple’s books analyze how politics and ideology pervade curriculum. Of particular interest is Educating the “Right” Way: Markets, Standards, God, and Inequality (New York: Routledge, 2006), which offers a compelling discussion of the current conservative stance toward education.
- John Dewey’s writings on curriculum provide the foundation for current social constructivist curricula. Especially relevant for this chapter are his 1897 essay, “My Pedagogic Creed,” and his books The Child and the Curriculum and The School and Society (reprinted, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). Those interested in reading an analysis of Dewey and his influence might try Robert Westbook, John Dewey and American Democracy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993).
- Brazilian adult educator Paulo Freire developed “critical pedagogy,” an approach to informal adult education that has influenced thousands of grassroots organizations, college classrooms, and, most recently, school reform efforts in major urban areas. Freire’s best-known book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Continuum, 1970), argues that education is a path to permanent liberation; that is, through critical pedagogy, people become aware of their oppression and transform it.
- Carter G. Woodson’s 1933 classic, The Mis-Education of the Negro (Trenton, NJ: Africa Free Press, 1990) argues that African Americans in U.S. schools experience indoctrination aimed at perpetuating their low-status societal position. Woodson calls for African Americans to excel to their full potential, despite what they are taught. The Euro-centric curriculum Woodson criticizes is still prevalent in schools today.
- University of Washington Professor James Banks and Director of the Center for Multicultural Education was instrumental in developing the idea of a multicultural curriculum. Banks has edited two of the most complete sources on multicultural education history and research: The Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003) and Multicultural Education, Transformative Knowledge, and Action: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (New York: Teachers College Press, 1996). His most recent work focused on the educational implications of current global migration is published in Citizenship Education and Global Migration (American Education Research Association, 2016).
Organizations that Provide Information about Critical and Multicultural Education
- The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), founded in 1990, brings together educators who have an interest in multicultural education. NAME’s quarterly magazine, Multicultural Perspectives, features sections with promising practices and resources for teachers. The organization’s annual conference provides an opportunity for intensive discussion and learning.
- The New York Coalition of Radical Educators is one example of a group of teachers who have come together around a shared commitment to teaching for social justice. Members gather for routine dialogue and reflection around pressing issues in education and work in collaboration to create and disseminate anti-racist, social justice curricula, resource guides, and other tools for teaching. Teachers can download many of these materials directly from the NYCORE website. Similar, affiliated organizations exist in other cities nationwide, including Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Seattle, and so on.
- The Freire Project is an online, international community of educators who promote social justice in a variety of cultural contexts. The project's website offers resources related to critical pedagogy, as well as a series of blogs written by educators and researchers who are committed to promoting critical pedagogy and combating the oppression of marginalized and indigenous people the world over.
Resources for Teaching
- The book Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature: Mirrors, Windows, and Doors (New York: Routledge, 2009), co-authored by Maria José Botelho (https://www.umass.edu/education/faculty-staff-listings/MariaJoseBotelho and Masha Kabakow Rudman, provides educators with a useful resource for critiquing, adapting, and supplementing the literature commonly used in school curricula.
- Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita of California State University at Monterey Bay, has written numerous books that help teachers develop multicultural curricula. Her books, including Turning on Learning: Five Approaches for Multicultural Teaching Plans for Race, Class, Gender, and Disability (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998) with Professor Carl Grant of the University of Wisconsin, conceptualize—and support teachers to actualize—multicultural teaching. More recently, Sleeter has also published Un-Standardizing Curriculum: Multicultural Teaching in the Standards-Based Classroom (New York: Teachers College Press, 2005), which offers guidance to teachers in implementing academically rigorous multicultural curricula during an era of standardization and high-stakes accountability.
- Professor Sonia Nieto is a member of the education faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she studies multicultural and bilingual curriculum issues. Her book, Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms. (Heinemann, (2013), reports Nieto’s interviews with 22 teachers of varying backgrounds and school settings who help answer the question of what effective, culturally responsive teaching looks like in the real world. An earlier book, The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities (New York: Teachers College Press, 2000), reviews the research on multiculturalism and offers teachers’ powerful reflections on multicultural teaching.
- Barnard College Professor Lee Ann Bell’s book, Storytelling for Social Justice: Connecting Narrative and the Arts in Antiracist Teaching (New York: Routledge, 2010) explores the stories we tell ourselves and each other about race and racism in our society. The book presents strategies that teachers can use to develop more critical understandings of how racism operates in society. Illustrated with examples drawn from high school classrooms, teacher education programs, and K-12 professional development programs, the book provides tools for examining racism and other issues of social justice.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 4
Policy and Law: Rules that Schools Live By
- Clive Belfield and Henry Levin’s book, Privatizing Educational Choice: Consequences for Parents, Schools, and Public Policy (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press, 2005), reviews what research shows about the effects—for communities and children—of policies such as vouchers, tax credits, charter schools, and private contracting. Belfield is associate director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where Professor Henry Levin is director.
- Pauline Lipman (also mentioned in Digging Deeper Chapter 1), professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has published articles, books, and book chapters on the social context of urban school reform and the politics of race and education. Her most recent book is The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City (New York: Routledge, 2011).
- Dozens of books have been published examining No Child Left Behind from a variety of perspectives. For example, Deborah Meier and George Wood’s Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004) details the progressive critique. No Child Left Behind?: The Politics and Practice of School Accountability, edited by Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003) provides the conservative arguments supporting the law.
- Diane Ravitch (also mentioned in Digging Deeper Chapter 2) is an educational historian and research professor at New York University. Her most recent book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (Vintage, 2014) documents and gives an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools. You can also read Ravitch’s thoughts on current educational issues on her blog.
- Patricia Gándara, professor and co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, has written extensively about educational equity for racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students. Two of her recent books are Forbidden Language: English Learners and Restrictive Language Policies (New York: Teachers College Press, 2010), edited with Megan Hopkins and The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), written with Frances Contreras.
