Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Rethinking Schools

Introduction to the latest issue:

Rethinking Schools, the only national education journal produced by classroom teachers, has published the first issue of its 20th year. It's a good one.

The issue includes a special excerpt from Jonathan Kozol's new book The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. Kozol is one of the nation's leading advocates for educational justice and a winner of a National Book Award for his 1991 volume, Savage Inequalities. In the new Rethinking Schools, he offers a fierce indictment of segregation, funding inequalities, and the "drill-and-kill" curricula that are heavily promoted in schools that serve low-income students and students of color.

The new issue also has a special section on military recruitment and counter-recruitment efforts in schools across the country. Students and teachers suggest ways to respond to some of the most pressing issues raised by teaching in a time of war, including how we can protect the lives and minds of our students from pro-military propaganda.

RS columnist Barbara Miner has an important report on the lack of accountability and quality control in Milwaukee's voucher schools, which are often cited as a national model of where reform policy may be headed.

Teaching for equity and justice is always a primary topic in Rethinking Schools and the first issue of volume 20 is no exception. It includes the following:

Reconstructing Race, by Nathaniel W. Smith. A high school teacher introduces his students to the slippery concept of race.

Teaching About Global Warming in Truck Country, by Jana Dean. A middle school teacher in the Pacific Northwest helps the heirs of truck culture examine climate change.

Rethinking Agatha Christie, by Sudie Hofmann. A look at the strange and offensive history of Ten Little Indians.

Playing with Gender, by Ann Pelo. The staff at an early childhood center asks hard questions about gender identity.

Students Galvanize for Immigrant Rights, by Ryan Knudson and Al Levie. A high school club in Racine, Wis., changes life for students, parents, and the larger community.

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