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In the News

How teachers are bringing lessons from the racial justice uprisings into the classroom

Published September 18, 2020 By Deanna Pan

For centuries, dead white men have dominated high school English classes. Syllabuses and summer readings lists are chock-full of Shakespeares, Hemingways, Faulkners, and Fitzgeralds…

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Creating An Anti-Racist Manifesto With Zetta Elliott: #FamilyManifesto4BlackLives

Published August, 2020 By Laura Fay

A recording of a live chat between powerhouse author Zetta Elliott & the phenom Francie of Wee The People.

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‘This Is the Reality I Go Home To’: Students at Virtual Town Hall Urge Educators to Talk About Race and Racism. Here Are Some Starting Points for Teachers

Published August 30, 2020 By Laura Fay

The 2020-21 school year will be unlike any other in history, with many students learning online from home, and with those who are in school wearing masks and taking other precautions against the coronavirus pandemic.

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Racial Equity in Your PTO or PTA: What Are You Doing?

Published July 8, 2020 By Elizabeth S. Leaver

Some robust conversations with leaders in PTO Today’s PTO and PTA Leaders & Volunteers Facebook group and an expert on equity in education have pointed toward earnest paths for moving forward with inclusiveness within parent groups.

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Teachers are reinventing how Black history, anti-racism are taught in schools as system falls short

Published June 30, 2020 By Nicole Pelletiere & Katie Kindelan

When historian Carter G. Woodson was calling for the first Negro History Week in the 1920s — which would go on to become what we now celebrate as Black History Month — he said of his efforts, “This crusade is much more important than the anti-lynching movement, because there would be no lynching if it did not start in the schoolroom.”

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The Beat Don’t Stop: TV One’s Long-Awaited Go-Go Documentary Airs Tonite

Published June 21, 2020 By Ericka Illafilms

A few years ago I was in the classroom of predominantly Latin American students in D.C. The teacher had invited Experience Unlimited’s Sugar Bear to speak to the children about his music career as part of “Teach the Beat: Go-Go Goes to School,” where artists are looking to infuse D.C.’s rich and unique tradition of go-go into the curriculum.

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CNN Town Hall with Sesame Street

Aired Saturday, June 6, 2020 on CNN

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum recommended Social Justice Books during the CNN Sesame Street Coming Together Town Hall (at 6:55 min).

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15 Classroom Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest

Published June 2020 by Education Week

For teachers looking for more classroom resources—for themselves and their students—Education Week has compiled the following list.

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A protest is just a start — now the real work begins

Published June 2020 by Washington Post

Jenkins, who is a lawyer, says the best way to make the systemic changes that are needed is through education — a system that he acknowledges needs changing as much as any, “It’s critically important that our American history curriculum be modified, starting with primary- and secondary-school students,” he said. (He serves on the board of Teaching for Change, a national nonprofit based in the District that promotes social change through education.)

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Black books: Deborah Menkart

Published February 2020 by Crazy Quilt Edi

I’ve invited non Black people who are in someway connected to youth literature to share a list of 5-10 books written or illustrated by Blacks that will appeal to children. I asked for anything from board books and graphic novels to biographies and adult crossover. The authors or illustrators could be living or dead, U.S. residents or not. Today’s guest is Deborah Menkart… executive director of the education activist, non-profit organization Teaching for Change.

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How Black Lives Matter Is Changing What Students Learn During Black History Month

Published February 2020 by TIME Magazine

Seven states launched commissions designed to oversee state mandates to teach black history in public schools in recent years… To meet the rising demand for resources, at least six Black History textbooks are on the market, as well as lesson plans on websites including Teaching Tolerance, Teaching for Change, Zinn Education Project and Rethinking Schools.

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How Educators Are Rethinking The Way They Teach Immigration History

Published January 2020 by Yes! Magazine

At Boston Latin School teachers are changing the way they prepare their students to think critically about immigration policy.

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New Report Recognizes Our Tellin’ Stories Project as “Transformative Family Engagement”

Published November 2019 by W.K. Kellogg Foundation

A publication based on the findings from an evaluation of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s (WKKF) Family Engagement cohort was released in July 2019, and features stories and lessons from the Tellin’ Stories Project, Teaching for Change’s nationally recognized approach to family engagement.

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New Lisa Delpit Book Features Teaching for Change Essay on Engaging Black Parents

Published September 2019 by The New Press

Allyson Criner Brown, Teaching for Change’s associate director and manager of the Tellin’ Stories parent empowerment project, reflects on family engagement in a moving essay for Teaching When the World Is on Fire, edited by Lisa Delpit (The New Press, 2019).

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Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Rethinking How We Celebrate American History

Published October 2019 by Smithsonian

The first documented observance of Columbus Day in the United States took place in New York City in 1792, on the 300th anniversary of Columbus’s landfall in the Western Hemisphere. The holiday originated as an annual celebration of Italian–American heritage in San Francisco in 1869. In 1934, at the request of the Knights of Columbus and New York City’s Italian community, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the first national observance of Columbus Day. President Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress made October 12 a national holiday three years later. In 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making the official date of the holiday the second Monday in October.

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The Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives (1940—1980)” Summer Institute Receives NEH Grant

Published September 2019 by Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

Dozens of teachers across the country taught about the civil rights movement in a more nuanced way this year. They highlighted stories of grassroots activists and women in addition to traditional lessons of heroes like Martin Luther King.

The project began with a summer institute at Duke University designed by a team of scholars and civil rights veterans, the SNCC Legacy Project, and Teaching for Change. It was co-directed by Sanford Professor Bob Korstad and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) veteran Judy Richardson.