- In No Undocumented Child Left Behind (NY U Press, 2012) law professor, Michael A. Olivas tells a fascinating history of the landmark case in which the Supreme Court struck down both a state statute denying funding for education to undocumented children and a municipal school district's attempt to charge an annual $1,000 tuition fee for each undocumented student to compensate for the lost state funding. Olivas traces how the Plyler decision paved the way for today’s advocacy for the Dreamers.
- University of California, Berkeley Professor Tina Trujillo and Vermont State Board of Education William Mathis brought leading researchers together in Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms (Interactive Press, 2016) to examine the evidence supporting (and not supporting) the most common school improvement strategies: school choice; reconstitutions, or massive personnel changes; and school closures.
Organizations and/or Websites to Follow
- Again, the Kappan monthly journal published by Phi Delta Kappa, an educational association, provides short readable articles on current education issues.
- Also, again, Education Week,American education’s newspaper of record, and Teacher Magazine cover local, state, and national news and issues from preschool through the twelfth grade. And in addition to the weekly paper, Education Week also publishes annual Quality Counts reports on the status of education policy in the 50 states.
- The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) conducts research and publishes books on the connections between education policy and economics. EPI’s education reports on such topics as teacher policies, class size, early childhood education policy, charter schools, the connections among schooling and social policies in employment, housing, and health can be found online.
- The U.S. Department of Education’s official website provides information about federal education policies. Every state and individual school districts also have websites with information about state and local education policies.
- New Jersey’s Education Law Center and Pennsylvania’s Education Law Center are examples of state-situated legal and advocacy organizations committed to ensuring that all children, especially those most vulnerable (e.g., children living in poverty, children of color, children with disabilities, LGBTQ students, etc.), receive access to an equitably funded and high equality public education.
- The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado, Boulder, produces and reviews educational research. Written by experts in the field, NEPC's policy, legislative, and research briefs summarize and synthesize research findings in non-technical language. Recent publications that may be of particular interest to teachers include Getting Teacher Assessment Right: What Policymakers Can Learn From Research (2010), Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice (2011), and Missing the Target? The Parent Trigger as a Strategy for Parental Engagement and School Reform (2012).
Resources for Teaching
- PBS’s Frontline provides various online resources for educators teaching students about government and public policy. The lessons and activities do not focus on education policy specifically but cover a range of topics related to government and public policy in general.
- Rethinking Schools publishes a newspaper regularly, books occasionally, and other materials for teachers; many of these offer critical analyses of current educational policies and policy-pertinent issues, as well as ideas and materials for engaging youth in critical conversations about contemporary issues affecting their education. Begun by a group of Milwaukee-area teachers who wanted to help shape education policy and reform, Rethinking Schools has become a resource for readers nation-wide—a resource that reflects its commitment to equity and its vision of public education as central to a humane, caring, multiracial democracy.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 5
The Subject Matters: Constructing Knowledge Across the Content Areas
English Language Arts: Further Reading, Key Organizations, Resources for Teaching
- Members of International Reading Association (IRA) include classroom teachers, reading specialists, consultants, administrators, supervisors, college teachers, researchers, psychologists, librarians, media specialists, students, and parents. IRA’s publications include The Reading Teacher, directed toward preschool, primary, and elementary school educators, and the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, directed toward teachers of older students. IRA’s website includes links to resources on such topics as adolescent literacy and teaching for comprehension.
- The National Council of Teachers of English provides an array of opportunities for teachers to continue their professional growth throughout their careers and a framework for dealing with issues that affect the teaching of English. NCTE publishes several journals, including Language Arts, Voices from the Middle and English Journal, among others. It also publishes position papers, teaching ideas, and other documents on professional concerns such as standards; some of these are available on its website.
- The Literacy Research Association is a professional organization aimed at advancing literacy theory, research and practice. They publish the Journal of Literacy Research.
- Professor of English and Literacy Education and Director of the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame, Ernest Morrell studies relationships between language, literacy, culture and power in society. In particular, he designs and examines interventions aimed at facilitating literacies of power and freedom among urban youth, as well as strategies for developing effective literacy educators in urban contexts. He provides resources for educators in Critical Literacy and Urban Youth (New York: Routledge, 2008).
- Professor of Early Childhood Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, Mariana Souto-Manning explores issues of equity in young children’s languaging and literacy practices. Co-authored with New York City teacher, Jessica Martell, her recent book, Reading, writing and talk: Inclusive teaching strategies for diverse learners, K-2 (New York: Teachers College Press), offers insights for early elementary teachers about the power of critical literacy instruction while making visible the rich literacy practices of minoritized students.
- The National Writing Project, established in 1974, brings teachers together in summer and school-year programs around the country. These programs are led by classroom teachers who have developed expertise for facilitating dialogues about teaching. The Writing Project’s teachers-teaching-teachers programs serve over 100,000 teachers annually at sites across the country.
- In Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word (Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 2000) former teacher, Linda Christensen, offers insights about how to integrate social justice in language arts classrooms. Many teachers find the book both practical and inspirational, given its mix of essays, lesson plans, and a student writing focused on language arts teaching for justice. An interview with Christensen about the book provides a good introduction.
- Founded in 1975, the National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE) is a membership organization that advocates for educational equity and excellence for bi/multilingual students. NABE also has affiliate organizations in 19 states; to find out if your state has a NABE affiliate, click here.
- Californians Together is a statewide advocacy coalition of stakeholder organizations including teachers, administrators, board members, parents, and civil rights non-profit groups. Its member organizations come together around the goal of better educating the state’s 1.3 million English Learners by improving schools and promoting equitable educational policy. Californians Together’s work includes conducting research, developing policy, briefing legislators and staff, offering professional development, advising parents, promoting the recognition of bilingualism and biculturalism as assets to the state, and building a broad base of support. Their website also includes action alerts about important and timely matters impacting bilingual students.
