Post-patriarchy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queering Our Schools: Spring issue of Rethinking Schools

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

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

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

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

 

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

Resisting Teach for America

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

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

Articles in Spanish!

Three articles in this issue also appear in Spanish:

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

My Friend Andy, a Gay Teacher

by Melissa Bollow Tempel

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your support!

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

Here’s the original post:

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

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

Read the rest of this post at HuffingtonPost Gay Voices

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

‘Queer Matters’ and other LGBTQ resources

June is Gay and Lesbian Pride month.

At Rethinking Schools, we’ve been writing about gender and sexuality for a long time, including issues affecting the LGBTQ community.

We’re pleased to highlight these articles that have graced the pages of our magazine over the years. We hope you find wisdom, insight, and of course great teaching ideas from these pieces.

We are also hard at work on a new book about gender and sexuality. Look for more information and discounts later this year!

These articles are available free to all friends of Rethinking Schools:

SokolowerStreeterCreative Conflict: Collaborative Playwriting, by Kathleen Melville
A high school drama teacher searches for ways to encourage students to write about their lives without replicating stereotypes.

‘My Teacher Is a Lesbian:’ Coming Out at School, by Jody Sokolower
Adventures of an “out” teacher and some suggestions for deciding if and how to come out to your students.

Heather’s Moms Got Married, by Mary Cowhey
Second graders talk about gay marriage.

And look for “Rethinking the Day of Silence,” by Adriana Murphy in our summer issue, due out in mid-June!

These articles are available to our friends who are also subscribers

Queer Matters, by William DeJean and Anne René Elsebree
Educating educators about Homophobia

It’s OK to Be Neither: Teaching That Supports Gender-Variant Children, by Melissa Bollow Tempel
The everyday experiences of a 1st grader push a teacher to confront gender issues in the classroom.

A Journey to Openness, by Daniel P. Ryan
An elementary principal tells of his journey to being an openly gay administrator.

Fed Up with Gay-Bashing
An 11-year-old student takes a stand against homophobic slurs