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The History Beyond Martin Luther King Jr.

Published June 2019 by Duke Today

Dozens of teachers across the country taught about the civil rights movement in a more nuanced way this year. They highlighted stories of grassroots activists and women in addition to traditional lessons of heroes like Martin Luther King.

The project began with a summer institute at Duke University designed by a team of scholars and civil rights veterans, the SNCC Legacy Project, and Teaching for Change. It was co-directed by Sanford Professor Bob Korstad and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) veteran Judy Richardson.

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Widening the Lens: A Conversation with Beverly Daniel Tatum

Published April 2019 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

It was a little more than two decades ago that Beverly Daniel Tatum, a psychologist and educator, published Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Based in part on her experiences teaching college courses on the psychology of racism, the book explored the often-veiled dynamics of race in America and the complexities—and importance—of racial identity development. The book was a national bestseller and struck an immediate and lasting chord with educators, becoming a guiding text on diversity and multicultural understanding in schools. (It was reissued in 2017 by Basic Books with new and updated material.) We recently spoke to Tatum, who is now president emerita of Spelman College in Atlanta, about race and schools today.

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Leading for Black Lives in Education

Published March 2019 by the Institute for Educational Leadership

Rethinking Schools, a publisher committed to equity and to the vision that public education is central to the creation of a humane, caring, multiracial democracy recently published Teaching for Black Lives a collection of writings highlighting the ways educators and administrators can and should make their classrooms and schools sites of resistance to white supremacy and anti-Blackness. Teaching for Black Lives challenges educators and administrators to examine the role schools play in perpetuating anti-Blackness and offers concrete examples of what it looks like to humanize Black youth in schools and Black people in curriculum and teaching. The day this book was placed in my hands I had the opportunity to meet with Deborah Menkart and Allyson Criner Brown of Teaching for Change during Washington D.C.’s participation in the National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action to ask about the growing movement towards including ethnic studies, culturally relevant curriculum, and culturally responsive teaching in schools.

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JHUMA examines intersection of black and Muslim identities

Published February 28, 2019 by The Johns Hopkins Newsletter

Teaching for Change’s Alison Kysia led a discussion titled “The Story of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf” on Monday. Teaching for Change is a D.C. nonprofit organization promoting social justice initiatives through educational outreach in schools. The event featured a partial screening of By the Dawn’s Early Light: Chris Jackson’s Journey to Islam, followed by an interactive conversation about black and Islamic representation in media. The Johns Hopkins University Muslim Association (JHUMA), the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Department of Islamic Studies co-hosted the event.

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We Act Radio Education Town Hall

Aired February 14, 2019 by We Act Radio

Anacostia High School (DCPS) psychologist Dr. Bryon McClure and librarian Nia Nicholas, along with Teaching for Change representative Nqobile Mthethwa, were interviewed on We Act Radio’s Education Town Hall on Feb. 14, 2019. They discussed the 2019 Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, including events leading up to the week, where the movement in schools originated, activities at Anacostia HS, and the importance of the week to students.

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School Week of Action Brings the Go Go, Education

Published February 12, 2019 by AFRO

Dozens of early childhood teachers from around DC were gathered in a hotel conference room on an early Saturday morning to tackle a challenging and sensitive topic: how to talk about race with young students.

It was one of two training workshops the DC nonprofit Teaching for Change hosted to prepare for the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, which starts today. Coinciding with Black History Month, the national campaign attempts to spark honest conversations on social justice issues in U.S. classrooms and improve the school experience for students of color.

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‘Week of Action’ returns to DC to share Black Lives Matter principles in local schools

Published February 4, 2019 by The DC Line

Dozens of early childhood teachers from around DC were gathered in a hotel conference room on an early Saturday morning to tackle a challenging and sensitive topic: how to talk about race with young students.

It was one of two training workshops the DC nonprofit Teaching for Change hosted to prepare for the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, which starts today. Coinciding with Black History Month, the national campaign attempts to spark honest conversations on social justice issues in U.S. classrooms and improve the school experience for students of color.

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Teaching for Change Featured in Sir Ken Robinson’s New Book on Family Engagement

Sir Ken Robinson is the internationally acclaimed educator and author who caught the attention of many with a viral video that illustrated his 2014 TED Talk, “Changing Education Paradigms.” Robinson has continued to write and speak about the challenges and opportunities in education since then, and in 2018 published a new book that focuses on how families can support their children’s success.

His latest title with co-author Lou Aronica, You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education(Viking, 2018), features a description of Teaching for Change’s nationally recognized approach to family engagement, called Tellin’ Stories.

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Black Lives Matter Week of Action

Published December 4, 2018 by Teaching Tolerance

This September the museum and Teaching for Change, a Washington-based national education organization, hosted an Indigenous People’s Curriculum Day and Teach-In for more than 100 teachers working with students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Sessions ranged from how to join the movement to Abolish Columbus Day; to skills-based sessions such as critical literacy, art, and facilitated dialogue; to inquiry-based lessons on American Indian Removal available in the museum’s Native Knowledge 360° online resources.

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Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Rethinking American History

Published October 7, 2018 by Smithsonian Magazine

This September the museum and Teaching for Change, a Washington-based national education organization, hosted an Indigenous People’s Curriculum Day and Teach-In for more than 100 teachers working with students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Sessions ranged from how to join the movement to Abolish Columbus Day; to skills-based sessions such as critical literacy, art, and facilitated dialogue; to inquiry-based lessons on American Indian Removal available in the museum’s Native Knowledge 360° online resources.

