Inside our Summer 2016 Issue

cover_200Articles in this summer issue are glimpses into the classrooms of educators who are teaching for social justice, defying the notion that schooling should be reduced to test preparation and the training of “successful” workers.

Our cover article, “The Problem with Story Problems,” is from teacher educator Anita Bright, who uncovers troubling biases embedded in story problems in math textbooks—from elementary through high school levels. Bright shows how seemingly neutral math problems are anything but. Instead, they often reinforce racial and gender stereotypes, encourage students to imagine themselves as bosses, reduce workers to sources of profit, and promote consumerism and the acquisition of “stuff.” But Bright also describes how teachers are helping their students think critically about these word problems and repurpose them with more humane and ecological values. Math teachers, she writes, can “create a classroom climate where challenging the status quo is accepted, normal, and encouraged.”

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And that’s just the start. Here’s the full table of contents:
Problem with Story Problems
By Anita Bright
A teacher educator critiques the biases of story problems in math textbooks. Teachers around the country offer creative alternatives.
By Michelle Kenney
The tale of a high school English teacher’s journey into—and out of—formulaic writing programs as her school struggles with high-stakes exams.
By Wendy Harris
Parallels in the oppressive history of residential schools for Native American and Deaf children help Deaf students better understand their history and culture.
By Greg Huntington
A teacher writes about his hopes for the person his child will become—and some of the dangers along the way.

 

Politics of Paragraph photo

By Michelle Nicola
Latina/o students explore the impact of African roots on Mexican culture and history.

DEPARTMENTS

LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
Classrooms of Hope and Critique

By the editors of Rethinking Schools
LETTERS
Letters to the Editor
ON THE ROAD
Schools, Land, and Peace in Colombia

By Bob Peterson
SHORT STUFF
FBI Tells Schools to Spy on Students
Election Rhetoric Harms Students
RESOURCES
Our picks for books, videos, websites, and other social justice education resources.

Who’s talking about the summer issue?

by Kris Collett

Our summer issue is out, and many articles are already garnering positive attention.

We’re stoked that our editorial “The New Misogyny” spread on Twitter like wildfire. Thanks to Diane Ravitch for retweeting it to her 30,000+ followers! Read it now to see what the buzz is about.

Our friends at AlterNet and at Common Dreams posted Bill Bigelow’s article “From Johannesburg to Tucson.” I always learn something new about the people’s history when I read Bill’s articles, but it’s his insightful observations that make me pause and reflect on the kind of society I want to leave behind:

“The common denominator in these instances is the disrespect of those in power for students’ capacity to think critically and to take action based on their beliefs. When educational authorities consistently display such slight regard for students’ academic and moral capacities, is it any wonder that they match this contempt with an intellectually thin, idea-poor curriculum?”

The Institute for Humane Education has a very fine blog, Humane Connection. They dedicated a post to a brief review of the issue focusing on two articles they believe embody the principles of humane education.

The National Writing Project shared Linda Christensen’s article with their 7,300 twitter followers. “The Danger of a Single Story” is about an essay writing unit Linda completed with her high school students shortly following the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin.

In addition to directing the Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark College, which takes her into schools all around the Portland area, Linda also teaches a class at Jefferson High School (as a volunteer), where she taught for almost 25 years.

We also dedicated space in the magazine to teacher quality issues, including Stan Karp’s article “Taking Teacher Quality Seriously.”  The article was picked up by the Marshall Memo, a widely read “weekly round-up of important ideas and research in K-12 education.”

These are just a few highlights from the issue. Check out the entire issue, and consider a subscription if you like what you see.  (Use code 5PAYWALL12 for a 15% discount.)

Kris Collett is the Outreach/Marketing Director for Rethinking Schools.