Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 2

Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 2

Teaching for Equity and Justice

Edited By Bill Bigelow, Brenda Harvey, Stan Karp, Larry Miller

Table of Contents

With more than 180,000 copies in print, the first volume of Rethinking Our Classrooms broke new ground, providing teachers with hands-on ways to promote values of community, justice, and equality — and build students' academic skills.

This companion volume continues in that tradition, presenting a rich new collection of from-the-classroom articles, curriculum ideas, lesson plans, poetry, and resources — all grounded in the realities of school life.

Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 2 is an essential book for every educator who seeks to pair concerns for social justice with students' academic achievement.

Buy the combined set of the first and second volumes of this groundbreaking series for only $24.95


"A vital, useful, and empowering anthology of some of the best stuff about schools I have read in 30 years. I hope it reaches the vast audience it deserves."

Jonathan Kozol, author of Ordinary Resurrections and Savage Inequalities.

"With Volume 2, Rethinking Schools continues its bold, unflinching confrontation of vital school issues and actions. Honest and clear treatments by great authors go to the core of matters of equality and justice. Rethinking Schools continues to set the standard for advocacy for our children."

Asa G. Hilliard III - Nana Baffour Amankwatia II, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education

"Brimming with respect for the intelligence and integrity of teachers as well as for students of all ages, this second volume of Rethinking Our Classrooms continues in the same proud tradition as its predecessor. In its pages, teachers will find hope, energy, and renewal."

—Sonia Nieto, Professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture, School of Education, University of Massachusetts.

"A vital, useful, and empowering anthology of some of the best stuff about schools I have read in 30 years. I hope it reaches the vast audience it deserves."

—Jonathan Kozol, author of Ordinary Resurrections and Savage Inequalities.

"With Volume 2, Rethinking Schools continues its bold, unflinching confrontation of vital school issues and actions. Honest and clear treatments by great authors go to the core of matters of equality and justice. Rethinking Schools continues to set the standard for advocacy for our children."

—Asa G. Hilliard III - Nana Baffour Amankwatia II, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education

Introduction — 1
The Power of Words — 5

Where I'm From: Inviting Students' Lives into the Classroom — 6
by Linda Christensen
"Where I'm From" — 6
by George Ella Lyon
"I Am From Soul Food and Harriet Tubman" — 8
by Lealonni Blake
"I Am From Pink Tights and Speak Your Mind" — 9
by Djamila Moore
"I Am From . . ." — 10
by Oretha Storey
"I Am From Swingsets and Jungle Gyms" — 10
by Debby Gordon
An International Proverbs Project — 11
by Jim Cummins and Dennis Sayers
"Race" — 15
by Cang Dao
For My People — 16
by Linda Christensen
What Color Is Beautiful? — 18
by Alejandro Segura-Mora
Ebonics and Culturally Responsive Instruction — 22
by Lisa Delpit
Exploring Black Cultural Issues — 27
by Bakari Chavanu
"Ode to Writing" — 31
by Jessica Rawlins
"I am Proud to Be Bilingual" — 32
by Monica Thao

The Power of the Past

Unsung Heroes — 34
by Howard Zinn
Teaching About Unsung Heroes — 37
by Bill Bigelow
Discovering the Truth about Helen Keller — 42
by James Loewen
On the Road to Cultural Bias — 45
by Bill Bigelow
Fiction Posing as Truth — 57
by Debbie Reese, et al.
Rethinking the U.S. Constitutional Convention: A Role Play — 63
by Bob Peterson
A New U.S. Bill of Rights — 70
by Larry Miller
"Waiting at the Railroad Cafe" — 72
by Janet Wong
A Lesson on the Japanese-American Internment — 73
by Mark Sweeting
"In Response to Executive Order 9066" — 75
by Dwight Okita
What the Tour Guide Didn't Tell Me — 76
by Wayne Au

The Power of Critique

Ten Chairs of Inequality — 82
by Polly Kellogg
Teaching Math Across the Curriculum — 84
by Bob Peterson
Percent as a Tool for Social Justice — 89
by Bob Peterson
The Human Lives Behind the Labels — 91
by Bill Bigelow
"The Stitching Shed" — 100
by Tho Dong
Bias and CD-ROM Encyclopedias — 101
by Bob Peterson
Where's the 'R' Word? — 105
by Bob Peterson
Girls, Worms, and Body Image — 107
by Kate Lyman
Math, Maps, and Misrepresentation — 112
by Eric Gutstein