Mathematics: Further Reading, Key Organizations, Resources for Teaching
- For more than 75 years, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the largest professional association of mathematics educators in the world, has been dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of mathematics. NCTM provides professional development opportunities through annual, regional, and leadership conferences and publishes journals, books, videos, and software.
- The Algebra Project, developed by civil rights leader Bob Moses, is a national network of sites striving to improve mathematics achievement for African American and other minoritized students who have not had access to high-quality, relevant mathematics instruction. The Algebra Project works through materials development, teacher training, peer education, and school-community partnerships. The project is described in Moses’s book, Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project (Boston: Beacon Press, 2001).
- Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Rochelle Gutiérrez, investigates equity issues in mathematics education. In particular, she challenges deficit views of minoritized students and advocates for math teachers who are equipped with the content, pedagogical, and political knowledge to teach “powerful mathematics” to students in urban schools.
- Math for America is a national non-profit organization committed to improving mathematics education in public schools. Even if you are not a fellow of the organization, the website provides classroom and professional resources for math teachers.
- Marilyn Burns, a math educator, has published numerous books and other resources for classroom teachers. Her work focuses on student-centered math lessons that lead to mathematical understanding. About Teaching Mathematics (Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications, 2007) is an excellent foundational resource for math teachers. Burns’ website lists all of her publications and includes additional resources for teachers.
History/Social Studies: Further Reading, Key Organizations, Resources for Teaching
- The National Council for the Social Studies (https://www.socialstudies.org/) is an umbrella organization for elementary, secondary, and college teachers of history, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and law-related education. Over the years, it has played a role in articulating performance expectations for social studies in the early grades, middle grades, and high school years. They also publish a teacher-friendly, bi-monthly journal, Social Education.
- Professors and Stanford History Education Group Collaborators Sam Wineburg, Daisy Martin and Chauncey Monte-Sano work on teaching students to think historically. In their book, Reading Like a Historian: Teaching Literacy in Middle and High School History Classrooms (New York: Teachers College Press, 2011), the authors lead teachers through eight units (e.g., American Revolution, Civil Rights Movement), which include core questions, key historical thinking concepts, and teaching strategies. Sam Weingburg explains the book in this online video.
- Teaching History offers many resources for history teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools. The website includes many teaching resources, such as teaching guides and strategies for working with Emergent Bilingual students, as well as information about historical content. You can also download primary sources and search for history-focused field trips in your area on the site.
- The Zinn Education Project provides a plethora of resources for educators who are striving to teach history in an honest, critical, and engaging manner. The Zinn Education Project began with Howard Zinn’s A Peoples History of the United States (New York: Harper Collins, 2003) and now includes additional books, as well as lesson plans, posters, and numerous other resources.
- Facing History and Ourselves is a nonprofit organization that offers an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to teaching citizenship. It connects history to the day-to-day experiences of students by revealing the corrupting forces of violence and hate, and the power of ordinary people in shaping history. Facing History’s resource center has a lending library of relevant books, periodicals, and videos.
Science: Further Reading, Key Organizations, Resources for Teaching
- The National Science Teachers Association mission is dedicated to “to improving science instruction and increasing public awareness of science education,” NSTA offers various curricular resources including, reviews of available science curricula and materials, as well as science curriculum planning tools. They additionally offer ideas for planning in relation to the Next Generation Science Standards and teacher-friendly resources on “special topics” such as climate change and evolution.
- Michigan State University professor Angela Calabrase Barton studies science education. Her books include Teaching Science for Social Justice (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003), (with Jason L. Ermer, Tanahia L. Burkett, and Margery D. Osborne) and more recently, Teaching Science & Mathematics for Empowerment in Urban Settings (University of Chicago Press, 2012) (With Edna Tan).
- Bryan Brown is a professor at Stanford University. His research on science teaching, science literacy, and discourse in science classrooms and illustrates how science instruction has underserved minoritized youth through its insensitivity to urban students’ cultural and linguistic needs. He helps run Science in the City, a group of former science teachers who examine how to improve science teaching in urban settings.
- Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California-Berkeley offers a collection of hands-on science activities and materials for preschool through high school that emphasize the “learning-by-doing” approach pioneered at the Hall. FOSS is an elementary-school science program with 27 modules that incorporates hands-on inquiry and interdisciplinary projects, building on recent advances in the understanding of how children think and learn.
- The Exploratorium is a museum in San Francisco, California, and its website has many resources for teachers of all grade levels. Science videos, activities, links to other science websites, and recommendations for science teaching books are just a few of the many resources made available online.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 6
Instruction: Teaching and Learning Across the Content Areas
- John Bransford, professor emeritus of education at the University of Washington, developed the Jasper Woodbury problem-solving series in mathematics, the Scientists in Action series, and the Little Planet Literacy series. Bransford is also coeditor with Ann Brown and Rodney Cocking of How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, 2000), one of the best books available on learning.
- The work of Jerome Bruner (deceased), research professor of psychology and senior research fellow in law at New York University, investigates how cognitive psychology and child development can inform teaching so that all children can become highly competent and fully participating members of their cultures. Books you might want to read include The Process of Education (1960), Toward a Theory of Instruction (1966), The Relevance of Education (1971), Acts of Meaning (1990), and The Culture of Education (1996)—all published by Harvard University Press.
- Educator Deborah Meierwas principal of a famed public school, Central Park East (CPE) in East Harlem, for 20 years and then became the founder and principal of the Mission Hill School in Boston. In her book, The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995), Meier argues for teaching that connects learning to real-world activities. A more recent book, These Schools Belong to You and Me, traces experiences in public schools as a way to shed light on the challenges of educating a democracy.
