Para los educadores después de Charlottesville: Enseñando en la era de Trump

TrumpImageDespués del horrible despliegue de violencia y odio en Charlottesville el pasado fin de semana (11-13 de Agosto), que fue alimentado por la supremacía blanca, muchos maestros se han acercado a Rethinking Schools para preguntar acerca de estrategias sobre las cuales pensar y contextualizar nuestro papel como educadores en este momento.

Es importante que los maestros hablen de Charlottesville en sus aulas, y hay varios pasos inmediatos que podemos tomar (vea “Seven Ways That Teachers Can Respond to the Evil of Charlottesville – Starting Now“). Pero también es importante situar a Charlottesville dentro de un contexto y un cuestionamiento más amplios: ¿Qué significa ser un maestro en la era de Trump?

La primavera pasada, cuando Rethinking Schools celebró su 30vo aniversario, nuestros editores abordaron esta pregunta.

***

Repensando las escuelas nació en la era de Reagan. Celebramos nuestro décimo tercer aniversario en la era de Trump.

Sabemos algo acerca de mantenernos esperanzados durante los tiempos difíciles. Hace tres décadas, en nuestro primer editorial, escribimos “No nos lamentemos, organicémonos”, tomando prestado el consejo del gran trovador de los trabajadores Joe Hill.

Si ha existido algún tiempo en el que necesitábamos acatar este consejo, éste es ese tiempo. Sin embargo, no es tan claro cómo seguir exactamente estas palabras en este momento histórico.

Necesitamos apoyarnos en todo
lo que hemos aprendido acerca de la resistencia y la enseñanza para la justicia social a lo largo de los años aunque, como educadores, sabemos que siempre tenemos algo que aprender. Esta es
una razón por la cual continuamos publicando Repensando las Escuelas y para invitar a nuestros lectores a proponer historias acerca de sus propias experiencias en la enseñanza y en sus escuelas –como una manera en la que los educadores y activistas puedan informarse e inspirarse los unos a los otros y para alinear nuestro trabajo con los jóvenes que comparten nuestras mismas aspiraciones a una sociedad mejor y más justa.

Al ser una comunidad multi-generacional, los editores
y contribuidores de Repensando
las Escuelas construimos nuestro entendimiento compartido del mundo y compromiso con la justicia social en los movimientos de los Derechos Civiles,
en contra de la Guerra estadounidense en Vietnam, y por la liberación de la mujer en los 1960 y 1970. Continuamos aprendiendo de las luchas en contra de la intervención de Estados Unidos en Centroamérica; y de los movimientos anti-segregación, LGBT, anti guerra
de Iraq y anti globalización. Más recientemente, los movimientos de Black Lives Matter, justicia climática, derechos de los inmigrantes y la Lucha por $15 han inspirado a un mayor número de educadores a intercalar asuntos de justicia social en sus salones de clase y a identificarse con Repensando las Escuelas.

Ahora estamos frente a Trump
– y la galería de corruptos racistas, billonarios, islamófobos, misóginos, y privatizadores quienes lo aconsejan y le sirven. Para hacer la situación aún peor, a nivel federal y en docenas de estados, los republicanos de la extrema derecha controlan los poderes legislativo, ejecutivo y algunas veces, el judicial. Aún más, la historia y contradicciones del Partido Democrático solamente enfatizan lo mucho que los movimientos sociales independientes necesitarán liderar la resistencia.

En su discurso inaugural, Trump dejó claro lo que él pensaba de las escuelas públicas. Él se quejó de las “matanzas” que han plagado la nación y dio como ejemplo “un sistema educativo inyectado con dinero
pero que deja a nuestros jóvenes y hermosos estudiantes privados de todo conocimiento”. Y ahora tiene a Betsy DeVos como su secretaria de educación, una persona enteramente privilegiada quien ha pasado su carrera socavando y privatizando las escuelas públicas – y promoviendo charlatanerías educativas como su Neurocore “centros de rendimiento del cerebro”.

