Current News

Schomburg Education Institute 2014 Black History 360


Teaching for Change presented in July of 2014 for the second year in a row at the Schomburg Education Institute Black History 360. Summer intern Sarah Slichter attended for the full week. Here is her report on the first afternoon and the day of the Teaching for Change seminar on Freedom Schools and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Two weeks ago, I had the privilege to represent Teaching for Change at the Schomburg Library’s Black History 360 Education Institute in Harlem. Read more.

Indies First on Small Business Saturday


For the holiday 2014 season, bestselling author Neil Gaiman and musician-author Amanda Palmer called upon their fellow authors to get behind Indies First and volunteer at independent bookstores around the country on Saturday, November 29th. As part of this Indies First Movement, authors Derrick Weston BrownTodd MillerPhyllis Bennis, and Zetta Elliot will recommended their favorite titles at Teaching for Change BookstoreRead more.

Central America Workshop in Mt. Rainier


On Saturday, teachers, parents, and other community members in Mount Rainier, Maryland stepped into the shoes of key people in Central American history and literature. This pre-viewing activity was for a community screening of the film Harvest of Empire, led by Teaching for Change curriculum specialist Julian Hipkins III at Joe’s Movement Emporium. The film was selected to allow greater understanding about immigration issues and was followed by a discussion with… Read more.

Teaching for Change Welcomes Politics & Prose


The Teaching for Change staff and board are pleased that Politics and Prose will be taking on the operation of the bookstores at the other Busboys and Poets locations. We will continue to staff, own, and hand-select every title in the inventory at the independent, progressive, non-profit Teaching for Change Bookstore at the 14th and V location. As the founding partner with Busboys and Poets since its opening ten years ago at 14th and V Streets NW, we have played a key role in… Read more.

Board Member Annual House Party Raises Friends and Funds


When Kate Tindle first joined the Teaching for Change board in 2000, there was no doubt that her experience in education would be very helpful for planning and organizational governance. But she was not so sure about the fundraising duties of board members.

Now, fourteen years later, Kate has developed an approach to fundraising that promotes the work of Teaching for Change, is in line with our mission, and raises close to $4,000 a year! Read more.

Bringing Freedom Summer to Students in Starkville


“I’d only heard of Medgar Evers. I did not know the names and stories of so many other Civil Rights Movement activists in Mississippi,” said one the dozens of teachers in workshops offered by Teaching for Change curriculum specialist Julian Hipkins III and Freedom Summer volunteer Mark Levy in Starkville, Mississippi last week. Read more.

Mississippi Teachers Selected for Fellowship


Teaching for Change is pleased to announce that sixteen Mississippi middle and high school teachers have been selected for a teacher fellowship program on Mississippi history with a focus on the Civil Rights Movement and labor.

The purpose of this fellowship is to build a sustainable statewide learning community of classroom language arts, social studies, and history teachers in grades 6–12 for teaching hands-on, inquiry based U.S. history through the lens of race and class in Mississippi history. Read more.

This Changes Everything Curriculum Writing Retreat


The Zinn Education Project (a project of  Teaching for Change and Rethinking Schools) is partnering with This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. This “multi-platform” project includes the new book by Naomi Klein (No Logo, The Shock Doctrine), a feature documentary inspired by the book, and an ambitious outreach strategy to share the ideas behind these works with educators and activists, starting in Fall 2014. The team behind This Changes Everything understands the central role that education will play in enlisting students in the work of exploring the roots of the climate crisis, considering possible solutions, and coming to see themselves as climate justice activists. Read more.

Yale Law School Merit Awards a “Travesty of the Highest Order”


“It is a travesty of the highest order to honor as ‘meritorious’ those who openly and notoriously trample the Constitution,” said Yale Law School alum Timothy L. Jenkins (’64) in response to Yale’s Award of Merit for Clarence Thomas (’74) and Samuel A. Alito Jr. (’75). A veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and Teaching for Change board member, Jenkins expressed his dismay in a letter to the University fundraising committee this week. Jenkins’ letter (below) can serve… Read more.