The Power of Social Action

"We Had Set Ourselves Free" — 116
by Doug Sherman
From Snarling Dogs to Bloody Sunday — 119
by Kate Lyman
Mississippi Freedom Schools — 126
by David Levine
Improvs and Civil Rights — 134
by Bill Bigelow
The Poetry of Protest — 135
by Linda Christensen
"Jorge the Church Janitor Finally Quits" — 136
by Martín Espada
A Bill of Rights for Girls — 138
by Mary Blalock
The Trial — 140
by Kate Lyman
Students Blow the Whistle on Toxic Oil Contamination — 144
by Larry Miller and Danah Opland-Dobs
"Garbage" — 146
by Bill Steele, Mike Agranoff, and Pete Seeger
AIDS — "You Can Die From It" — 149
by Kate Lyman
"at the cemetery, walnut grove plantation, south carolina, 1989" — 154
by Lucille Clifton

Rethinking School Culture

When Things Turn Ugly — 156
by Donn Harris
Rethinking Discipline — 160
by Jehanne Helena Beaton
Creating Classroom Community — 163
by Beverly Braxton
A Mother Speaks Out — 167
by Leslie Sadasivan
Teaching the Whole Story — 168
by Kate Lyman
Playing Favorites — 176
by Mara Sapon-Shevin
Black Teachers on Teaching — 181
by Michele Foster
School System Shock — 186
by Melony Swasey
Arranged Marriages, Rearranged Ideas — 188
by Stan Karp
Out Front — 194
by Annie Johnston
Staying Past Wednesday — 199
by Kate Lyman
"Earth's Last Cry" — 202
by Rachel M. Knudsen

Rethinking Assessment

Why the Testing Craze Won't Fix Our Schools — 204
by the Editors of Rethinking Schools
Basketball and Portfolios — 207
by Linda Christensen
One Size Fits Few — 211
by Susan Ohanian
Tracking and the Project Method — 214
by Bob Peterson
Motivating Students to do Quality Work — 219
by Bob Peterson
Resources — 225
Poetry Teaching Guide — 240
by Linda Christensen
Index — 242

Introduction: Teaching for Equity and Justice

Like its predecessor, Volume two of Rethinking Our Classrooms begins from the premise that schools and classrooms should be laboratories for a more just society than the one we now live in. After more than a decade of high-profile national debate on school reform, we think this proposition is more central than ever to the success, perhaps even the survival, of public education.

Schools have crucial obligations not only to individual students and families, but to our society as a whole. Their success or failure is tied not just to personal well-being, but to the prospects of creating a multiracial democracy capable of addressing the serious social and ecological problems that cloud our future. We live in a world plagued by economic inequality, endemic violence, and racial injustice. A me-first, dollar-driven culture undermines democratic values, and seems to invent daily new forms of alienation and self-destruction. Over the long term, the production and consumption patterns of industrially overdeveloped and underplanned economies like ours threaten global ecological disaster.

Given such unpleasant but inescapable realities, education reform must be driven by a far broader vision than it has been in recent years. What happens every day in our classrooms both shapes and is shaped by the larger social currents that define who we are as a society and where we are headed. Accordingly, to be truly successful, school reform must be guided by democratic social goals and values that provide a deeper context for more traditional academic objectives.

Unfortunately, too many schools foster narrowly self-centered notions of success and "making it." Too many, especially in poor areas, provide a dismal experience based on tests, tracking, and a sanitized curriculum that lacks the credibility or sense of purpose needed to engage students or to connect with their communities. Too many schools fail to confront the racial, class, gender, language, and homophobic biases woven into our social fabric.

Years of classroom experience have convinced us that these shortcomings are intimately connected to low student achievement. The problems many schools have in teaching children to read, write, and think are, to a large extent, symptoms of the inequality that permeates our educational system. In fact, we would argue that unless our schools and classrooms are animated by broad visions of equity, democracy, and social justice, they will never be able to realize the widely proclaimed goal of raising educational achievement for all children.

Historically, efforts to expand the reach of public education or to democratize curriculum have been accompanied by extensions of the sorting and labeling mechanisms schools use to preserve pockets of privilege. (See for example the role play activity on the origins of tracking in Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 1, p. 117. The activity is also available online at

Today the standardized testing crusade threatens to play a similar role. It professes to raise the bar for all children, yet without dramatic increases in resources and radical improvements in teaching and learning inside classrooms, the testing crusade is more likely to create a new credentialing maze that continues to channel some students to lives of privilege and others to educational oblivion.