Bajo estas circunstancias, no solamente tenemos que ser educadores de la justicia social más eficientes sino también guardianes de la seguridad
de nuestros estudiantes y de la salud fundamental de la educación pública. Aún más, tenemos que encontrar el tiempo de organizarnos con otros y participar en los crecientes movimientos de resistencia a Trump y a todos los aspectos de su agenda.

A medida que reflexionamos sobre nuestros 30 años de publicación de Repensando las Escuelas y de nuestro trabajo por la justicia social, nos gustaría compartir algunas lecciones cosechadas de este trabajo.

Construyamos salones de justicia
social. Hemos abogado por la belleza
y fortaleza de aquellos salones de
clase que prefiguran aspectos del tipo
de sociedad en la que nos gustaría
vivir. Hemos promovido prácticas motivadoras basadas en la teoría liberadora de Paulo Freire y otros. Las características de un salón de clases
de justicia social que describimos
en Repensando nuestros salones de
clase todavía animan nuestro trabajo
y publicaciones. Nuestra enseñanza debe alentar a los estudiantes a hacer preguntas críticas sobre nuestro
mundo. Debe apreciar el activismo y las luchas; y también la bondad, alegría y cooperación – un currículo de empatía que construye destrezas académicas esenciales y un entendimiento poderoso. Es hora de tener audacia en nuestro trabajo, no timidez. Puede que Trump sea el presidente pero no es el presidente de nuestros salones de clase.

Hagamos de nuestras escuelas invernaderos de la democracia. La enseñanza de la justicia social en un salón de clases aislado es difícil de sostener. La enseñanza más exitosa tiene lugar donde las escuelas enteras están comprometidas con esta pedagogía crítica y participativa. En contraste con las declaraciones fortachonas de Trump, “yo solo puedo arreglarlo”, nuestras escuelas deben promulgar
la democracia al ser gobernadas de
una manera colaborativa con una participación significativa de los estudiantes, personal, familias y padres. Dadas las incertidumbres políticas que se están desarrollando, la creación de las escuelas de la comunidad como centros de renacimiento y resistencia –anclas de la esperanza de nuestras comunidades – será una manera importante de luchar contra la agenda de Trump.

Promovamos la solidaridad para enfrentar el racismo y la xenofobia. El asalto de Trump a los inmigrantes y refugiados y la deshumanización de
las personas de color, están basadas en patrones históricos de la supremacía blanca, hostilidad hacia los inmigrantes y la demonización del “otro”, diseñadas para provocar el miedo. El primer
libro que publicamos fue Repensando a Colón, el cual ofreció a los educadores
y activistas las herramientas para poner de cabeza al mito de El Descubrimiento de América de Colón, y mirar a estos eventos desde el punto de vista de las personas que estaban aquí primero. La publicación inicial de Repensando a Colón, en 1991, fue de 30.000 copias, las cuales se vendieron en tres semanas; y la publicación ha vendido ya más de un cuarto de millón de copias. Esta respuesta nos demostró que hay muchos educadores que, como nosotros, estaban hartos y cansados de un currículo que alababa la supremacía blanca.  Continue reading

For Educators After Charlottesville: Teaching in the Time of Trump

TrumpImage
After the horrific display of violence and hatred in Charlottesville last weekend that was fueled by white supremacy, many teachers have approached Rethinking Schools to ask for frameworks on how to think about and contextualize our role as educators in this moment.
It’s important that teachers talk about Charlottesville in their classrooms, and there are several immediate steps we can take (see “Seven Ways That Teachers Can Respond to the Evil of Charlottesville – Starting Now“), but it is also important to position Charlottesville within a broader context and question: What does it mean to be a teacher in the time of Trump?
Last spring, as Rethinking Schools celebrated its 30th anniversary, our editors tackled this question.
***

Teaching in the Time of Trump
By The Editors of Rethinking Schools

Rethinking Schools was born in the time of Reagan. We celebrate our 30th anniversary in the time of Trump. We know something about holding on to hope during hard times. Three decades ago, in our first editorial, we wrote “Don’t mourn, organize,” borrowing advice from the great labor troubadour Joe Hill.