Hurston/Wright Foundation 13th Annual Legacy Award Winners


The Hurston/Wright Foundation has announced the winners for the 2014 Legacy Awards in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry at the 13th annual Legacy Award Ceremony. The Legacy Awards have recognized literary and arts achievement in the black diaspora for almost a quarter century. The award winners are listed below. We also recommend reviewing the list of all the 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominees. It is a stellar list of books and authors. Teaching for Change was honored to partner with the Hurston/Wright Foundation by making all the authors’ books available for purchase and signing at the awards ceremony. Read more.

Victory in Ward 8: Orr Parents Organize for New Building and New Leadership


Laila Patrick held her breath in anticipation, waiting to hear her name called as her two children played on the floor nearby. Ms. Patrick sat with her muscles tensed, at the edge of her seat, with her mother supportively sitting in the chair beside her. “She’s talking about me!” Ms. Patrick whispered to her mother as the event host shared the story of her role in the parent activism that earned her children’s school two major victories last school year – funding for a new building, and…  Read more.

Welcome Back Breakfast: Parents and Staff Meet and Greet


Do you remember those long evenings, seated in the auditorium at Back to School Night? Were you struggling to keep from nodding off while one school administrator after another took the stage to tell you all you need to know about the school rules and expectations? By the end of the evening, school staff and parents alike are tired and frustrated. In schools across the country, this is the first and only introduction for parents to the school community. Read more.

Meyer Foundation Spotlights Teaching for Change’s Storytelling  Efforts


In a recently released report, the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation celebrated efforts by Teaching for Change to expand the impact of our parent engagement work through storytelling. Sharing stories is an integral part of Tellin’ Stories, Teaching for Change’s parent engagement approach, but it had not been a core piece of the organization’s communications strategy. After attending a training series offered by the Meyer Foundation, associate director Allyson Criner Brown found… Read more.

For Love of Children Book Festival


Teaching for Change is pleased to partner with the D.C area afterschool program called For Love of Children (FLOC). FLOC runs a Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Scholars Program, and Outdoor Education Center. As a result of active participation in FLOC programs, students gain an average of one year of grade level equivalency in reading skills in just four months. On November 15, 2014, For Love of Children (FLOC) is hosting their Eighth Annual Book Festival for FLOC students… Read more.

Charles McDew: “Why The Others Died”

Charles McDew describes the terror of imprisonment and threats to the lives of Civil Rights Movement activists and others during the freedom struggle in a Moth Radio Hour story, “Why The Others Died” (9/30/2014). In the conclusion to his chilling and tragic story, he notes, “It gave me to understand that it is not a struggle of black people or white people dominating black people; it is a struggle of people without power being exploited, run over, and destroyed.” Read more.

Hurston/Wright Foundation 13th Annual Legacy Award


The Hurston/Wright Foundation has announced the nominations for the 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. A winner and two finalists in each category will be honored at the 13th annual Legacy Award Ceremony on Friday, October 24, at the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C. Wil Haygood, award-winning biographer and journalist, will serve as master of ceremonies and the program will also feature special guest Nikki Giovanni, the author of… Read more.

Family Partner Series Offers D.C. Schools a Fresh Start on Family Engagement


This year, bilingual school counselor Senovia Hurtado has been entrusted with the mission of revitalizing family engagement at Brightwood Education Campus (DCPS), a pre-K through eighth grade school in Washington, D.C. It’s her 15th year in DC Public Schools, but her first as a parent coordinator. With a reopened parent center, a supportive principal and colleagues, and a partnership with Teaching for Change, Hurtado is poised to make Brightwood a school that is open and inviting to parents. Read more.

Sponsor a Bookshelf at the Teaching for Change Bookstore


Teaching for Change’s Bookstore is the Washington, D.C. area’s best source for books that encourage children and adults to question, challenge, and re-think the world beyond the headlines. The bookstore is located in Busboys and Poets 
(14th and V Streets NW), a restaurant, performance space, and coffeehouse, which features a dynamic events schedule. Teaching for Change needs donations and sponsorships (tax-deductible) to keep the bookstore in operation, curate the… Read more.