Teachers are often simultaneously perpetrators and victims in this process. They typically have little individual control over many of the factors that shape the conditions of schooling. But in their classrooms they often have a measure of autonomy to create a space that can profoundly affect the lives of young people. Teachers can create classrooms that are places of hope, where students and teachers gain glimpses of the kind of society we could live in, and where students learn the academic and critical skills needed to make it a reality.

This effort to rethink our classrooms must be both visionary and practical: visionary, because we need to go far beyond the prepackaged formulas and narrow agendas now being imposed on our schools and classrooms; and practical, because the work of reshaping educational practice and countering the agendas imposed from above requires daily, school-based efforts at learning, teaching, organizing, and educational activism by those with the most at stake - teachers, students, parents, and local communities.

We believe further that efforts at classroom transformation should grow from a common social and pedagogical vision that, taken as a whole, strives toward what we call a social justice classroom. In such a social justice classroom, curriculum and classroom practice must be:

Grounded in the lives of our students. All good teaching begins with a respect for children, their innate curiosity and their capacity to learn. Curriculum should be rooted in children's needs and experiences. Whether we're teaching science, mathematics, English, or social studies, ultimately the class has to be about our students' lives as well as about a particular subject. Students should probe the ways their lives connect to the broader society and are often limited by that society.

Critical. The curriculum should equip students to "talk back" to the world. From an early age, students must learn to pose essential critical questions: Who makes decisions and who is left out? Who benefits and who suffers? Why is a given practice fair or unfair? What are its origins? What alternatives can we imagine? What is required to create change? Through critiques of advertising, cartoons, literature, legislative decisions, foreign policy choices, job structures, newspapers, movies, consumer culture, agricultural practices, and school life itself, students should have opportunities to question social reality. Wherever possible, student work should also move outside the classroom walls so that academic learning is linked to real-world issues and problems.

Multicultural, anti-bias, pro-justice. A social justice curriculum must strive to include the lives of everyone in our society, and to examine critically their histories and interconnection. With some 40 percent of the students in public schools from communities of color, while more than 90 percent of the teachers are white, we need to address directly and constructively the racial, class, and gender dimensions of educational inequity and school failure. We need to move from what anti-racist educator Enid Lee calls the "soft stuff" to the "hard stuff." This means not only "celebrating our diversity" but also helping ourselves and our students understand why some differences translate into access to wealth and power, while others become a source of discrimination and injustice. To uncover the common ground that public schools in a multiracial society need in order to thrive, we need to face honestly the truths about our past and our present. There is already a backlash against the unfinished efforts of recent years to revise traditional versions of history, literature, and other subjects, and to include the experience and voices of people of color, women, gays and lesbians, and working people. Nevertheless, we need to push this effort further and deeper. We must resist attempts by legislators to use tests and standards to push multicultural curriculum reform to the margins.

Participatory, experiential. Traditional classrooms often leave little room for student involvement and initiative. They encourage a passivity that is reinforced by fragmented, test-driven curriculum and which discourages students from taking more responsibility for their own education. In a "re-thought" classroom, concepts need to be experienced firsthand, not just read about or heard about. Through projects, role plays, simulations, mock trials, or experiments, students need to be mentally, and often physically, active. They need to be involved as much as possible in explicit discussions about the purposes and processes of their own education. Our classrooms also must provoke students to develop their democratic capacities: to question, to challenge, to make real decisions, to solve problems collectively.

Hopeful, joyful, kind, visionary. The ways we organize classroom life should seek to make children feel significant and cared about — by the teacher and by each other. Unless students feel emotionally and physically safe, they won't share real thoughts and feelings; discussions will be artificial and dishonest. We need to design activities that help students learn to trust and care for each other. Classroom life should, to the greatest extent possible, prefigure the kind of democratic and just society we envision and thus contribute to building that society.

Activist. We want students to come to see themselves as truth-tellers and change-makers. If we ask children to critique the world but then fail to encourage them to act, our classrooms can degenerate into factories of cynicism. Part of a teacher's role is to suggest that ideas have real consequences and should be acted upon, and to offer students opportunities to do just that. Children can also draw inspiration from historical and contemporary efforts of people who struggled for justice. A critical curriculum should be a rainbow of resistance, reflecting the diversity of people from all cultures who acted to make a difference, many of whom did so at great sacrifice. Students should be allowed to learn about, and feel connected to, this legacy of defiance.

Academically rigorous. A social justice classroom equips children not only to change the world, but also to navigate in the world that exists. Far from devaluing the vital academic skills young people need, a critical and activist curriculum speaks directly to the deeply rooted alienation that currently discourages millions of students from acquiring those skills. By addressing the social context and social relationships that help create school failure, critical classrooms seek to break the cycle of remedial tedium and replace it with more self-conscious, purposeful student activity.