If there were ever a time when we needed to heed this advice, that time is now. But exactly how we follow these words at this historical moment is not so clear.

We need to draw on everything we’ve learned about resistance and teaching for social justice through the years. But as educators, we know that we always have more to learn. That’s one reason we continue to publish Rethinking Schools and to invite readers to submit stories about their own teaching and school experiences — as a way for educators and activists to inform and inspire one another, and to align our work with young people with our aspirations for a better, more just society.

As a multigenerational community, Rethinking Schools editors and contributors first built our shared understanding of the world and commitment to social justice in the movements for civil rights, against the American war in Vietnam, and for women’s liberation in the 1960s and 1970s. We continued to learn from struggles against U.S. intervention in Central America; and the anti-apartheid, LGBTQ, anti-Iraq war, and anti-globalization movements. More recently the Black Lives Matter, climate justice, immigrant rights, and Fight for $15 movements have inspired increasing numbers of educators to weave social justice concerns into their classrooms and identify with the principles of Rethinking Schools.

Now we face Trump — and the rogue gallery of racists, billionaires, Islamophobes, misogynists, and privatizers who advise and serve him. And to make matters worse, at the federal level and in dozens of states, extreme right-wing Republicans control the legislative, executive, and sometimes the judicial branches of government. Moreover, the history and contradictions of the Democratic Party only underscore how much independent social movements will need to lead the resistance.

In his inaugural address, Trump made clear what he thought of public schools. He complained about the “carnage” that plagues this nation and gave as an example “an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.” And now he has Betsy DeVos as his secretary of education, an individual bathed in privilege who has spent her career undermining and privatizing public schools — and promoting educational quackery like her Neurocore “brain performance centers.”

Under these circumstances, we not only have to become more effective social justice educators, but also guardians of our students’ safety and the fundamental health of public education. Moreover, we must also make the time to organize with others and participate in the growing movements to resist Trump and all aspects of his agenda.

As we reflect on our 30 years of publishing Rethinking Schools and working for educational justice, we’d like to share some lessons gleaned from this work:

Create Social Justice Classrooms
We’ve championed the beauty and strength of classrooms that prefigure aspects of the kind of society we’d like to live in. We have promoted engaging classroom practices that draw on the liberatory theory of Paulo Freire and others. The characteristics of a social justice classroom that we first articulated in Rethinking Our Classrooms still animate our work and publications today. Our teaching should encourage students to ask critical questions of our world. It should prize activism and struggle, and also kindness, joy, and cooperation — a curriculum of empathy that builds essential academic skills and powerful understandings. It’s a time for audacity in our work, not timidity. Trump may be president, but he is not president of our classrooms.

Make Our Schools Greenhouses of Democracy
Social justice teaching in one isolated classroom is hard to sustain. The most successful teaching takes place where entire schools are committed to such critical, participatory pedagogy. And, in contrast to Trump’s strongman declaration, “I alone can fix it,” our schools should enact democracy by being governed in a collaborative manner, with significant student, staff, family, and parent involvement. Given the unfolding political uncertainties, the creation of community schools as centers of renaissance and resistance — anchors of hope in our communities — will be one important way to fight the Trump agenda.

Nurture Solidarity to Counter Racism and Xenophobia
Trump’s assault on immigrants and refugees, and his dehumanization of people of color, are rooted in historic patterns of white supremacy, hostility toward immigrants, and fear-stoking demonization of “the other.” The first book we published was Rethinking Columbus, which offered educators and activists the tools to turn the Columbus-discovers-America myth on its head, and to look at these events from the standpoint of the people who were here first. Rethinking Columbus’ initial press run of 30,000 copies in 1991 sold out in three weeks, and the publication went on to sell more than a quarter million copies. This response showed us that there were lots of educators who, like us, were sick and tired of a curriculum that sang the praises of white supremacy.

The Black Lives Matter movement and other long-standing struggles for justice set the context for resistance to this administration’s anti-immigrant and refugee attacks. At this moment, educators and schools have a great responsibility to ensure not only that students are safe and free from harassment and bullying, but also that we act in solidarity with students and families who face deportation.