- Luis Moll, an education professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, studied learning in the lives of working-class Mexican American students and their families. Moll developed the concept of “funds of knowledge,” about which he has written extensively. He also edited or co-edited particularly helpful collections of writing by leading sociocultural theorists; these include, among others, Vygotsky and Education: Instructional Implications of Sociohistorical Psychology (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1992) and Funds of Knowledge: Theorizing Practices in Households and Schools (New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005).
Websites to Explore
- The Association for Constructivist Teaching, housed at Old Dominion University, is dedicated to the growth of all educators and students through identification and dissemination of effective constructivist practices in both the professional cultures of teachers and the learning environments of children. The association membership is open to anyone who is interested in the field of education. The association’s journal, The Constructivist, is also available online.
- Inside Teaching: A Living Archive of Practice is an online project of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. In this archive, teachers and teacher educators have uploaded videos of lessons, lesson plans, student work, and reflections on teaching and learning. The multimedia archive reflects a broad range of topics and grade levels. It is a great place to see (not just read about) excellent teaching.
- What Kids Can Do (WKCD) is a national nonprofit focused on celebrating the power of what young people can accomplish when given the opportunities and supports they need and what they can contribute when we take their voices and ideas seriously. The organization’s website provides local stories, books, and other resources, all of which place youth voices at their center.
- CAST is a nonprofit education research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all people through Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Their website includes research reports about UDL, as well as resources, such as readings and videos, that can be used for teachers’ professional learning.
- Edutopia, a project of the George Lucas Foundation, includes resources and videos related to implementing project-based learning, social and emotional learning, comprehensive assessment, teacher development, integrated studies, and technology integration. The site includes an online community for teachers to connect, collaborate, and share resources.
Resources for Teaching
- Differentiation Central has information about and resources for differentiating instruction at all grade levels K-12. The resources page includes videos, lesson plans, podcasts, articles, and an annotated bibliography on reaching all learners in a differentiated classroom.
- Strategies that Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Building Knowledge Grades K-8 (3rd edition) (Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2007) by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis provides detailed lessons and examples of reading comprehension instruction. The third edition includes a greater focus on student thinking, as well as a section on reading comprehension in the content areas, particularly science and social studies.
- Hosted by New York Public Media, Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning is an interactive site that offers demonstration lessons, interviews with researchers and teachers and a good list of resources.
- The Youth Learn Initiative supports youth development professionals and educators in their efforts to use media and technology tools to create exciting learning environments. The initiative’s website offers helpful suggestions for encouraging collaboration and sharing through classroom community-building.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 7
Assessment: Measuring What Matters
- Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man (New York: W. W. Norton, 1996) traces the history of efforts to classify and rank people according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits. This revised and expanded edition (published in 2012) includes a new introduction telling how and why he wrote the book and tracing the subsequent history of the controversy on inherited characteristics, right through The Bell Curve. The book also includes five essays, dealing with The Bell Curve in particular, and with race, racism, and biological determinism in general.
- The late Asa Hilliard, an educational psychologist and professor of urban education at Georgia State University, served as an expert witness in several landmark federal cases on test validity and bias, including a case that outlawed the use of IQ tests for classifying African American students as mentally retarded. His book Testing African-American Students (Chicago: Third World Press, 1996) explores issues of educational equity in assessment.
- Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995) argues against the use of rewards in raising children, teaching students, and managing workers. Kohn also looks carefully at how behavioral approaches to learning and external motivation undermine students’ intrinsic motivation to learn.
- Journalist Nicholas Lemann’s 1999 book The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux) tells a fascinating story of testing in the United States. His revealing history of the SAT makes clear that American conceptions of meritocracy that lead to unequal and unfair opportunities are neither natural nor inevitable.
- Elaine and Harry Mensh’s book The IQ Mythology: Class, Race, Gender and Inequality(Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991) reports a comprehensive, well-documented study of bias in mental testing and in IQ tests in particular.
- Steven Selden, who coordinated the program for curriculum theory and development at the University of Maryland, studied the eugenics movement in American history and traced how this strange mix of racism and science has influenced our conception of human ability. He chronicled this history in his book Inheriting Shame: The Story of Eugenics and Racism in America was published (New York: Teachers College Press, 1999).
Websites to Peruse
- The Authentic Assessment Toolbox was created by Jon Mueller, a professor of psychology at North Central College, Naperville, Illinois. The Toolbox includes step-by-step help for teachers for creating authentic tasks, rubrics, and standards for measuring and improving student learning.
- Housed at UCLA, the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing or CRESST, conducts research and development that improves assessment and accountability systems, and helps schools and districts respond to accountability demands. CRESST’s website includes a page for teachers with articles and assessment tools, as well as a page for parents.
- The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest) is an advocacy organization working to end the abuses, misuses, and flaws of standardized testing and ensure that evaluation of students is fair, open, and educationally sound. The center emphasizes eliminating the racial, class, gender, and cultural barriers to equal opportunity posed by standardized tests and preventing their damage to the quality of education.
- The Performance Assessment Resource Bank is an online platform for educators to share and find high-quality performance tasks and resources for using performance assessment for meaningful learning. The site, developed at Stanford University by The Language-Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (UL-SCALE) and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) is for educators who are searching for better, more authentic, and higher quality assessment tools that measure complex thinking
Resources for Teaching
- The Uncovering Student Ideas in Science series (Arlington, VA: NSTA Press, 2007) provides formative assessments for a range of science topics and concepts. The assessments are administered to students before teaching a particular unit so the teacher knows students’ prior knowledge about a given topic. Teaching suggestions for elementary, middle, and high school science classrooms accompany the assessments.
- The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project provides reading, writing, and performance assessments that teachers can download from the project’s website. The reading assessments are a series of leveled running records that assess both oral reading fluency and comprehension. Comprehensive rubrics and instructions accompany all of the assessments.
- Grant Wiggins was the president of Authentic Education in Hopewell, New Jersey, and a nationally recognized expert on assessment. His books, Educative Assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance and Assessing Student Performance (San Francisco: Jossey Bass), review the principles of high-quality assessment design and provide guidelines for developing performance tasks that meet rigorous educational standards.