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‘Anti-Trump hotel’ opens in Washington DC

Published October 4, 2018 by The Guardian

Join the “group sound bath” in the wellness centre, stop by the civic engagement workshop in the lobby, then settle in for a rousing performance of protest songs from the all-women Resistance Revival Chorus on the rooftop bar. This is a small sample of the events that were on offer at the opening weekend of the Eaton Hotel in Washington DC – the world’s first “activist hotel”.

Founded on an ethos of progressive ideals and social and environmental justice – and located just a few blocks from President Trump’s eponymous hotel chain – the 209-room Eaton Workshop has, unsurprisingly, been dubbed the “anti-Trump hotel”.

When asked about the moniker, founder and president Katherine Lo smiles. “I definitely don’t mind,” she said, speaking from the lobby’s Radical Library, its shelves lined with freethinking writers (Maxine Hong Kingston, Roxanne Gay, Langston Hughes, etc), a collection selected by campaigners Teaching for Change. “The [hotel] concept was created in 2014, but after the 2016 election it gave our mission more gravitas and even more urgency to accomplish what we set out do.”

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A Better Way to Teach the Civil Rights Movement

Published September 19, 2018 by Edutopia

A native of the Magnolia State, Jessica Dickens grew up just a short drive away from one of the most infamous events of Mississippi Freedom Summer: the 1964 disappearance and murder of three civil rights workers on their way to investigate a church burning. She’s also a graduate of one of Mississippi’s segregated high schools — part of a group of all-white private schools established in the 1950s to thwart school integration.

Yet even with her personal ties to civil rights history, the central figures in Dickens’s history lessons in her early teaching years in Mississippi were Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks — two of the most memorable leaders from her own schooling, and staples of U.S. history textbooks. It was only with exposure to fresh thinking through a teaching fellowship on civil rights history — and after uncovering her state’s untold stories — that the 11-year veteran began to shift her teaching approach.

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Teaching about Central American immigration

Published July 23, 2018 by AL DÍA News

School might be out, but for many teachers, long summer days also mean lesson-planning and curriculum development and design. In light of the continued divisions among lawmakers and society as a whole, some educators are starting, or continuing, to develop lesson plans that allow students to explore the historical and social context of immigration to the U.S. from Central America.

The Teaching for Change organization created a lesson plan, in conjunction with the When We Were Young There Was a War site, to use the real-life stories of young people who have migrated from Central America in order to teach about the context of immigration from Central America in the classroom in a way that allows students to directly connect with their peers in and from Central America.

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Critics Slam Scholastic For Rosy Portrayal of Trump in Kids’ Books

Published June 22, 2018 by Rising Up

The school textbook publishing giant Scholastic is under fire – for its children’s books about President Donald Trump. Scholastic publishes a large numbers of books that are in wide use throughout American schools and libraries. While the corporation has gotten in trouble before, this new scandal has irked many Americans over the rosy picture the kids’ books paint about Trump.

The books in question are both written by the same author, Joanne Mattern. One, for older kids is part of the ‘A True Book’ series. The other one, for younger kids is part of the ‘Rookie Biography’ series. While the books were published last year they have received renewed scrutiny recently after a social media backlash. The group Teaching for Change just reviewed the books and many are using #StepUpScholastic to call the company out its portrayal of a dangerous president as utterly normal.

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Scholastic Under Fire for Children’s Book Portrayal of Trump

Published June 14, 2018 by Yes! Magazine

“On November 8, 2016, Americans voted for president. The race was close, but Trump won. Many people were happy. They looked forward to a brand-new government. They hoped for a stronger country.”

That’s an excerpt from a 32-page book called President Donald Trump,published last year by Scholastic, a billion-dollar global corporation whose educational materials can be found in 9 out of 10 U.S. classrooms. The book, by children’s author Joanne Mattern, is included in Scholastic’sRookie Biography series, aimed at first- and second-graders, kids ages 6 and 7.

It weaves a simple narrative of how Trump made his fortune in real estate, gained fame as host of a reality TV show, and became a president “millions of Americans are counting on to improve their lives.”

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Scholastic’s pro-Trump propaganda for kids enrages teachers and parents

Published June 13, 2018 by Think Progress

Authors, teachers, and parents are upset about a Scholastic book about President Donald Trump that they say glosses over his racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and treatment of workers, among many other things. The book, President Donald Trump by Joanne Mattern, was published last year but it has received renewed attention after groups fiercely criticized it on social media and elsewhere.

Teaching for Change, a nonprofit organization with a social justice and education-focused mission, wrote a review of the book over the weekend and StepUpScholastic, a campaign that asks Scholastic to distribute books that “affirm the identity, history, and lives of ALL children in our schools” began encouraging people to write to Scholastic to voice their criticism. Over the past few days, teachers, parents, and writers began criticizing the book on Twitter.

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Bringing Black Lives Matter Movement to School

Published February 23, 2018 by School Library Journal

The library was silent, a rarity at LaSalle-Backus Education Campus, a public school in Washington, DC. The fourth and fifth grade students were intensely focused on the video in front of them.  Library media specialist Lindsay Hall was intently watching, too, while monitoring her kids’ reactions to the short video, which discussed the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, and violence against the black community.

Hall, one of the educators across the country who participated in the national Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action from February 5 to 9, was inspired to act and assisted in bringing the mission to the classroom by Teaching for Change, a DC-based non-profit organization based, with the goal of “building social justice, starting in the classroom.” Hall showed her older students a couple of videos that prompted thoughtful conversation, she says.