Fight Sexism, Heterosexism, and Transphobia
The sexism and misogyny displayed by our 45th president have been breathtaking. That millions of people could vote for him — albeit not a majority — underscores the importance of education work around gender discrimination. Especially beginning with work toward our recent book Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality , we have sought to provide a vision of what educators are doing — and can do — to fight for women’s and gender equality. The massive marches organized by women the day after Trump’s inauguration showed the power of women’s leadership and jump-started the resistance that will be necessary to challenge Trump’s agenda.

Put Children First, Not Data
The test-driven policies of the Bush and Obama administrations narrowed the curriculum and straitjacketed pedagogy. The threat now is that an administration deeply hostile to all things public will double-down on the test-and-punish policies begun in earnest with No Child Left Behind, but continued with even greater gusto under Obama and Duncan. We’ve always held that the best defense of public schools is to transform them — to rethink our classrooms and schools, so that they genuinely meet the needs of the communities they serve. But as we work to improve public schools, we need to continue to oppose the use of standardized tests to discredit and defund them. Public schools need more resources, not fewer, and we need to fight for them.

Fight Privatization of the Commons
In 1988, shortly after we launched Rethinking Schools, we first warned of the dangers of school privatization. Milwaukee, where Rethinking Schools started, is home of the first and one of the largest publicly funded private religious school voucher programs in the nation, which has funneled nearly $2 billion of public funds into private schools. This is theft, plain and simple. Across the planet, this attack on the “commons” — everything needed for the public good, especially schools — is widespread. The appointment of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education and Trump’s pledge to pour $20 billion into private school voucher plans signal escalating attacks as religious zealots and privatizing charlatans at local and state levels are emboldened. We must continue to defend the promise of public schools, while working to ensure that they serve all students well.

Build International Solidarity
More than ever, educators need to think internationally. Trump’s rise to power parallels the racialized, neo-fascist movements gaining strength in Europe — including Marine Le Pen in France, Golden Dawn in Greece, and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. Their scapegoating of the “other” continues the centuries-old privileging of the “white” north over the global south.

The massive worldwide demonstrations immediately following Trump’s inauguration were an encouraging sign that more and more people outside of the United States recognize the need for global solidarity to oppose the growing tendencies of hypernationalism and unfettered capitalism.

Through our books and magazine we have encouraged teachers to bring a global perspective to their teaching — to teach critically about the “war on terror,” sweatshops and child labor, U.S. military intervention throughout the world, the occupation of Palestine, and the climate crisis. More than ever, we need to learn from the struggles of teachers and students in Mexico, Quebec, Chile, and throughout the world, and to see ourselves in solidarity with people everywhere who struggle for greater democracy and for a livable planet.

Build Social Justice Unionism
For more than 20 years we have promoted an affirmative vision of social justice teacher unionism, characterized by increased democracy and participation by members, alliances with community groups, and attention to both social justice and pedagogical issues. The growing number of local and state teacher unions — in both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers — that are putting into practice aspects of this type of unionism is encouraging, and we hope will inspire many other educators to push their unions in this direction. We will continue to publish articles that describe exemplary efforts to include our unions in the broader movement for social justice.

Support Student Activism
Children and youth are our best hope for creating a decent world. As educators, we have a moral and civic responsibility to be models for our students. Our classrooms should be places where students are motivated to think critically, look at multiple points of view — especially those that have been silenced — and evaluate whose interests those points of view serve. We should encourage students to take informed action inside and outside of the classroom. In the months following Trump’s election, thousands of students took to the streets across the country. We believe student activism will continue to grow, and we must nurture and support it. When students act on their beliefs and values about what is fair and just, they learn that democracy happens every day, not just on election day.