Revisiting Our Black Mosaic Symposium


On September 19, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) hosted the symposium: “Revisiting Our Black Mosaic.” We are honored to have been invited to the participate in this 20th anniversary of the 1994 Black Mosaic exhibition, described below: The progressive 1994 exhibition Black Mosaic at the Anacostia Community Museum was among the first documentation projects to examine the perceptions and realities of race, nationality, and ethnicity of black urban immigrants. Read more.

New Website for Students on Central America


Our colleague Pat Goudvis has launched an extraordinary new student-friendly website on Central America called When We Were Young, There Was a War. Visitors are introduced to the powerful stories of two individuals from El Salvador and Guatemala. (Eventually there will be more.) Through short video clips, they describe the impact of the war on their lives when they were children and today. The website builds on a documentary film Goudvis made 20 years ago called… Read more.

Equipping New Teachers with Social Justice Literature


Alice Cook wanted to introduce her pre-service teachers to culturally responsive and social justice teacher resources, including literature and curriculum for their classes, materials on best practices in education, and books about the interaction between teacher identity and student diversity. Cook was teaching a core diversity course in their master’s certification program (MCERT) at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a part of the course, Cook invited two Teaching for Change staff… Read more.

Teacher Workshop on Central America

While the histories of the United States and Central America have been intertwined for centuries, Central American history has been missing from the school curriculum for many years. Therefore, before asking teachers to infuse Central American history in their own classrooms, we recommend that schools host teacher workshops to familiarize the staff with Central American historical figures and themes. Teaching for Change staff are available to offer professional… Read more.

Girl Scout Book Drive Exceeds Its Goal

Our Teaching for Change Bookstore and Girl Scout Troop 3859 (Saint Augustine Catholic Church) hosted a book drive on September 12-14 in support of Saint Augustine SchoolNew Community for ChildrenMarguerite’s Place, and Playtime Children’s Project. Troop leader Dena D. Grant wrote to our publications director Don Allen to say it was a big success. Here’s an excerpt from her letter: Please accept our sincere appreciation for your time, support and dedication to Troop 3859’s Fall Book Drive… Read more.

Exploring Immigration and Identity in the K-12 Classroom with Américas Award Books


In celebration of the 2014 Américas Award, CLASP and Teaching for Change are hosting a K-12 teacher workshop “Exploring Immigration and Identity in the K-12 Classroom with Américas Award Books.” This hands-on workshop will explore issues of immigration and identity using children’s literature. The workshop will feature the work of this year’s Honorable Mention book, Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh and Commended Title Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by… Read more.

Matt Herron and Dorie Ladner Remember the Mississippi Freedom Movement

On July 24, 2014, photographer Matt Herron and SNCC veteran Dorie Ladner shared photos and stories about the 1960s Freedom Movement in Mississippi. Askia Muhammad from WPFW moderated. The featured books were Mississippi Eyes and This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement from the University Press of Mississippi. There was a full house for the event hosted by Teaching for Change and Busboys and Poets with co-sponsors… Read more.

Middle Passage Markers Project: Invitation to Teachers and Students

Millions of the people who were kidnapped from Africa and brought to the United States in bondage remain nameless. Not only those whose bones lie at the bottom of the Atlantic, but even those who lived and labored for generations in the United States and throughout the Americas. These unnamed individuals contributed greatly to the culture, knowledge, and development of the United States – yet they are made invisible or simply listed by numbers at historic sites. Read more.

Reactions to Teaching About Ferguson

Teaching for Change’s article “Teaching About Ferguson” (August 21, 2014) by Julian Hipkins III has received rave reviews and attacks. The article offers ideas and resources for the classroom to help students think critically about the events in Ferguson by providing historical context and ways to be proactive in their own communities. We are honored that the journals The, Teaching Tolerance, Rethinking Schools, and The Atlantic included links to our article in their… Read more.