- Carol Ann Tomlinson and Jay McTighe’s co-authored Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding By Design (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2006). It provides teachers with a guide for developing unit and lesson plans, while adhering to state standards and meeting the unique needs of the learners in their classrooms.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 8
Classrooms as Communities: Developing Caring and Democratic Relationships
- Antonia Darder holds the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Leadership in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University. She also is Professor Emerita of Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In Culture and Power in the Classroom: Educational Foundations for the Schooling of Bicultural Students (Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 2012), Darder offers principles for a critical practice of bicultural education. Darder also wrote the award-winning Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2002). In it, she explores the legacy of Freire, interviews eight of his former students who are now teachers themselves, and reflects on Freire’s own teaching practice. In both books, Darder’s critical perspective helps teachers evaluate their own practices.
- Education writer and social critic Herbert Kohl, a former teacher, has written many engaging books that tell compelling stories about teachers’ work with students in difficult life circumstances. One of his books, I Won’t Learn from You and Other Thoughts on Creative Maladjustment (New York: The New Press, 1994), includes essays and stories about responses to situations where, in Kohl’s words, “students’ intelligence, dignity, or integrity are compromised by a teacher, an institution or a larger social mind-set.”
- One of Harvard professor, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot’s books, The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other (New York: Random House, 2003) addresses the conversations parents and teachers have about their children, most frequently during parent-teacher conferences. She discusses how and why parents may feel uncomfortable and even powerless in these conversations and how teachers can be respectful partners with their students’ families.
- In addition to his writing on assessment, Alfie Kohn has written about democratic and respectful communities in schools and classrooms. Teachers may find the following especially useful: The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards” (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999); What to Look for in a Classroom . . . And Other Essays (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998); and Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community (Reston, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1996).
- Gloria Ladson-Billings is professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her best-selling book, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994), describes, through narratives about real teachers in urban classrooms, the success of culturally relevant pedagogy. In 2001, Ladson-Billings published Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms (San Francisco, Jossey-Bass), a book about preparing novice teachers to succeed with all students in multicultural classrooms.
- Emeritus education professor Nel Noddings of Stanford University wrote The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education (New York: Teachers College Press, 1992). In it, she lays out the conceptual underpinnings for viewing teaching as creating cultures of care.
- Vivian Gussin Paley, a kindergarten teacher to whom the MacArthur Foundation gave one of its prestigious “genius” awards, published her first book, White Teacher, in 1979. It was followed by several others, each addressing fundamental issues of classroom life—children’s development, racism, gender, and what it feels like to be the outsider, to be “different.” These highly readable books (all published by Harvard University Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts) include You Can’t Say You Can’t Play and Kwanzaa and Me. The books describe her compelling strategies for building the curriculum and classroom community around the knowledge and traditions of her students’ families and neighborhoods.
- Angela Valenzuela’s award winning book, Subtractive Schooling, chronicles what happens when schools disrespect students' cultural heritage and when teachers fail to listen to students.
Websites to Peruse
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) was founded as a volunteer group in Boston in 1990. It has since grown into one of the nation's leading voices for equality and safety in the educational system. Specifically, the organization works to ensure “safe and affirming schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
- Rethinking Schools (https://www.rethinkingschools.org) publishes a newspaper regularly, books occasionally, and other materials for teachers seeking critical analyses of education issues and pedagogical practices that reflect social justice values. Begun by a group of Milwaukee-area teachers who wanted to help shape education policy and reform, Rethinking Schools has become a resource for readers nation-wide—one that reflects a commitment to equity and a vision of public education as central to a humane, caring, multiracial democracy. Of particular relevance for the issues in this chapter are volumes of the book, Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Social Justice.
Resources for Teaching
- Teaching Tolerance is a project of The Southern Poverty Law Center. This organization offers a wide range of educational tools including, classroom activities, videos, written material, and a magazine for teachers interested in teaching racial tolerance. The site also has resources for parents, teenagers, and kids, including those help students learn about current events.
- The Bridging Multiple Worlds Alliance focuses on how youth forge their personal identities by coordinating cultural and family traditions with those of their schools, communities, and work. Catherine Cooper and her team have built a “toolkit” for educators to use with students to enhance the schools’ and students’ successful bridging of multiple worlds. The toolkit is online.
- Responsive Classroom is an approach to community building and classroom culture that focuses on positive social interactions. Rules in School (Greenfield, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children, 2011), by Kathryn Brady, Mary Beth Forton, and Deborah Porter, focuses on creating classroom rules with students that lead to positive behavior and academic learning. Additional publications and resources can be found online: https://www.responsiveclassroom.org.
- Restorative Justice was originally designed as a way to repair harm caused by criminal behavior in communities. Typically, all involved parties (i.e., victim, offender, community members) cooperatively decide how to best repair the damage. Restorative justice has shown success as an alternative approach to “disciplining” students in schools. The Centre for Justice and Reconciliation offers information and resources, both general and school-specific, for use in putting the principles of restorative justice into practice. The International Institute for Restorative Practices does, too, on the website for its school-based project, Safer, Saner Schools.
- Tribes Learning Community focuses on creating a collaborative classroom and school community so that all students are respected and supported, leading to improved opportunities to learn. Through Tribes, students learn how to work together cooperatively and collaboratively. Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities (Windsor, CA: Center Source Systems, 2014) by Jeanne Gibbs and Engaging All by Creating High School Learning Communities (Windsor, CA: Center Source Systems, 2008), by Jeanne Gibbs and Teri Ushijima, are two useful resources.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 9
School Culture: Where Good Teaching Makes Sense
Further Reading and Related Resources
- Linda Darling-Hammond is President of the Learning Policy Institute and emeritus professor of education at Stanford University where she directs the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Her research, teaching, and policy work focus on issues of school restructuring, teacher education reform, and educational equity. The award-winning book The Right to Learn (San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1997) is a classic, comprehensive text about how to best ensure that all schools work for all students. The centers with which she is affiliated produce high-quality research with implications for policy and practice; many of their respective resources are available online.