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Wasn’t Black History Month Last Month?

Published March 27, 2018 by neaToday

The shortest month of the year has come and gone, as has the celebration of Black History Month when we mark the many contributions African Americans have made to our history, culture, and society. But we’re almost two decades into the 21st Century and it’s long past time to incorporate and highlight the achievements of African Americans into year-round curriculum. Black history is American history.

NEA Today sat down to talk about Black History Month with Deborah Menkart, executive director, and Allyson Criner Brown, associate director, of Teaching For Change, a social justice education organization that encourages teachers and students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable and multicultural society, and become active global citizens.

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Maryland County Schools Start ‘Black Lives Matter Week Of Action’ To Encourage Pride Among Students

Published February 3, 2018 by INQUISITR

A predominantly-black school district in Maryland has voted to start the “Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools.” For the week of Feb. 5-10, 2018, students in Prince George’s County are being encouraged to learn as much as they can about social justice through a variety of instructional lessons and other activities. Considering the current hostile racial climate, students will be encouraged to talk about their feelings and opinions on the subject.

Although the week of action is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, there is no connection to the organization. It is actually part of a nationwide movement. Teaching for Change says that there are three demands they are making with the intent of improving the culture and learning environment in the schools. They want to end zero tolerance, replacing it with restorative justice, hire more black teachers, and mandate black history and ethnic studies at all levels in grades K-12.

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Maryland County Passes a Black Lives Matter Week of Action for All Its Schools

Published February 3, 2018 by The Root

The Prince George’s County school board voted unanimously on Friday to pass a resolution (pdf) called the “Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools” so that the 128,000 students in the second-largest school district in Maryland will learn about and discuss the Black Lives Matter movement starting Monday.

Fox 5 DC reports that the Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools differs from, but is inspired by, the Black Lives Matter network started by three black women in 2014.

The Week of Action is a national movement started by teachers, parents and administrators and, according to Teaching for Change, will include instruction about “structural racism, intersectional Black identities, and Black history.” The organization offers resources for teachers at every grade level.

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Forgotten in the classroom: The Reconstruction era

Published January 15, 2018 by The Washington Post

In August, Michigan history teacher James Gorman watched televised images of torch-bearing white supremacists marching on the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and decided to use the incident to teach his students about similar events that happened in a divided United States 150 years ago.

To inform his lessons, Gorman chose a curriculum called Teach Reconstruction created by the Zinn Education Project, a collaboration between social justice education nonprofits Teaching for Change, based in Washington, D.C. and Rethinking Schools, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The creators of the Teach Reconstruction project are actively campaigning for the inclusion of lessons about Reconstruction in history and social studies classes. The project provides educational materials and teaching guides for teachers.

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Teaching kids how battles about race from 150 years ago mirror today’s conflicts

Published January 15, 2018 by The Hechinger Report

In August, Michigan history teacher James Gorman watched televised images of torch-bearing white supremacists marching on the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and decided to use the incident to teach his students about similar events that happened in a divided United States 150 years ago.

To inform his lessons, Gorman chose a curriculum called Teach Reconstruction created by the Zinn Education Project, a collaboration between social justice education nonprofits Teaching for Change, based in Washington, D.C. and Rethinking Schools, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The creators of the Teach Reconstruction project are actively campaigning for the inclusion of lessons about Reconstruction in history and social studies classes. The project provides educational materials and teaching guides for teachers.

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In Sync with Families: Organizing Your Most Powerful Allies

Published September 28, 2017 by ASCD

A project of Teaching for Change based in Washington, D.C., Tellin’ Stories is a unique approach to parent engagement that begins with community building as the basis for leadership and collective action. Through signature activities like Story Quilting, where family members’ personal stories create the design of a collaborative quilt, and monthly parent-principal chitchats, Teaching for Change helps schools create deep connections with parents and caregivers. Those connections invite families to become powerful advocates not only for their own children but also for public education as a whole.

Allyson Criner Brown, Teaching for Change associate director and Tellin’ Stories project manager, describes how the project expands traditional models of family engagement in schools.

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Education Isn’t the Key to a Good Income

Published September 26, 2017 by The Atlantic

Deborah Menkart, the executive director of Teaching for Change, agrees that Rothstein’s research supports what teachers have long known from their own experience on the front lines. “I think it also affirms the focus,” she said, on having “children not just see schools as a ticket out of poverty, as a way to ‘rise above’ your community, but as a way to [be] agents for change within their communities.” “Part of the problem,” she adds, “is that the whole conversation around education has become so focused on helping individuals ‘escape’ their bad circumstances, rather than helping them become part of the solution.”

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TEACHER VOICE: What was troubling enough as 20th century history is happening in the present time

Published August 21, 2017 by The Hechinger Report

Charlottesville has been a national wake-up call (sadly one of many) as to how important it is to create classrooms that model the justice and empathy values.

Here are some ways to do that in elementary school classrooms:

First and foremost, it is vital that young people have a place to process disturbing news and to be reassured that their lives matter and that they are safe. The images of Nazis and other white supremacists marching with guns and impunity are unnerving for most of us, but can be particularly traumatizing for students of color, Native Americans, Muslims and Jewish students.

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Summer Reading For Your Woke Kid

Published July 6, 2017 by NPR Books

Social activist Innosanto Nagara wanted to find a fun book to read to his 2-year-old son that also talked about the importance of social justice.