We’re All in This Together
We are heartened by the steady growth in recent years of organizing for social justice education, including the growth of teaching for social justice gatherings throughout the country. One of the longest-running is organized by Teachers 4 Social Justice every year in San Francisco; others have emerged in New York, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, the Northwest, St. Louis, and elsewhere. Social justice education groups like Education for Liberation and Journey for Justice bring together teachers, students, parents, and activists to share experiences and talk strategy. Our rapidly growing movement has great potential to transform teacher unions, schools, and entire districts.

Thirty years ago, we began Rethinking Schools as a free newsprint tabloid for Milwaukee Public School educators. As we grew to reach an audience around the country, we continued to hope that what we published would help educators become better teachers and better organizers. Thirty years later, this remains our goal.

No doubt, we have incredibly hard times ahead. But we know of no better guidance than the words of Joe Hill we began with 30 years ago: “Don’t mourn, organize.”

Seven Ways that Teachers Can Respond to the Evil of Charlottesville — Starting Now

An educator confronts the failures of an education system that breeds white supremacy, and offers concrete tips for teachers who seek to challenge it.

By Xian Franzinger Barrett
This article first appeared on AlterNet 

Joe

White supremacy did not appear as a surprise guest to this weekend’s events. It is a plague that permeates every aspect of our shared society. At the same time as it threatens to strip people of color — especially Black — of their lives and freedom, it corrodes the logic, reason and future of our society as a whole. White supremacy is also a deeply embedded feature of our education system even as it runs counter to the values we claim to hold in pursuit of education.

In response to this weekend’s deadly white supremacist rallies and violence in Charlottesville, there was a shared outrage among educators on social media. I saw a range of reactions. There were a lot of folks — especially white — saying: “How could this happen in America?” And there were a lot of folks — especially folks of color — saying: “We’ve been telling you that this is happening in America.” What many of us shared was a conviction that the events in Charlottesville couldn’t go unchallenged.

In considering effective responses while looking at the sea of hateful white faces in the media of the event, I wondered: “Who grew this hate? Who planted it? Who nurtured it? Who protected it from exposure to education and love?” With an eye to education, I asked:  “What schools failed to educate these white supremacists? Who were their teachers? Who taught this hate?”

As teachers, our job is not solely to pour mathematics, science, language arts or any other content knowledge into the heads of our students. It is our duty to our profession, to our society and to the students to lovingly teach them to learn and grow beautifully as complete humans. The fact that the violent white supremacists in Charlottesville moved through dozens of classrooms that taught English, Social Studies, Math, Science and other subjects while nurturing or enhancing their white supremacist ideals is an indictment of our daily practice. It says that their institutions may have effectively served math facts or essay writing, but it was with a side of white supremacy.

This may seem too harsh on my colleagues at predominantly white schools. Let me be clear: first, this is not about blame. I write out of deep urgency that we address the cultural and systemic failures in our school system that are promoting white supremacy. I ask you to consider how it is that we’ve grown accustomed to narratives regarding the failings of segregated schools that serve students of color, but not the schools that educated those who defend and promote that segregation.

So what do we do?
As we walk into our classrooms in the coming weeks, here are a number of concrete actions every educator can take to address the evil that was on display in Charlottesville. Some of these suggestions deal with Charlottesville specifically, but most will help educators address the longer term systemic challenges in our classrooms that foster white supremacy and other oppression.   Continue reading

Apply Now! Rethinking Schools is Hiring a Marketing and Communications Coordinator!

Apply now to be the next Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Rethinking Schools!

Position Details
Marketing and Communications Coordinator needed for full-time work in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood. This position is responsible for Rethinking Schools’ (RS) public relations and for developing and implementing marketing plans to promote the sales and growth of Rethinking Schools magazine, RS books and the RS website.

Description

Responsibilities include coordinating design and production of promotional materials, social media campaigns, advertising, sales at conferences, subscription renewal services, and promotional campaigns for new books. The Marketing and Communications Coordinator reports directly to the Business Manager and works collaboratively with the Office Manager, design/layout consultant, and Rethinking Schools magazine and book editors.

