Current News

Festival of Poems of Provocation and Witness


This year marked a milestone for the Biennial Split This Rock Festival, with a record turnout and stellar forums. The staff and board of Teaching for Change were honored to co-sponsor and coordinate book sales for the 2014 festival of activist poets from all over the country. Hats off to our publications director Don Allen who ensured that all the books were on hand and that staff were at all the venues.  The staff included Gavin Hutchison, Grace Wingo, Elena Lacayo, Grace Kaissal… Read more.

Gold or Water in El Salvador


Our colleague Ron Carver co-produced this new film on the struggle in El Salvador to ban gold mining.

Please view and share.

After-School Special: True stories by and about educators


In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, SpeakeasyDC and Teaching for Change premier After-School Special: A Night of True Stories By & About Educators. A cast of storytellers from different schools across the DMV share true tales from inside and outside the classroom, showcasing education at its best. The show will be Friday, May 9, 2014 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. The pre-show reception is at 6:30 PM and the show starts at 8:00 PM. Get $20.00 discounted tickets… Read more.

Listen Up! Presenting at the National Family Engagement Conference


Teaching for Change has been invited to present at the National Family and Community Engagement Conference. We will be leading a session called Professional Development for Family Engagement Practitioners. In this interactive session, participants will learn time-tested approaches from Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories Project to: (1) help teachers and administrators rethink their assumptions about parent involvement and why traditional… Read more.

Food Justice Teach-In: When the Students Become the Teachers


“If you were at the grocery store and saw an apple with one stem and another apple with two stems, which one would you buy?” As much as I would like to say it doesn’t matter, I would probably end up picking the one with one stem because this superficially normal-looking apple was an option. Marquell and Isaiah, the students who asked me this question, confirmed that most buyers would do the same, thereby reinforcing perceptions about “perfect” fruits and vegetables that led to massive… Read more.

Parents Tell Councilmember Catania: Our Children Deserve Classrooms


Orr (DCPS) parents invited David Catania, Councilmember and chair of the Education Committee, to hear their stories and tour the building which badly needs modernization. Nearly 30 parents attended with their children, along with teachers and members of the local community. Parents expressed their concerns about the safety of the playground; stagnant air and poor natural lighting; places where the building is crumbling; and, most significantly, the open floor plan… Read more.

No Place to Hide: Orr Elementary Needs Modernization Now!


Isaiah Lyles was shocked as he watched his daughter Da’Vonna and her pre-Kindergarten classmates attempt to hide in plain sight from an “active shooter” during a safety drill. This day in January, Orr Elementary (DCPS) was among the schools participating in a safety assessment after the anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Orr, which was built in the 1970s, has an open floor plan, so there are no walls in the halls or separating classrooms. Read more.

Parents and Teachers Swap Stories About What Children Can Do


Maria Lopez* listened intently as the interpreter shared the meeting with her in Spanish. The mother of a student who loves to read, Maria came to the 3rd grade’s parent-teacher Grade Level Dialogues to find out more about what her daughter is learning in the classroom. The third grade team at Thomson Elementary (DCPS) planned two grade level dialogues for the evening of February 20, 2014 – one immediately after school and one at 5pm to accommodate the differences in parents’ schedules. Read more.

Challenging White Privilege in Children’s Books


As an educator and a parent, I need children’s books that represent the diversity of my children, students, and our community. This is easier said than done. Data collected by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center indicates that from 2011-2013 only 10% of children’s books were about people of color despite the fact that 37% of the U.S. population are people of color. That means that more than 90% of all children’s book published in the United States feature white characters or animals… Read more.

D.C. Teachers: Take to the Stage


In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, SpeakeasyDC and Teaching for Change will premier After-School Special: A Night of True Stories By & About Educators on May 7 and May 9 at Atlas Performing Arts Center located at 1333 H St. NE. If you are a teacher, administrator, parent, student, involved in the schools in any way and have an equity/social justice story about working with students, or a teacher or other school staff person, please pitch your story here. Read more.

Created Equal Film Series


The National Endowment of the Humanities has launched the Creating Equal Film series to mark the historic anniversaries of the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. As the NEH explains, “The Created Equal project uses the power of documentary films to encourage public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in the United States. The films that are part of this project tell the remarkable stories of individuals… Read more.

 Pete Seeger, Presente!


On January 27, 2014, the beloved musician, activist, and environmentalist Pete Seegerpassed away.  His influence will carry on for generations to come. The breadth of his work and connections is extraordinary including Freedom Summer, the labor movement, the Weavers, the Hudson River, the peace movement, Paul Robeson, and much more. Read more.

Malcolm X: Written Out of History


During a book talk for Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America, historian Peniel E. Joseph critiqued how textbooks typically invite students to contrast Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, as if they were polar opposites. We share this excerpt from Joseph’s talk in light of the news that a Queens, New York 4th grade class was told that Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) could not be included in their Black History Month assignment. Read more.

I Didn’t Know There Were Cities in Africa!


As Professor Michael Bamidele Adeyemi of the University of Botswana suggests, “Americans believe that Africa is a country, that Africa is ‘still uncivilized,’ that the average African is polygamous, and that Africa is not urbanized.” In fact, the African continent encompasses a diverse set of more than 50 nations, each made up of a variety of urban and rural cultures, lifestyles and socioeconomic realities. Rates of urbanization in Africa are the highest in the world. By 2025, more than half of the African… Read more.

In Honor of Educator Susan E. Noffke


Robert Wickesberg made a donation to Teaching for Change in honor of his wife, educator and activist Dr. Susan E. Noffke. Noffke died after a long battle with cancer on June 1, 2013.  She had been an incredible educator and generous supporter of Teaching for Change for many years. Read more.