He wasn’t looking for the typical fiction written for children. Instead, he was looking for unique narratives — by writers of color and/or authors who can speak about social issues through their own experiences.

Nagara couldn’t find any. So he wrote one.

“Parents and teachers are realizing that what students read and learn affects how they see the world.” said Deborah Menkart, Executive Director for Teaching for Change, an organization that puts together social justice reading lists to inspire children throughout the summer.

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‘Justice Matters’ and the Power of Film to Persuade

Published June 12, 2017 by Kathryn Pyle in Philantopic

Through a collaboration with DC-based Teaching for Change, screenings and post-screening discussions of The House on Coco Road, Backpack Full of Cash, Two Trains Runnin’, and All Governments Lie also were taken to six local high schools. In addition to conversations with the directors and producers, students met with Judy Richardson, a former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee member and civil rights activist who shared her own personal experiences behind the events depicted in Two Trains Runnin’. (For more details and great photos about those events, check out this report on the Teaching for Change website.)

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Teaching for Change: Building Social Justice Starting In the Classroom

Published April 4, 2017 by Love (and Revolution) Radio

Love (and Revolution) Radio speaks with Allyson Criner Brown, the Associate Director of Teaching for Change, an organization that provides teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world.

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How Local Teachers Are Helping Students Process The Election

Aired November 15, 2016 on The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Teaching for Change associate director Allyson Criner Brown was
interviewed about the role of educators in helping students process
the election results and the world around them. She was joined by
Wesley Lawson, a teacher at Richard Wright Public Charter School and
Joshua Starr, CEO of PDK International and former superintendent of
Montgomery County Public Schools.

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Let’s Talk about Reparations: What Does the Publishing Industry Owe Our Kids?

Published September 29, 2016 by Zetta Elliot in Embrace Race

I was at St. Catherine University last month when Library and Information Science professor Sarah Park Dahlen unveiled this updated graphic on the state of children’s publishing in the US. Dahlen, who teaches a course on social justice in children’s literature and gathered data for Lee & Low’s 2015 Diversity Baseline survey (DBS), had invited me to campus to make a case for community-based publishing.

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Teaching the African American Experience through Art

Published September 29, 2016 by Eye Level: Smithsonian Blog

Eye Level spoke with two of SAAM’s collaborators in planning the “Art and the African American Experience”, Linda Maxwell, Education Program Coordinator at the Anacostia Community Museum, and Sandhya Rajan, Professional Development Specialist at Teaching for Change, to get an advance look at what to expect at the event.

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How to Address Race and Police Violence: Advice for Educators, Part II

Published September 26, 2016 by Education Week

Last week, BookMarks invited several professors, activists, and authors who have written books or resources for teaching about race in the classroom to offer some guidance to K-12 educators after another string of fatal police shootings in Charlotte, N.C.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Columbus, Ohio. As educators unpack the news with their students, many are likely wondering how they can effectively lead conversations about continued unrest over police violence, bias, and race. What should educators keep in mind when engaging students in topics of race and police violence? Their email responses below encourage educators to listen, to embrace discomfort, and to offer students an open space to grapple with the complex climate at hand.

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How Marginalized Families Are Pushed Out of PTAs

Published July 13, 2016 by the Atlantic

When Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Takoma Park, Maryland, told parents in the fall of 2014 that it would allow students to use Chromebooks as a way to bridge the digital divide between low-income families and affluent families, there were mixed reactions. The plan was aimed at helping students become more adept at using technology, but the affluent parents, most of whom were white, were apprehensive about their children getting more screen time.

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How should teachers and parents talk to kids about police violence?

Published July 9, 2016 by the Washington Post

In the hours after a Minnesota police officer shot school cafeteria manager Philando Castile during a traffic stop Wednesday evening, the teachers who worked with Castile — and the parents who knew him — endured waves of shock and grief. And then, alongside their own tumult of emotion, they began grappling with how to explain Castile’s death to the children who loved him. Anna Garnaas, a teacher at the St. Paul, Minn., elementary school where Castile worked, is already anticipating what she will hear from her first-, second- and third-grade students when they return to class in the fall.

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Increasing diversity in children’s books still a challenge

Published April 4, 2016 by the Missourian

Statistically, children’s literature tends to look into a not-so-diverse world. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin estimates that in 2015, about 10 percent of children’s book authors and 15 percent of the books’ characters were African-American, American Indian, Asian Pacific and Latino. Meanwhile, close to half of American children were not white, according to a 2014 census report. Nationally, activist groups are speaking out against industry bias and hoping to make widespread change.

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The power of parent advocacy to expand afterschool access

Published March 29, 2016 by Afterschool Alliance

Sometimes, you hear a story that’s simply inspirational—the kind of story movies are based on. I recently heard such a story from Allyson Criner Brown, associate director of Teaching for Change, an organization with a family engagement approach that works to include families and communities in decision making around children’s education. This story concerns a group of empowered parents who successfully argued for expanded afterschool offerings in their community.

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Teaching Kids About Slavery: Picture Books Struggle With The Task

Aired January 22, 2016 by NPR’s All Things Considered

The shelves and desks at Teaching for Change in Washington, D.C., are full of picture books. For years, the nonprofit, which advocates for a more inclusive curriculum in public schools, has been keeping track of what it considers to be some of the best — and worst — multicultural children’s books out there. Allyson Criner Brown, Teaching for Change’s associate director, says they keep the bad ones because “there’s so much to learn from them.” A Birthday Cake for George Washington was just put on the bad shelf.

