Current News


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

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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

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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.


Girl Scout Book Drive for D.C. Programs for Children

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Teaching for Change Bookstore and Girl Scout Troop 3859 (Saint Augustine Catholic Church) are hosting a book drive Friday through Sunday, September 12-14, 2014. Join us in support of this school and programs for children. Read more.


Reactions to Teaching About Ferguson

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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 Root.com, 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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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


The Shapes that Shape Our Lives

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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.


Tellin’ Stories Family Partners Series

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With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Teaching for Change is launching a new and unprecedented training series for D.C.-area elementary schools to develop meaningful family engagement strategies for their school communities. Schools selected to participate in the Tellin’ Stories Family Partners Series will send teams comprised of a parent coordinator, parents, teachers or support staffs, and (where desired) community partners to participate in trainings in August, October… Read more.


Pearl Cleage: Things I Should Have Told My Daughter

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Pearl Cleage packed the house for one of our best ever author events featuring her new book, Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs. Teaching for Change board member and Spelman alumnae Nzinga Tull described the evening:  “Ms. Cleage was at once elegant yet also warm and familiar. The audience questions were probing and all over the map: How do you approach being open about vulnerability? What was it like working for… Read more.


Teaching for Change Among National Recipients of Kellogg Foundation Family Engagement Awards

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Just days after Teaching for Change presented a workshop at the first National Family Engagement Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation recognized Teaching for Change as one of 30 “exceptional organizations” to receive a grant for its new family engagement initiative. Teaching for Change’s nationally recognized family engagement approach, called Tellin’ Stories, uses the power of story to connect families and staff from diverse backgrounds… Read more.


Listen Up! Professional Development for Family Engagement Practitioners

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Teaching for Change was honored to present at the National Family Engagement Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 8, 2014. Hosted by the Institute for Educational Leadership in conjunction with the Coalition for Community Schools National Forum, the conference focused on the intersection between family engagement and educational equity. Read more.


América Calderón, ¡Presente!

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América Libertad Calderón, Teaching for Change senior parent organizer and lifelong fighter for justice, passed away on April 17, 2014 in Guatemala after a year long battle with cancer. Read more about her life and add your tribute on this memorial website. América joined the Teaching for Change staff in February, 2008 as senior parent organizer for D.C. area schools and national training. Here is the profile she wrote at the time for our website… Read more.


Festival of Poems of Provocation and Witness

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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

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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

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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.


National Family Engagement Conference Presentation

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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

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“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

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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!

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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

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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

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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.

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