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Teaching for Hope and Activism

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Vol. 25, No. 4

Teaching for Hope and Activism

Teaching and Learning in the Midst of the Wisconsin Uprising
By Kate Lyman

Teaching Budget Cuts to Third Graders
By Dale Weiss

Declassified: Struggle for Existence (We Used to Eat Lunch Together)
By Brian Pickett


Scholastic Inc.• Pushing Coal
By Bill Bigelow

Tiger Moms and the Model Minority Myth
By Helen Gym

Te Tremble • An Unnatural Disaster
By Adam Sanchez

Early Childhood Military Education?
By Anne Pelo

My Failing School
By Wanda Caine

Testing What Matters Least
By Maika Yeigh, Andie Cunningham, Ruth Shagoury

Shhh!! No Opinions in the Library
By Amanda Vender


EDITORIAL • This Is What Solidarity Looks Like



BOOK REVIEW • The Next American Revolution
Reviewed By Greg Smith


By Kathy Xiong


Got an idea? For curriculum and in-school articles, contact Bill Bigelow, curriculum editor:
For articles about activism or policy, contact Jody Sokolower, policy and production editor:
Send letters to the editor to:

Summer 2011

Illustration: Eric Hanson

How do we bring the fight to protect and transform public schools into our classrooms? How do we connect our classrooms to the struggles in the streets? As the crisis over public education escalates, activist teachers are experimenting with new approaches.

Two of the articles in our cover section are by Wisconsin elementary teachers who helped their students grasp key aspects of the political storms in their state—often teaching with little sleep after nights of camping out in the state Capitol building. Each used the Civil Rights Movement as a point of reference. Both Kate Lyman and Dale Weiss know that children invariably try to make sense of the world around them. Of course, teachers can attempt to ignore the social turmoil, but this means missing an incredible opportunity to support our students in critical thinking about the issues as well as about the rumors, chunks of (mis)information, and media images. As these teachers demonstrate, even young children can think clearly and act wisely.

In the third article in this section, New York City drama teacher Brian Pickett guides high school students in creating their own version of Antigone as a way to protest the closure of their school. It takes a national campaign to overcome administrative attempts to stop the students from performing their play publicly.

Our students at every grade level need to understand what’s happening to public education. We want them to feel empowered to play a role in the historic events of the day and to feel hopeful about the future. Our challenge as teacher activists is to guide students to think critically, discover their own truths, and find their own way to respond. Our job is to give light and have confidence that our students will find their way.

Kate Lyman, Dale Weiss, and Brian Pickett offer exciting examples of doing just that. We hope you find these articles thought-provoking and inspiring.

—the editors