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Students and Faculty Discuss #BlackLivesMatter in Education

Published November 19, 2015 by The Writer’s Bloc

“We need more teachers of color. We need more teachers who are very conscious of these issues, and who are really prepared to do the work,” graduate student Nana Brantuo said.

“Colorblindness has been so tied into the curriculum throughout the United States. It’s really time to break that. It’s time to teach what’s happening. It’s time to teach what’s real.”

Students, faculty and the public gathered to discuss Black Lives Matter in education systems, speakers unabashed and unafraid to voice their opinions Wednesday evening.

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Bringing Parents of Underserved Students Into Schools: Ways to Go About It

Published November 1, 2015 by Education Week

School leaders often say they want to engage families, but it can be a struggle to know just how to do it.

While most teachers in the nation’s schools are middle class and white, experts say diversity and poverty among students are creating a growing mismatch between educators and students and families. To build partnerships with parents from different cultures takes some intentionality and creative outreach.

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Schools Enlist Parents to Bridge Cultural Barriers

Published October 27, 2015 by Education Week

The key is to change the relationship from one of distrust to one of respect and collaboration. “We are moving from thinking of parents as the problem to parents as partners,” said Henderson, a co-author of the 2007 book Beyond the Bake Sale.

In partnership with Teaching for Change, a nonprofit that helps schools and parents build positive connections, Mt. Rainier last year invited parents into the classroom, with translators who could help educators explain how lessons were taught so they could replicate the methods at home. Hintz also hosts regular parent-principal “chit-chats” where parents are encouraged to raise issues.

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Parents Struggle With The Ways Gentrification Changes Bilingual Schools

Published October 12, 2015 by Think Progress

Sometimes parents dismiss other parents or don’t hear other parents’ concerns because of differences in race, income, language, and education, said Allyson Criner Brown, associate director of Teaching For Change. Criner Brown has been working with parents at Powell to make sure parent communities are able to communicate across race, education, language, and income, but it’s a work in progress. Now that parents in the evening meeting have started a nonprofit organization for parents at Powell, Parents Organized for the Power of Powell, or POPP, many of the differences between parent communities are being highlighted.

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Has the D.C. Council Forgotten Orr Elementary School?

Published May 26, 2015 by Young Education Professionals (YEP)

The D.C. Council promised Orr funds for modernization in 2012. Last year, Teaching for Change and Orr parents successfully advocated for a $3 million grant to secure an architect to design a new school that would open for the 2017-18 school year. Due to the vast amount of renovations that would be needed, it was decided that it would be more cost-effective to build a new school than to modernize the current one.

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Mayor Launches Art Program With Pop-Up Showcase in Navy Yard

Published May 22, 2015 by Hill Now

Go-go musicians, a symphony and a performing arts group descended on a Navy Yard park today for a pop-up showcase, as part of a new program to encourage art in D.C. neighborhoods.

Teaching for Change, the Gourmet Symphony and the Atlas Performing Arts Center came to Canal Park to show off projects they’re working on for the Capitol Hill area and other parts of the District.

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Teaching for Change moves online amid challenges for diversity in books

Published March 18, 2015 by The Washington Post

Books seem to consecrate certain spaces — especially rooms where you don’t expect to find them. Like gracious hosts, they welcome you. Like confidants, they reveal far more about where you are than the decor ever could. When I first walked into Busboys & Poets’ 14th and V Street location, the hostess greeted me warmly, but it was Teaching for Change, the bookstore tucked into the corner behind her, that beckoned me in.

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Politics and Prose to Sell Books at Flagship Busboys and Poets

Published March 5, 2015 by Shelf Awareness

This spring Teaching for Change, which for 10 years has owned and run the bookstore at the flagship Busboys and Poets restaurant at 14th and V Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C., will hand over responsibility for the bookstore to Politics and Prose, which now operates bookstores at the five other Busboys and Poets locations, which are in Maryland, Virginia and the District. Teaching for Change will continue to review, recommend and promote books that address key themes in the classroom and current events online through its webstore.

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You Have to Move Your Feet

Published February 11, 2015 by Barrie Moorman

Recently I went to see the acclaimed film “Selma” with 100 juniors and seniors, including many of the same students who participated in last year’s civil rights trip. In the movie, we see John Lewis, as the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), literally moving his feet as a leader of the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. Lewis was among those injured that day in 1965.

Before we saw the movie, we engaged in a role play in class put together by the organization Teaching for Change to meet many of the different individuals (some featured in the film and some not) who were a part of the movement for voting rights in Selma.

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Works4Me: Making the Connection

Published November, 2014 by National Education Association (NEA)

When parents and students come from various countries, different backgrounds, and even have language or literacy skills that vary, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to begin with parent outreach and involvement.

At Mt. Rainier Elementary School in Prince Georges County, Md., story sharing is the first step.

That’s the foundation of Tellin’ Stories, Family Partners, a new program made possible through the social justice organization Teaching for Change.

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D.C. mayoral candidates sound off on future of charter and traditional schools

Published October 23, 2014 by The Washington Post

D.C. mayoral candidates faced a math problem of sorts Wednesday night at the campaign’s only major forum devoted to education: In 1966, the District had about 147,000 students in 196 schools. Now, there are 86,000 students in 213 neighborhood and charter school buildings, yet the city continues to open charter schools.

Is this path sustainable?

After the forum, Deborah Menkart, executive director of the nonprofit Teaching for Change, said she was dismayed that the candidates seem so focused on expanding choice, which she believes could undermine neighborhood schools. “It’s a runaway train,” she said.