- Michael Fullan, former dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, is a leading authority on educational change and advises educators and school systems around the world. He has written over 30 books, including ones of particular interest to teachers such as classics like What’s Worth Fighting for in Your School? (New York: Teachers College Press, 1996) and more recent texts such as Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2015) and Freedom to Change (San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 2015).
- Mica Pollack is Professor of Education Studies and Director of the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) at the University of California, San Diego. Alongside her most recent book, Schooltalk: Rethinking What We Say About—and to—Students Everyday (New York: The New Press, 2017), is an open-access, resource-packed website—Schooltalking.org—for educators, youth and families working to improve communication and culture in their schools, districts, and communities.
- Trust in Schools (New York: Russell Sage, 2006), by Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider, addresses the importance of social relationships in school effectiveness and school reform. It reports on widely cited, seminal study of a dozen elementary schools in Chicago. The authors maintain that schools with strong “relational trust” among stakeholders (e.g., teachers, parents, administrators) tend to generate improved student learning and achievement, whereas schools without trusting social relationships tend not to generate positive learning outcomes for students. The book represents one of many resources produced by researchers affiliated with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Reform.
Websites to Peruse
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers information and resources designed to help students and teachers create safe and socially just schools. Their materials focus on taking proactive steps to ensure safety, equal access, and equal protection, so that every student can achieve in an environment free of hostility. Specific issue areas include: Religion and Public Schools, Disability Rights and Education, Race and Inequality in Education (including challenging the School-to-Prison Pipeline), and LGBT Youth.
- The Annenberg Institute for School Reform, housed at Brown University, convenes and conducts policy-pertinent education research and supports school reform efforts underway nationwide, especially in urban areas. Many of AISR’s projects and publications are housed online and are available there for public use.
- Although no longer an active reform movement, The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) still links hundreds of schools around the nation, many of which continue to identify with the CES Common Principles. Among these is the celebrated high school, Central Park East (CPE). CES founder Ted Sizer and CPE founder Deborah Meier have written extensively about the ideas at the Coalitions core in texts such as Horace’s Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985), Horace’s Hope: What Works for the American High School (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996), The Power of their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995), and In Schools We Trust (Boston: Beacon, 2002).
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) was founded as a volunteer group in Boston in 1990. It has since grown into one of the nation's leading voices for equality and safety in the educational system. Specifically, the organization works to ensure safe schools for all students, particularly those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where differences of all kinds are valued.
- The Linked Learning Alliance is a California-based coalition of stakeholders interested in building strong connections between K-12, college, and career. Members, whether from schools, industries, or communities, share a commitment to integrating meaningful, challenging academics with real-world learning in fields such as health care, science and technology, law, and so on. The coalition’s website offers course lists and other resources intended to support those who are seeking to build synergies between academic learning and life beyond school.
- Focused on supporting teachers and schools to navigate with agency topics of gender and sexual diversity,A Queer Endeavor is an initiative housed at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In addition to a full-length documentary film and supplementary educational materials, AQE hosts on its website a bank of resources for educators and any others who are seeking to disrupt heteronormativity, heterosexism, transphobia, and gendered harassment in and beyond classrooms and schools.
- Begun by a group of Milwaukee-area teachers who wanted to help shape education policy and reform, Rethinking Schools has become a resource for readers nation-wide—one that reflects a commitment to equity and a vision of public education as central to a humane, caring, multiracial democracy. Of particular relevance for this chapter are the magazine, both volumes of Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Social Justice, and various other texts such as Rethinking Popular Culture and Media and Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality.
Resources for Teaching
- Increasingly, websites provide teachers with resources to help their students grapple with crises, tragedies, and world tensions. For example, in the wake of the September 11 attacks, several established organizations added resources for teachers—including background information, lesson plans, and links to other Internet sites. Here are just a few of many helpful possibilities:
- Rethinking Schools and Teaching Toleranceoffer collections of lesson plans and resources that provide teachers with different perspectives and factual information for teaching about world events.
- The National Association of School Psychologists offers useful multilingual materials for helping students cope with crises, particularly crises related to terrorism, war, and natural disasters, as well as violence and grief generally.
- The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee offers educational resources for school officials, student groups, and others who are seeking information, films, speakers, or other assistance in discouraging hate speech and harassment.
- More recently, collectives have developed syllabi connected to current events about which teachers may want to learn so they can teach toward justice. These include syllabi focused on Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and Trumpism; more are popping up, as needed, so keep an eye out.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 10
School Structure: How Grouping and Tracking Shape Students' Opportunities to Learn
- Arizona State University education professor and co-director of the Equity Alliance, Alfredo Artiles writes about many topics, including the social construction of special education and the overrepresentation of students of color in special education classifications. One pertinent text, written with University of Texas, Austin emeritus professor Alba Ortiz, is English Language Learners with Special Needs: Identification, Placement, and Instruction (Washington D.C.: Center for Applied Linguistics, 2002); it summarizes research and best practices into a guide for making appropriate referrals of English learners to special education.
- Indiana University professor Ellen A. Brantlinger’s book Dividing Classes: How the Middle Class Negotiates and Justifies School Advantage(New York: Falmer Press, 2003) is a fascinating report of her study of how highly educated professional, middle-class parents work the tracking system at their schools to advantage their own schoolchildren. She documents how these middle-class tracking advantages come at a cost to children from less-wealthy families.
- City University of New York psychology Professor Michelle Fine’s video “Off Track: Classroom Privilege All,” raises fundamental educational questions about how we define intelligence and who we deem to be intelligent. The setting of the video is a successful, untracked World Literature course in suburban Montclair High School in New Jersey—a course in which students of varied backgrounds work together, constructing deep knowledge and powerful relationships.