Marketing

  • Develop and implement print and digital marketing, including the acquisition of mailing lists, working with editors on content, and analyzing click and success rates of emails, Facebook posts, website visits, etc.
  • Develop annual marketing plan and timeline for Rethinking Schools, RS books, and RS website.
  • Design, oversee and evaluate subscription renewal program.
  • Develop and implement specific marketing plans for each new book including social media campaigns, promotional flyers and mailings, contacting publications for reviews, author interviews, and book signing events.
  • Working with the Office Manager and editors, plan and support RS presence at conferences, including staffing booths. Oversee design and production of advertising, promotional materials, and publications catalog

Public Relations 

  • Field press and other inquiries (e.g., speaker and media requests) and forward requests to appropriate Rethinking Schools person.
  • Coordinate writing and distribution of press releases/e-announcements for magazine, books and other RS activities.

Social Media and Website 

  • Coordinate maintenance of Rethinking Schools Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest page, blog, and other social media channels.
  • Create email calendar and coordinate the writing, testing, and sending of emails.
  •  Help update website as needed for new issue and books, corrections and changes.
  • Work on development and promotion of site licenses and student access

 Advertising 

  • Find new advertisers and sustain current advertisers to place ads in each issue of Rethinking Schools.
  • Send out contracts to advertisers, maintain contracts on file, and have AIDC bill for ads. Collect paid ad copy by ad deadline. Have paid ads proofed. Update ads and ad spread sheet for art director as needed.
  • Books Work with consultant to reprint current RS books with revised ad pages. Work with Business Manager on distribution of e-books. Develop RS ads and subscription cards for all new RS books. Coordinate with production editors and designers.
Qualifications

As a prerequisite, the successful candidate must believe in the core values of Rethinking Schools, and be driven by its mission. You should have/ be:

  • Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in marketing or communications
  • At least 3 years of marketing and communications experience with a proven track record of successfully managing multiple priorities and job responsibilities.
  •  Pertinent experience in a publishing or progressive nonprofit setting preferred but not required.
  • Internally motivated, self-starter; a program leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical initiatives
  • Skilled at data management and communications software. Superior communications and writing and editing skills
  • Thorough attention to detail, resourcefulness and a talent for problem-solving, tenacity and determination in challenging situations, a high sense of urgency, and an ability to carry out a plan
Compensation & Benefits

Rethinking Schools is an equal opportunity employer. Women, People of Color, and LGBT folks are encouraged to apply.

Salary will be commensurate with skills and experience.

Rethinking Schools offers competitive benefits: Employer paid health, dental vision as well as life, long term and short term disability insurance. Simplified Employee Pension plan.  Four weeks vacation, 12 sick days, personal and holiday leave.

Apply here: http://www.bigshoesmidwest.com/job/marketing-and-communications-coordinator/rethinking-schools-ltd/15258

What Does It Mean When Your Teacher Changes Your Name?

“Ayyy, I already told you, your name is too long! We don’t go by two names here and we don’t go by two last names. Pick a name. Maria or Edith. And as far as last names, you are Espinosa. We don’t use your mother’s last name. So what’s it going to be?”

When we put out the call for articles for Rethinking Bilingual Education, we received several personal stories from teachers who themselves felt the effects of linguistic discrimination when they were students. Edith Treviño was one of those teachers and wrote a short narrative for the book that underscores a complex reality for many children in our schools.

Treviño wrote about how, when she was in 5th grade, her teacher told her that her name wasn’t “American” enough, insisted she could only go by one last name, and forced her to choose — in front of her classmates — whether she wanted to be called Maria or Edith.

The message was clear. Her identity, her Mexican heritage, her mother’s last name: None of these were welcome in a classroom in the United States.

RBE_cov.jpg.jpeg

As teachers, it benefits us all to think about whether we treat our students’ names with respect and dignity, particularly the names of our immigrant students and students of color.

Do we ask how to pronounce an unfamiliar name, or do we Anglicize it? Do we insist on giving students nicknames that sound “American,” like Maria Edith’s teacher did when she called her “Edie”? Or do we defer to families and seek to learn about their naming practices?

As Treviño explains, these decisions can permanently shape how a child sees themselves and what they call themselves, long after they leave our classrooms.