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Cool Idea of the Day: ‘Sponsor a Bookshelf’

Published October 6, 2014 by Shelf Awareness

The Teaching for Change Bookstore at Busboys and Poets, Washington, D.C., which features “books that encourage children and adults to question, challenge and re-think the world beyond the headlines,” has launched a “Sponsor a Bookshelf” initiative “to keep the bookstore in operation, curate the selection of books and coordinate author events. Become a part of our bookstore by sponsoring one of 20+ shelves from which thousands of parents, teachers, activists, and the general public browse and buy books.”

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Race, Perspective, and Bookstores: Local Shops Promote “A Fuller Picture of Life”

Published August, 2014 by East of the River DC News

Educator and activist Allison R. Brown adds that the TFC bookstore is more than its books or events. “Between the titles, book signings, and patrons looking for smart titles to add to their libraries,” Brown argues, TFC bookstore changes perceptions. “TFC helps bridge the divide between perception and reality for those who don’t perceive of people of color as intellectuals.” She adds a concern that gentrification will lead to loss of “places for people to make that connection. I think DC is a model of bridging that perception with reality solely because of the Teaching for Change bookstore. There isn’t another place like it in the city.”

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Do’s and Dont’s for Teaching About Ferguson

Published August 17, 2014 by The Root

Do take advantage of prepackaged lesson plans: You don’t have to start from scratch. Teaching for Change goes beyond proposing individual materials and offers a set of full-formed lesson plans relevant to the issues raised by Mike Brown’s death. (There are materials on everything from the militarization of police to human rights.)

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Limbaugh Attacks D.C.’s Busboys and Poets

Published July 12, 2014 by The Washington Afro American

Radio personality Rush Limbaugh, known for his racist tirades, attacked popular D.C. bookstore, Busboys and Poets, because “it dissed his tow children’s books.” The ultra-conservative talk show host was upset that the executive director of teaching for Change remarked on a C-Span network that it specialized in children’s books written by and about people of color and many times ignored best sellers, like that of rush Limbaugh.

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Rush into Battle

Published June 19, 2014 by Teaching Tolerance

You wouldn’t expect a health food store to carry Pringles.

Nor would you tune in to the Cartoon Network in search of episodes of Mad Men or Breaking Bad.

So we’re wondering why Rush Limbaugh thinks the Teaching for Change Bookstore at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., should carry his Rush Revere line of books for young readers?

If you don’t know about the Teaching for Change Bookstore—and it’s well worth knowing—here’s the lowdown. It’s small and selective. Its children’s section gives priority to books that feature children of color. They do not offer Mr. Limbaugh’s books.


Teaching for Change, Supporters React to Limbaugh Slam

Published June 19, 2014 by American Booksellers Association

The Teaching for Change Bookstore at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., strives to feature titles reflecting the country’s population, including the 37 percent of Americans who are people of color, despite the fact that only 10 percent of books published in the past five years have been about people of color.

During a C-SPAN Book TV broadcast last week, Teaching for Change Executive Director Deborah Menkart discussed the need for diverse children’s books and noted that nearly 90 percent of the children’s titles sold by the store are about or by people of color. Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Revere books for children are not carried at the store because they don’t adhere to the store’s mission, she said.

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Rush Limbaugh Goes on Rant Accusing Teaching for Change of Racism

Published June 19, 2014 by Human Rights Campaign

Rush Limbaugh doesn’t seem to understand what racism is. On Wednesday, he called out Teaching for Change for not carrying his own children’s books and for promoting books written by and about people of color.


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Rush Revere: Victor Vanquished by Tiny Bookstore?

Published June 19, 2014 by Education Town Hall

“American children are growing up with a distorted sense of reality: white children see themselves reflected endlessly” in children’s books, says author and activist Zetta Elliott, “whereas children of color rarely see themselves at all.”

The Cooperative Children’s Book Council has been reviewing and documenting the state of children’s publishing for more than 25 years. Their report finds that most children’s books — well over 90% of those reviewed in 2013 — are still about white children.

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Rush Limbaugh Calls Teaching for Change Racist

Published June 19, 2014 by Shelf Awareness

On his show yesterday, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh devoted an entire segment to harshly criticizing Teaching for Change for emphasizing children’s books about people of color at a time when just 10% of titles published during the last five years were about people of color.

Limbaugh called the organization “racist” for not carrying his bestselling children’s books at Busboys and Poets, Washington, D.C., where Teaching for Change runs a bookstore and schedules/hosts many of the author events. He learned about the decision while watching a recent C-Span 2 Book TV broadcast during which Teaching for Change executive director Deborah Menkart introduced Dave Zirin, author of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy.

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Support Teaching for Change!

Published June 17, 2014 by Fledgling, Zetta Elliott’s Blog

Rush Limbaugh has directed his hordes to attack the nonprofit bookstore run by Teaching for Change. Believe it or not, he thinks they’re racist for promoting books by people of color!

You can read all about it over at the TFC blog, OR you can show your support by purchasing more multicultural books from them! All of my titles are available on their website and I know you can get Max Loves Muñecas! in the D.C. store. You can’t really reason with online trolls but you can put your money where your mouth is…

Continue reading at Fledgling, Zetta Elliott’s Blog >>

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Rush Limbaugh Attacks the Bookstore at Busboys and Poets

Published June 17, 2014 by Washington City Paper

The independently operated bookstore at the V Street NW location of Busboys and Poets became the target of one of conservative radio hosts Rush Limbaugh’s on-air diatribes Monday.