Teachers Get to Know the Neighborhood in Community Walk

Teachers, staff, and parents of Orr Elementary (DCPS) began the school year with a community walk of the neighborhood surrounding the school. Orr Elementary partners with Teaching for Change to implement the Tellin’ Stories approach to parent engagement. Many community members took note of the teachers walking the neighborhood and greeted the group. As they walked, many of the teachers saw parents, students, and siblings… Read more.

Jose Luis Vilson Book Party

On September 25, meet José Luis Vilson and learn about his publication from Haymarket Books, This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education. In this collection of multifaceted essays, Vilson provokes discussion on issues of race, gentrification, and the teaching profession from the eyes of a black-Latino educator. Read more.

Where do people talk honestly about race? At the A.C.T.O.R. series

“I believe one of the ways we become more tolerant and accepting of others is to talk to them, to engage people that are different from us–to get out of our comfort zone and actually hear a different point of view, a different experience.” – Pamela Pinnock. It was this belief that led Pamela Pinnock to launch the monthly discussion series almost nine years ago at Busboys and Poets called “A Continuing Talk on Race,” or A.C.T.O.R.  The monthly A.C.T.O.R. discussions offer a space… Read more.

‘Is This America?’: 50 Years Ago Sharecroppers Challenged Mississippi Apartheid, LBJ, and the Nation


Fifty years ago this month, Mississippi sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer gripped the nation with her televised testimony of being forced from her home and brutally beaten (suffering permanent kidney damage) for attempting to exercise her constitutional right to vote. “Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings?” she asked the credentials committee at the Democratic National… Read more.

Teaching About Ferguson


As the new school year begins, first and foremost on our minds and hearts will be the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Teachers may be faced with students’ anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, and questions.  Some students will wonder how this could happen in the United States. For others, unfortunately, police brutality and intimidation is all too familiar. Here are a few ideas and resources for the classroom to help students think critically about… Read more.

We Shall Not Be Moved Wins 2014 Lillian Smith Book Award


We are pleased to announce that Teaching for Change board member Michael J. O’Brien’s book, We Shall Not Be Moved: The Jackson Woolworth Sit-In and the Movement it Inspired, is one of the 2014 Lillian Smith Book Award recipients. The award committee noted, “We Shall Not Be Moved is a triple threat: part biography, part history, and largely just good old fashioned storytelling.”  Read more.

Principal Meeting Launches Tellin’ Stories Family Partners Series


Of the many hats I wear, one of those hats is that of the community organizer,” shared Thomson Elementary Principal Carmen Shepherd. “As principals, we are really here to serve and work with families.” On July 30, 2014, Ms. Shepherd, principal of Thomson Elementary (DCPS), joined principals from six other DCPS schools and one Prince George’s County elementary school for a meeting to launch the Tellin’ Stories Family Partners Series. Thomson ES hosted the meeting, which was… Read more.

The Civil Rights Movement Is Not Over: Mark Levy Says to the AFT

Freedom Summer volunteer Mark Levy spoke at the national convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in Los Angeles on July 12, 2014 about the legacy and lessons of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Here are Levy’s prepared remarks. At the end of Levy’s talk, he introduced young Chicago activist Asean Johnson. A short AFT produced video about Freedom Schools preceded his talk. Read more.

Julian Hipkins III Joins Teaching for Change Staff


Award-winning high school teacher Julian Hipkins III has been a long time collaborator with Teaching for Change on countless initiatives from the Zinn Education Project to Storycorps to Civil Rights Teaching. We are very pleased to announce that the collaboration will now be full time as Hipkins joins our staff as the Civil Rights Movement and Labor History Initiative for Mississippi Project Director and overall Teaching for Change Curriculum Specialist. Read more.

McComb, Mississippi Students Learn and Teach in Washington, D.C.