— Grace Cornell Gonzales, Editor, Rethinking Schools

***

The Death of My Mexican Name
By Edith Treviño

My name was Maria Edith Espinosa Yepez. A beautiful name. Maria Edith is two names in one, and that is how I would write my name on all of my school papers as a young immigrant student in the United States. I would curve my M, and my Y took a very fancy shape as my handwriting improved throughout the years. I was always proud of the last name Yepez because no one had ever heard of it.

One day, my 5th-grade teacher Mrs. Sauceda called me over to her desk. As I approached, her voice turned preachy: “Ayyy, I already told you, your name is too long! We don’t go by two names here and we don’t go by two last names. Pick a name. Maria or Edith. And as far as last names, you are Espinosa. We don’t use your mother’s last name. So what’s it going to be?”

I was a shy student and extremely embarrassed that my teacher was confronting me about this issue again. Mrs. Sauceda always spoke in a hurried pace. I felt rushed to reply. All of my classmates were looking at me. I hated that moment and wished the tierra would swallow me whole. Looking at the floor, I finally whispered, “Edith.”

“OK, then in the United States, you are Edith Espinosa. Learn it. And no more Yepez!” Mrs. Sauceda concluded.

When my teacher changed my name, my life was altered in one instant. I remember walking back to my desk feeling ashamed of my beautiful name. There I was with my Mexican braids, my history being buried in the ground. My name was all I had left of my sense of home, mi identidad perdida.

VLM - small printseps

After that I never wrote Maria or Yepez again in any school setting. In fact, that same day, my teacher nicknamed me “Edie.” To make me feel better, I assume, she took a multicolored map pencil and wrote the name “Edie” on a piece of college-ruled paper and gave it to me. The name had different colors like a rainbow. There was my new identity, written on college-ruled paper, the Mexican girl now “Americanized.”

But I sure did not feel Americanized. After that day, I was ashamed of my real name in the United States. Yet when I crossed over to Mexico, I was Maria Edith again, and I felt like I was home.

Even today, I don’t like to be called Edith. And I don’t like to be called Maria. I want my complete name back. I want to be Maria Edith again, no matter where I am.

Edith Treviño is a former bilingual teacher and now works as a digital learning specialist for Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District in South Texas.

The cover art for Rethinking Bilingual Education is by Ricardo Levins Morales and the Viva La Mujer piece was done by Melanie Cervantes.

This article appears in Rethinking Bilingual Education, a new book from Rethinking Schools. Use the code RBEPS17B for 25% off!

You can purchase the book here: https://www.rethinkingschools.org/books/title/rethinking-bilingual-education

To join the conversation around language, linguistic discrimination, and bilingual education, follow Rethinking Bilingual Education on Facebook.

Fighting for Okinawa — My Home, Not a Military Base

By Moé Yonamine

My family moved to the United States from Okinawa when I was 7. But Okinawa is still home — and I’m hurt and angered at how the United States and Japan continue to treat Okinawa as little more than a colonial outpost. As a teacher, I’m even more dismayed at how the conventional school curriculum keeps young people in this country ignorant about the abuse, but also about the resistance, in my home islands.

“They are burying our beautiful ocean,” read the recent message from my mother in Okinawa, as though she was grieving the loss of a loved one. After decades of protest by Okinawan people to completely get rid of all U.S. military bases that occupy a fifth of the Ryukyu Island chain, the United States and Japan signed a treaty to evacuate one of the most contested bases located in the center of the main island, Futenma Marine Corps (MCAS) base. In exchange for the removal, both governments announced that they would construct a floating military base off the northeast coast of Henoko. Okinawans expressed vehement opposition, with a majority voting in a referendum for the complete removal of all bases. Still the construction continued and the people persisted in protest — marching for miles down main streets, creating human chains for peace, linking arms around military bases, elders repeatedly lying down in front of bulldozers. Governor Takeshi Onaga demanded the Japanese government terminate the heliport construction and city mayors prevented access of U.S. military construction vehicles through their districts — later overturned by federal court order last December sought by the Japanese federal government.