Limbaugh blasted the store, which is operated by the nonprofit Teaching for Change, for not selling his new children’s book, Rush Revere and the First Patriots.

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Aw, Rush Limbaugh’s Sad – Tiny Bookstore Rejects His Books & Won’t Play With Him

Published June 19, 2014 by Daily Kos

Finally, it took a small, independent bookstore in Washington DC to stand up and turn down Rush Limbaugh’s children’s history books. The words sting my fingers as I type: Limbaugh-Children-History-Books. (One of these things is so not like the others.)

Teaching For Change, a non profit organization that owns, operates and is housed in Busboys And Poets, ‘encourages teachers and students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.’ It’s no wonder they flat out rejected Limbaugh’s ridiculous ‘Rush Revere’ books. Limbaugh’s response?

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Letters to the Editor: A Good Start to a Conversation on Nonprofit Businesses

Published February, 2010 by The Washington Post

The Feb. 21 Metro article “Mission trumps money for some bookstores and gift shops” was a start to the conversation about nonprofit businesses in the D.C. region.

I hope that future articles focus not just on the challenges but also on what sustains the businesses and much more about the mission.

For example, Teaching for Change could not have run the independent bookstore at Busboys and Poets for five years, or survived as a nonprofit organization for 20 years, without a lot of support from customers, donors, partners and volunteers…. Every day we hear from people who value the access to books and discussions that go beyond the headlines. That is what keeps us going.

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Tellin Stores, Finding Common Ground

Published Spring, 2009 by Rethinking Schools Online

In October 1999,  a small group of African American and Latino parents gathered at Washington D.C.’s Bruce-Monroe Elementary School to begin a workshop series facilitated by Teaching for Change’s parent empowerment project Tellin’ Stories. During the first workshop, the organizers placed a “story fortune” bag in the middle of the room. The bag was filled with evocative storytelling prompts, such as “My first day of school,” “A time my Mom/Dad made me proud,” and “A time I felt I had no voice.” As the parents chose prompts and shared stories, they began to build bonds of empathy. During the next few weeks, they shared stories and participated in other trust-building activities through which they talked about their challenges, their children, and positive and negative experiences with the school.
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Rethinking History’s Heroes: Parkland teacher says heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Published May 4, 2005 by The Gazette

Activist-educator Alana Murray’s world studies students are rethinking history’s heroes and how they achieved great things. “If you start with the premise that kids interact everyday with people who are doing pretty extraordinary things, then it gives them a sense of empowerment,” said Murray, a teacher at Parkland Middle School in Aspen Hill.

That idea is nothing new to Murray, who comes from a family active in the civil rights movement for generations. Growing up with examples like her paternal grandfather, Donald Gaines Murray, the first African American to attend the University of Maryland School of Law, she says heroes are not born extraordinary, but are ordinary people who learn to do great things as they confront problems.

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Parents protest state of Bruce Monroe classrooms

Published June, 2004 by DC North

A diverse group of parents and children marched in the quickly heating sun to urge the construction of walls in the school’s open-space classrooms on the morning of May 25 in front of Bruce-Monroe Elementary School at 3012 Georgia Avenue NW.

“DCPS, are you teaching our kids to lie?” one mother shouted into a megaphone. “No more lies, we want action,” another called, with mimicking cries echoing from the crowd.

Beginning in April 2001, Parents and Friends of Bruce-Monroe began a campaign writing petitions, making phone calls, sending e-mails and visiting the superintendent’s office to insist walls be constructed to enclose the open-space classrooms the school has on its second floor.

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Residents Find Common Interest in Children: Nonprofit Group Helps Black, Hispanic Parents Reach  Out Each Other, Educators in NW

Published November 2, 2003 by The Washington Post

Chiquita White and Ana Urrutia are two women who, if not for their children—students at Brightwood Elementary School in Northwest Washington—would likely never have met. And even if they had, the chance that they would have developed a friendship was slim. But here they were, one gray, overcast morning last week, walking side by side, leading a group on a tour of the Brightwood neighborhood, which straddles the upper reaches of 14th Street and Georgia Avenue NW.

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Parents at DC Elementary Scool Demand Classrooms with Walls

Published in Summer, 2004

For three years, parents at Bruce-Monroe Elementary School in the District of Columbia have been demanding facility improvements. First and foremost on the list are walls.

Walls? Yup. Bruce Monroe is one of 23 schools in Washington, DC that does not have walls separating classrooms. The building was remodeled decades ago, as part of an experiment in “open floor plans.” School systems across the country tried such plans during the 1960s and 1970s, hoping that taking down the walls between grades and classrooms would encourage students and teachers to collaborate and work across age and subject groupings.

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D.C. Project Puts Parents in Classrooms: Building Bridges with Books

Published Spring, 1993 by Rethinking Schools

They are urban education’s silent partners: parents with a direct stake in the quality of urban public schools but whom, for a variety of reasons, the schools have been unable to involve in school activities. Yet in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, a small group of such silent partners has gotten involved. For the past six months, they have spent their Saturday afternoons writing about their lives and sharing the stories as part of a writing workshop. As a result of the project the parents, who are predominantly African-American and Latinos, are learning about each other and are helping to write a new chapter on family involvement programs.

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Historian Juan Garcia Salazar shares stories with children

Published March 26 1993 by El Tiempo Latino

Ecuadorian historian Juan Garcia Salazar shared stories with children at the Mt. Pleasant Library to highlight the African influence on his country’s culture. The children were from Tubman Elementary School.

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