On this 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, we were honored to help host a fantastic week in D.C. of teaching and learning by 11 high school students from McComb, Mississippi. Drawing from history and continuing the tradition of activism, they engaged in a wide range of activities including: Sharing their film and play on Freedom Schools and voting rights with high school students and at the African American Civil War Museum; Paying respect to the graves of Medgar Evers, the Civil War…Read more.

Teaching the Truth about Youth Migration from Central America


This summer, the U.S. public has been hearing about a massive influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America. It is estimated that up to 90,000 children will arrive by September. Why the “sudden” influx? Has this happened before? What’s the difference between a migrant and a refugee? In the mainstream media coverage of this humanitarian emergency, the… Read more.

An Epitaph That Keeps Giving


We are pleased to share with you the speech delivered by Timothy L. Jenkins on June 27, 2014 in the memorial plenary of the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer convening. Hundreds of people of all ages gathered for this historic event at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. The plenary session, convened by Judy Richardson, was called “In the Mississippi River.” Read more.

Ken Hatter: Stepping Off the Porch


Ken Hatter, steadfast ally of Teaching for Change, is leaving his decade long role as general manager at Busboys and Poets on June 27, 2014. On this occasion, we want to express our immense appreciation for his invaluable support of our Teaching for Change Bookstore. Ken’s insights and intellect have helped shape our work. Teaching for Change intern Rachel Mullin had a chance to sit down with Ken this week and learn about his life and plans. Read more.

Summer Reading for Social Justice

It’s time to savor a book for the summer. Each year, Teaching for Change staff recommends new books for summer reading. Here is this summer’s list, drawing from titles released in 2013-2014. We include titles for children, middle school, young adults, and adults in fiction and non-fiction. With the World Cup, we have a picture book and chapter book on soccer in Brazil. With major voting rights anniversaries this decade, there are gripping titles on the hidden history of… Read more.

Overwhelmed By Your Support


In the face of the attack by Rush Limbaugh early this week, Teaching for Change has been showered with calls, emails, facebook comments, tweets, donations, book purchases, and even a delivery of flowers from people letting us know that they stand by our commitment to feature children’s books by and about people of color and not to sell Limbaugh’s “history” books for children. Here are just a few of the countless responses we have received… Read more.

Rush Revere: Victor Vanquished by Tiny Bookstore?


On Thursday, June 19, Enid Lee, Zetta Elliott, and Deborah Menkart were special guests on We Act Radio. Here are excerpts from this dynamic program. Read more.

Rush Limbaugh Calls Teaching for Change Racist for Promoting Diverse Children’s Books


In the last five years, only 10% of children’s books published were about people of color despite the fact that 37% of the U.S. population are people of color.

Rush Limbaugh found out that Teaching for Change is trying to challenge this disparity and he is hopping mad. Limbaugh devoted a long segment of his show on June 16 to tell his listeners that Teaching for Change is racist for featuring children’s books by and about people of color. Read more.

D.C. Area Schools Selected for Family Partners

Teaching for Change is pleased to announce that six public schools from Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, Md. were selected to participate in the Tellin’ Stories Family Partners Series for the 2014–2015 school year. Supported by a three-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this unique professional development and parent leadership series will work with a total of eight school communities to develop meaningful family engagement strategies. Read more.

Teaching for Change Stands with Orr Elementary Parents

Teaching for Change fully supports Orr Elementary (DCPS) parents who demand a new principal after months of raising concerns through formal and informal channels. Despite their efforts to advocate on behalf of the whole school, DCPS is actively discouraging parent engagement at a school serving predominantly black and low-income families. Since Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories parent engagement project began partnering with Orr Elementary in 2010, we’ve seen parent involvement… Read more.

Presentation in DC by Students and Teachers from McComb, Miss.


On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, eleven students and their teachers from McComb will be in D.C. for the National History Day (NHD)competition. This is the third time McComb has participated in National History Day. They won at the state level and now they are coming to DC for the national competition. One of their entries was a mini-documentary about the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee(SNCC) and the voting rights struggle in McComb. Students also created a website… Read more.