Protest at Camp Schwab against US Military Base in Okinawa

People of Okinawa being removed by the police as they were protesting against the planned expansion of a U.S. military base at Camp Schwab, Nago, Okinawa, Japan.

Today, the concrete seawalls are finished, and soon, rocks will be crushed and sand will pile high, burying the tropical, clear waters. The Japanese government and U.S. military continue to pursue the construction of the runway, despite community complaints of environmental damage and pollution, endangerment to sea life, harm to the fishing and tourism industry, as well as the ongoing threat to cultural survival and island sovereignty. On July 6th the Ryukyu Shimpo announced that the Japanese government would not return the land occupied by MCAS Futenma to the Okinawan people. The U.S. and Japan added a condition to the promise for Futenma’s removal: The Naha International Airport must be made available for the U.S. military any time they declare an emergency. When Governor Onaga rejected this demand, the U.S. military withdrew its promise to remove Futenma. Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada stated, “If the requisite conditions for the return of Futenma are not met, it will not be returned.” In a surge of anger, pain and frustration, word spread quickly in Okinawa across social media.

Devastated at the sacrifice of my home, I turned to the news here in the United States, and there was not one story about Okinawa on any major network. Frustrated, I recalled my conversation with an elderly grandmother I met at a peace rally in my neighborhood when I went home last summer. When I told her I was a teacher in the United States, she told me that the best thing we as teachers can do is to teach kids about what’s happening in Okinawa and how we want a world without war. She said, “They need to know our story so they can stand up with us.”

But when I turn to a typical U.S. textbook, I see how students are ill-equipped to understand what’s happening in Okinawa. For example, in Holt McDougal’s widely used The Americans, there are a mere three paragraphs about Okinawa under the section, “The Atomic Bomb Ends the War.”

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Okinawan coastline. Image: Tomaž Vajngerl/Creative Commons.

Discussion of Okinawa begins and ends with a skewed description of the Battle of Okinawa during WWII: “In April 1945, U.S. Marines invaded Okinawa,” it begins. “By the time the fighting ended on June 21, 1945, more than 7,600 Americans had died. But the Japanese paid an even greater price — 110,000 lives — in defending Okinawa.” Okinawans are completely invisible in this account of the war, the bloodiest battle in the history of the Pacific, where our islands were used as a battleground between the United States and Japan. The highest cost was in Okinawan lives, where more than a third of the population was killed within three months — almost 150,000 — and more than 92 percent were left homeless. The majority of today’s families — including mine — have experienced grief and loss of loved ones. Continue reading

The Climate Crisis Is Real and Young People Deserve to Know

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Dear supporter of climate justice,

Like many of those in our global community, I was disgusted and outraged after listening to Donald Trump’s speech at the White House announcing the United States is pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. What struck me was that Trump did not utter one word about the climate crisis that triggered the global commitment – however inadequate – to limit greenhouse gases. Nothing about the rising sea levels, the threat to global water supplies, the extinction of species, the loss of homes and livelihoods for millions of people, and countless other disasters on the horizon.

APCE_coverTrump represents the short-term interests of the fossil fuel industry. It was this same greed-soaked thinking that prompted the fossil fuel industry this spring to send climate denial textbooks to every science teacher in the country — courtesy of The Heartland Institute.

With your help, Rethinking Schools is defending the right of teachers to teach the truth about the enormity of the climate crisis. We are sending free copies of our book A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis to teachers in six states. These states — Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, and Idaho — are the most vulnerable to fossil fuel-inspired legislation that seeks to deny the reality of the climate crisis. 

Will you help us get this important resource — A People’s Curriculum for the Earth in the hands of as many teachers as possible?

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Your donation is a vote against Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord and a tangible action to battle the Koch-funded Heartland Institute’s attack on climate justice.

Please donate now so that we can get a copy of A People’s Curriculum for the Earth in the hands of as many teachers as possible.

In solidarity,
Bob Peterson
Board President, Rethinking Schools