2013 Highlights of Building Social Justice Starting in the Classroom


2013 Highlights include turning the tables on parent engagement, opening doors to local activist history, putting the movement back into civil rights teaching, hosting author events for the community and educators in D.C., bringing people’s history to the classroom, and much more. Read more.

Doing Justice to Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Young Children


Early childhood educators often struggle with the question of how to honor Martin Luther King Jr. in a way that is developmentally appropriate, focused, and accurate. Two challenges arise in teaching about King: the first is effectively communicating historical information to young children, and the second is adequately representing the diversity, breadth, and collective nature of the civil rights movement. Read more.

Teaching for Change fellow Amy Rothschild raises a key question about universal pre-K


What will early childhood education look like in New York in coming years? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed citywide universal pre-K, funded by a tax the state legislature would have to approve. Then, in his recent 2014 State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo baffled political observers by proposing a plan even more ambitious than de Blasio’s—statewide full-day prekindergarten—while remaining silent on funding, even reaffirming his commitment to cutting… Read more.

Mything Mandela


Mandela, the beautifully illustrated children’s book by Kadir Nelson, has been selected as one of the top books on Nelson Mandela by many groups including Colorlines and Kirkus Reviews. Given Kadir Nelson’s talents and strong reputation as a children’s book author and illustrator, Mandela is likely to become a staple in libraries and classrooms. One look at the cover and it is easy to see why the book is so popular. Kadir Nelson’s illustrations are stunning and the world is… Read more.

Our Favorite Books of 2013


Here are a few of our favorite books from 2013 for children, young adults, and adults. All of these titles would make great gifts for friends, family, and/or yourself. Visit our Teaching for Change bookstore in D.C. at Busboys and Poets (14th and V) to find many more wonderful 2013 titles. Remember, wherever you choose to purchase these books, support an independent bookstore. Read more.

Free Classroom Resources from Teaching for Change


Teaching for Change offers a number of resources for free access by classroom teachers. These include: Put Central America on the Map in Schools: Lessons and poetry for K-12 on Central American history and culture, People’s History: In collaboration with Rethinking Schools, Teaching for Change offers more than 100 people’s history lessons on our Zinn Education Project website, Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching, the companion website for our book… Read more.

Sherman Alexie’s Indies First Movement in D.C.


Saturday, November 30th, 2:00-5:00PM

In a grassroots movement launched by author Sherman Alexie, more than 900 authors handhold their favorite books in independent bookstores around the country on November 30th. As part of the Indies First Movement, George Pelecanos and Natalie Hopkinson recommended their favorite titles in Teaching for Change’s Bookstore at Busboys and Poets. Read more.

Full House for Kate Tindle’s Annual Fundraiser


On November 2, guests enjoyed hot fruit cider, middle eastern pastries, minestrone soup, and great company at Kate Tindle’s 9th annual house party in Alexandria, Virginia for Teaching for Change. About 40 people came to learn about and support the work of Teaching for Change. In a brief formal presentation, Tindle welcomed the guests with her new hat as board chair. She then introduced Teaching for Change executive director Deborah Menkart who shared photos and video highlights… Read more.

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop


Book Review by Derrick Weston Brown

In most children’s books about the history of Hip-Hop, there’s often one figure who has continuously been relegated to the background, even though he’s the architect of the sound from which Hip-Hop was born.  Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc, finally gets his time in the spotlight in Laban Carrick Hill’s children’s book, When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop. Read more.

Parent Organizer America Calderon Wins Mayor’s Award


Teaching for Change staff member, parent organizer America Calderon, will receive the “Dedication Award” for her work with families in schools on October 17, 2013 at the GALA Theater. The award will be presented by the Mayors’s Office on Latino Affairs. We hope you can join us at this special event. Read more.

The Man Behind Emmett Till


Many believe that history is inevitable. However, the stories that make it into the public awareness are ones deemed worthy by those in power. Award-winning journalist Simeon Booker worked to change this status quo by unveiling the hidden stories of blacks killed in the Deep South during the civil rights movement. Teaching for Change was honored to celebrate the career and legacy of Mr. Booker during the author event… Read more.

Teaching for Change Presents and Learns at the Schomburg Center


Teaching for Change was honored to present a half day workshop at the Black History 360º 4th Annual Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Summer Education Institute on July 16, 2013. Our workshop,“Teaching the Movement: Lessons from 1963 and 1964,” included some of our signature activities such as “Big Shoes to Fill” and we introduced a new lesson on Mississippi voting rights activist and martyr Medgar Evers. The Schomburg Center provided all 60 teacher participants…Read more.

Clyde Kennard, martyr of the civil rights movement, honored on 50th anniversary


On this 50th anniversary, Teaching for Change co-hosted, with Americans Who Tell the Truth, an event to commemorate Kennard’s life and legacy on November 14, 2013 at Busboys and Poets. The event  included presentations by special guests such as noted SNCC veteransDorie and Joyce Ladner, activist comedian Dick Gregory, the Split This Rock DC Youth Slam Team, University of Southern Mississippi Dean of Students Eddie Holloway, and Khyla D. Craine from… Read more.

Thank You 2013 Summer Interns


This summer Teaching for Change welcomed a dynamic team of volunteers: Truman Scholars Anne Preston and Charity Porotesano, Swarthmore Social Action Award Intern Shelly Wen, and University of Chicago Human Rights Program Intern Elizabeth Behrens. Here are just some of the ways in which they advanced our work by leaps and bounds: developed a slide show and added bios to the Ask Me About campaign on Central America, added key events to the “this day in history” album…Read more.


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