- Tracking Inequality: Stratification and Mobility in American High Schools (New York: Teachers College Press, 1999), written by UC Berkeley professor Samuel Lucas, utilizes nationally representative data to discuss the social patterns inherent to tracking and tracking’s effects on high school students.
- Jeannie Oakes, professor emeritus of education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, studied inequalities in the allocation of resources and learning opportunities in schools, and equity-minded reform. Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), published in 1985 and 2005, describes how tracking and grouping by ability affects the classroom experiences of low-income students and students of color. It also describes research and best practices for detracking, as do various co-authored texts including Becoming Good American Schools: The Struggle for Virtue in School Reform (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999) and Navigating the Politics of Detracking (Arlington Heights, IL: Skylight Publications, 2000).
Websites to Peruse
- Talent Development Schools establish separate learning communities of roughly 200 to 300 secondary students. These small learning communities are traditionally organized into vertical, untracked houses with teaching teams (two or three teachers) responsible for fewer than 100 students. Informed by decades of practical expertise and research findings, Talent Development reforms aim to provide academically “vulnerable” middle and high school students with challenging “accelerated” curricula alongside the necessary support to ensure mastery of basic skills.
- California Association of Bilingual Educators (CABE) works to improve English Learners’ access to rigorous, high-quality bilingual education. It provides a wealth of resources via its Resource Center, including planning guides for creating dual immersion programs and online links to films and other materials for use in self-education about bilingual education or in bilingual teaching.
- Colorín Colorado, a bilingual multimedia website for educators and families of English Learners, has a multitude of resources related to teaching ELs, including resources that explain the roots of ELs under-representation among students designated as gifted and over-representation among students designated as having special needs. The website includes a wide range of resources, including instructional pointers, book lists for students PK-12, videos, and so on.
- For those interest in the political and legal dimensions of tracking in its varied forms, the National Education Policy Center and the Public Interest Law Center both offer information about how policies may inadvertently promote inequity, including the segregation of students, and how the law can intervene.
Resources for Teaching
- Detracking for Excellence and Equity(Alexandria, VA:Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2008), by Carol Burris and Delia Garrity provides educators with a practical guide for detracking their schools. The authors provide advice for elementary, middle, and high school teachers, including how to counter resistance to detracking reforms.
- The Inclusive Classrooms Project is a professional development initiative housed at Teachers College Columbia University. Grounded in “critical inclusivity,” the project offers via its online site a range of resources for teachers including multimedia inquiry projects completed by teachers in their own classrooms, examples of curriculum units, and so on.
- The Inclusive Schools Network is a web-based educational resource for families, schools and communities. Its mission is to expand and enrich inclusive educational opportunities around the world; to that end, it provides year-round opportunities for networking and knowledge building.
- Professor Mara Sapon-Shevin of Syracuse University has investigated classroom strategies to promote learning in mixed-ability classes. Her books, such as Because We Can Change the World: A Practical Guide to Building Cooperative, Inclusive Classroom Communities (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2010) and Condition Critical: Key Principles for Equity and Inclusive Education (New York: Teachers College Press, 2013), are solid resources for preschool through middle school teachers, who are committed to inclusive education.
- Professor Carol Ann Tomlinson at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education has written widely about how teachers can differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners. Among her teacher-targeted texts are The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of all Learners, 2nd Edition (Reston, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2014), and Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom: Strategies and Tools for Responsive Teaching (Reston, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2003).
Digging Deeper: Chapter 11
The Community: Engaging with Families and Neighborhoods
- James Comer, professor of psychiatry in the Yale Medical School, has written a number of books and articles about the Comer School Development Program, a particular model for engaging community members, business leaders, school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, and parents in creating school communities that promote children’s development and learning. Comer’s latest books about the project include Leave No Child Behind: Preparing Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s World (New Haven, CT: Yale Press, 2004) and What I Learned in School: Reflections on Race, Child Development, and School Reform (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009).
- Joyce L. Epstein is Professor and the director of both the Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships, and the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University. Author of over 100 publications on family and community involvement, Epstein and colleagues conduct and disseminate research; they also provide resources for developing knowledge and practices that support educators, parents, and community members in working together to improve schools, strengthen families, and enhance student learning.
- Pedro Noguera is distinguished professor of education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the Director of the Center for the Transformation of Schools. Noguera’s research focuses on how communities, schools, teachers and students, respond to social and economic forces. He leads projects aimed at promoting partnerships, specifically community-based collaborations, aimed at transforming urban schools. His latest books include City Schools and the American Dream: A Blueprint for Reforming City Schools (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003) and The Trouble with Black Boys: Reflections on Race, Equity and the Future of Public Education (San Francisco: Wiley and Sons, 2008).
- In Learning Power: Organizing for Education And Justice, Jeannie Oakes, John Rogers and Martin Lipton present the voices, images, and actions of young people, teachers, parents and community organizations who are organizing to fight for better schools in low-income communities. Critiquing the prevailing logic of American schooling, the authors offer an alternative logic based on justice and participatory democracy. Drawing on examples from organizing effort in urban Los Angeles, they make the case that grassroots public activism informed by social inquiry presents the best way to realize Brown v. Board of Education’s promise of “education on equal terms.”
Websites to Peruse
- Parents Across America is a national network of parents who are committed to public education and opposed to top-down reforms that take agency away from local communities when it comes decisions about local, state, and federal policies that impact teachers, students, parents, and schools.
- Parents for Public Schools is a national organization of community-based chapters. Invigorated by its diverse membership, PPS mounts proactive campaigns to help public schools attract all families in a community by making sure all schools effectively serve all children.