Fair Chance Selects Teaching for Change for Second Year of Capacity Building

Teaching for Change was selected by Fair Chance for a second year of pro-bono organizational development. The support we received in year one makes us all the more excited about the opportunity to continue. Our Fair Chance organizational capacity builder is arts activist Jessica Solomon. In her weekly meetings with the Teaching for Change leadership staff, Jessica has played a major role in the growth of our board, preparation for strategic planning in 2015, upgrading organizational… Read more.

Thank You and Congrats to Neha Singhal

Our congratulations to spring Teaching for Change fellow Neha Singhal who has just been hired by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum as their Immigrant Rights Organizer. We have benefited greatly from Neha’s fellowship here this spring. She compiled primary documents on Freedom Schools, did outreach for the Speakseasy Teacher Appreciation Week performance, documented a student-led food justice teach-in, spoke to groups about… Read more.

Black History 360: Summer at the Schomburg for Teachers


We’re going back this summer to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to present at the fifth annual Black History 360 Summer Institute for teachers. This year’s themes include: Freedom Summer 1964; American Maroons and Resistance to Slavery; The Motown Sound: A Voice for Freedom; The History of Education in New York City; Book Arts and the African American Experience; The Civil Rights Act of 1964; Hip-Hop History; Abolitionism in Brooklyn… Read more.

The Collective Stories Were Bigger Than Each of Us: Speakeasy Teacher Event Rocks the House


The stories of teachers and students moved the audience at the Teacher Appreciation Week Speakeasy, co-hosted by Teaching for Change. D.C. area teachers had been invited to audition for the program in January and a cast of eight was selected from among many strong applicants. After much rehearsing and coaching, the show was held on May 9, 2014 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center to a full house. Read more.

Update: Victory in Sight for Orr Elementary

There are signs posted on the door to Orr Elementary (DCPS) announcing “$39 million for Orr’s Modernization!” Parents and community members are proud that their advocacy efforts led officials to restore funding for their school’s modernization to the 2014-2015 D.C. budget. Parent and community advocacy convinced the Mayor to not only allocate $3 million to start the process next fiscal year, but to also increase the total budget for Orr’s modernization by more than double… Read more.

Eloise Greenfield: Happy Birthday

The Teaching for Change board and staff extend birthday wishes to one of the foremost authors of children’s literature, Eloise Greenfield. We have used her books extensively in workshops with teachers and students and appreciate all the times she has attended events we have co-hosted at our bookstore at Busboys and Poets. She was born in Parmele, N.C. on May 17, 1929, the daughter of Weston W. Little and Lessie Jones Little. She grew up in Langston Terrace, a public housing… Read more.

Welcome to Our New Teaching for Change Board Members

This spring the Teaching for Change board of directors elected three new board members: Sylvia Sanchez, Tim Jenkins, and M.J. (Mike) O’Brien. All three have been friends of the organization for many years. They have played an active role in our author events at Busboys and Poets and work with students and teachers related to our publication Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching. Their background as educators and activists will be an asset to the organization as we embark… Read more.

Fulfilling the Promise of Brown v. Board: Organizing for Educational Justice for All

Across the country there are public actions this week “to reaffirm the promise of racial justice in our nation’s schools” on this 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education 1954 Supreme Court ruling. Find the actions in your community on the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools website. Teaching for Change is co-sponsoring the Washington, D.C. event on Saturday, May 17 at John Philip Sousa Middle School. The other D.C. event planners and sponsors are the… Read more.

Teaching About Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage All Year Long

Here are lessons, books, and films for teaching about Asian American history in May and all year long.

The Shapes that Shape Our Lives


A spaceship representing the United States and El Salvador. The church from a small pueblo (village). The “Birthday Party Express” bus. These are a few of the family projects proudly on display in the hallways of Thomson Elementary (DCPS) this spring. The first graders at Thomson Elementary (DCPS) are learning all about shapes, so in April 2014, the first grade team held a Parent-Teacher Grade Level Dialogue to show parents what their children were learning and introduce… Read more.


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