- The Right Question Project, Inc. (RQP), a nonprofit organization, has developed, field-tested, refined, and shared a different strategy that assists parents and local advocacy groups to learn the skill in formulating questions that focus their advocacy efforts with public institutions. The Right Question Project believes that its strategy—now used in many communities— helps low- and moderate-income people in their encounters with the various outposts of government (including public schools, welfare agencies, the health care system, housing programs, homeless shelters, job training centers, and many other publicly supported agencies, programs, and institutions) in ways that traditional parent involvement does not.
- The Global Family Research Project (formerly the Harvard Family Research Project) is an independent non-profit organization focused on childhood education, family and community support in education, and out-of-school time (OST) programming. Its website includes links to publications as well as other resources, such as archived webinars and “cases” that teachers can read and discuss together.
- Beyond the Bakesale: The Essential Guide to Family/School Partnerships (New York: The New Press, 2007), by Anne T. Henderson, Karen L. Mapp, Vivian R. Johnson, and Don Davies is a practical guide for educators who aim to create true partnerships with students’ families. Chapters end with checklists to assess how you and your school are faring in terms of creating family/school partnerships. Checklists include, “How family-friendly is your school?” and “How well is your school bridging racial, class, and cultural differences?”
- JoBeth Allen’s Creating Welcoming Schools: A Practical Guide to Home-School Partnerships with Diverse Families (New York: Teachers College Press, 2007) is another book for educators about partnering with families to improve student learning. The book consists of many practical suggestions to get to know and build relationships with families, such as writing cultural memoirs, collaboratively documenting local knowledge and knowledge sources, and engaging in genuine dialogue with students’ families.
Digging Deeper: Chapter 12
Teaching to Change the World: A Profession and a Hopeful Struggle
- William Ayers is Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired). He has written numerous books about teaching and social justice. One of his best-known books is To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (New York: Teachers College Press, 2001). More of his writing, as well as videos and other information can be found online.
- A joint project of the Chicago Teachers Union and Jacobin magazine, An Activist Teacher’s Handbook is available in full online and offers theoretically grounded practical guidelines for education organizers, and their allies, working in and beyond the classroom.
- Paulo Freire’s book Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), the last book written before his death, focuses on the issues that teachers face in their classrooms, between colleagues, with parents, and in relation to their administration. The book touches on most of the themes in Freire’s lifetime of work on education as the practice of freedom.
- What Keeps Teachers Going (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003) and Why We Teach (New York: Teachers College Press, 2005), written and/or edited by Sonia Nieto, include interviews with teachers, examples of teacher inquiry group collaborations, and essays written by teachers at varying stages in their careers. The teachers share their thoughts about why they teach and what keeps them inspired, despite some teachers’ frustrations with the current state of public education policy.
- Mike Rose, a UCLA education professor, has written two very readable and compelling books about the problems and possibilities of schools for low-income children. His first book, Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements of America’s Underprepared (New York: Penguin, 1990), detailed how low-achieving and minority students have been disregarded and mistreated in schools. In Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America (Penguin, 1999), Rose visits classrooms across the United States and reports on his findings. He takes readers to a one-room schoolhouse in Montana, a bilingual elementary classroom on the California-Mexico border, and a large urban high school, among others. The stories Rose tells are those of ordinary but excellent teachers working in classrooms throughout the country.
Websites to Peruse
- Democracy and Educationis a quarterly journal for teachers that promotes educational practices that help students develop democratic attitudes and values. The journal provides teachers committed to democratic education with a forum for sharing ideas with a support network of people holding similar values, and with opportunities for professional development.
- Journey for Justice (J4J) is a coalition of grassroots organizations in 24 cities nationwide. The group works together to oppose privatization, promote community-driven alternatives to corporate reform, and center the voices of low-income and working class parents and community members—those most impacted—in educational decision-making.
- In his Living in Dialogue blog, Anthony Cody writes about a variety of education reform issues. Cody, who worked in Oakland public schools for 24 years, primarily as a middle-school science teacher, is a strong advocate of school reform that starts with teachers.
- The Network for Public Education, founded by Diane Ravitch in 2013, is a pro-public education advocacy group. It hosts an annual conference and aims throughout the year to connect students, parents, teachers, and community members who are concerned about the future of public education and willing to fight for its preservation in the face of privatization, and for its realization as an engine of social justice.
- The Occasional Papers Series published by Bank Street College of Education covers a range of current topics in education and are written primarily by progressive teachers and teacher educators. Two editions of the series that may be of interest are titled Teacher Leaders: Transforming Schools from the Inside and Classroom Life in the Age of Accountability. They can be accessed online.
- Teaching for Change is a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that provides teachers and parents with the tools to transform schools into more equitable and social just centers of learning. Its website includes many unique resources, including an online catalog of books, videos, and posters for the classroom, as well as links to other justice-oriented organizations and teaching resources.
- The PBS documentary The First Year follows the emotional journey of five beginning teachers in the Los Angeles public school system. The documentary’s accompanying website provides the story of the documentary as well as information about the five teachers. Two of the teachers are graduates of the UCLA program featured in this book; in fact, we quote one of those teachers, Georgene Acosta, in this chapter.
Resources for Teaching
- Search your local area for groups of progressive educators committed to social justice. Local organizations frequently provide resources for teachers as well as sponsor a variety of events. Some such organizations include the New York Collective of Radical Educators in New York City, and Teachers 4 Social Justice in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Search your local area for cross-cutting coalitions, like Journey for Justice, that are working in support of public education and the issues you feel especially passionate about.
- Consider planning for and eventually pursuing certification through the esteemed National Boards for the Teaching Profession, a process and professional distinction that has been shown to enhance teacher quality and student learning.
- While there are a plethora of resources and opportunities available to educators beyond K-12 schools, taking the time to talk to colleagues and observe in colleagues’ classrooms can provide valuable wisdom and support, as well as tangible ideas that you can implement in your own classroom. Teaching can be isolating work, especially when educators remain cloistered in their own classrooms. Most accomplished teachers enjoy the opportunity to have a new teacher take the initiative and seek their advice on particular areas of expertise.