A social justice classroom offers more to students than do traditional classrooms, and it expects more from students. Critical teaching aims to inspire levels of academic performance significantly greater than those motivated or measured by grades and test scores. When children write for real audiences, read books and articles about issues that really matter, and discuss big ideas with compassion and intensity, "academics" start to breathe. Yes, we must help students "pass the tests," even as we help them critique the harmful impact of test-driven education. But only by systematically reconstructing how and what we teach do we have any hope of cracking the cynicism that lies so close to the heart of massive school failure and of raising academic expectations and performance for all children.

Culturally sensitive. Critical teaching requires that we admit we don't know it all. Each class presents new challenges to learn from our students, and demands that we be good researchers and good listeners. These days the demographic reality of schooling makes it likely that white teachers will enter classrooms filled with children of color. As African-American educator Lisa Delpit has written: "When teachers are teaching children who are different from themselves, they must call upon parents in a collaborative fashion if they are to learn who their students really are." They must also call upon the cultural diversity of their colleagues and on community resources for insights into the communities they seek to serve. What can be said about racial and cultural differences between teachers and students also holds true for class differences.

We know from our own experience that creating successful critical classrooms is not easy. It is difficult, demanding work that requires vision, support, and resources. Finding groups and networks of support is crucial for the long haul, as is the need to build alliances for equity beyond the classroom among parents, professional associations, teachers' unions, and community groups. The success of our classroom efforts is ultimately tied to efforts at the district, state, and national levels to improve public education and to sustain the collective social obligations that a democratic system of public schooling implies.

We know, too, that there will be opposition from those who think critical teaching for social justice is "too political," as if traditional teaching for the status quo were not equally "political" in its authoritarian practice, its unequal outcomes, and its endorsement of the established order.

Some colleagues will resist calls to take on greater responsibility for school failure. Others will succumb to corrosive cynicism or force of habit. At times, wrongheaded mandates will be imposed on us from above by bureaucrats or politicians. At other times the small steps we manage to take may seem painfully short of our grand visions, even isolated and utopian in the face of the broader social changes needed.

But the alternative to critical teaching for social justice is to surrender to a system that, left to its own logic, will never serve the common good. Critical classroom practice is an indispensable and much-neglected missing piece in the puzzle of school improvement. Without social justice teaching inside classrooms, even vital reforms in funding equity or school governance will have limited impact.

For all its flaws, public education exists because generations of people have fought to improve the future for themselves and their children. Whether public education continues to exist, and whether it rises to the challenges before it, remains an open question. How we as teachers respond will help determine the answer.

A classroom veteran once told younger colleagues that teachers had two choices: "We can teach for the society we live in, or we can teach for the one we want to see." Rethinking Our Classrooms is for those with the vision to reach for their dreams.

— The Editors

About These Supplemental Materials

Here you will find links to the supplemental materials mentioned in specific articles in Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 2. Each listing begins with the article and its page number in the book.
Most of these materials are presented in html as well as in RichText Format (which most word processing programs can translate) and in PDF format.

You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader software for opening PDFs here.

The full Resources section of the book is available below, complete with active links.

Supplemental Materials

"Rethinking the U.S. Constitutional Convention: A Role Play,"by Bob Peterson, p. 63.

"A New U.S. Bill of Rights," by Larry Miller, p. 70.

"Math, Maps, and Misrepresentation,": by Eric Gutstein, p. 112.


This list, from the Resources section of the book , includes books and curricula to promote justice, children's books, audio/visual resources, catalogs, organizations, Web sites, and periodicals.

Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 1 includes a full listing of valuable classroom resources, including: videos; children's books; curricula; literature anthologies; maps and posters; organizations and periodicals; and books on history, policy and theory. With the exception of organizations and periodicals, by and large, the resources included in these categories have not been repeated in Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume Two. Please see Volume One for the full listing. (Sorry, not yet available online.)

Books and Curricula to Promote Justice

All starred resources [*] are available from the Teaching for Change catalog,; 800-763-9131.

*Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education, Sonia Nieto. White Plains, NY: Longman, 1996, second edition. Of the scores of books on multicultural education, Nieto's is one worth reading. The central message of this 422-page book is that multicultural education is essential to promote the academic achievement of students of color; it is a message that comes through powerfully in her clear explanations of related issues of bilingual education and critical pedagogy, and her numerous case studies that give voice to students of different backgrounds.

*Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children, Louise Derman-Sparks and the A.B.C. Task Force. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1989. Perhaps the best book for the early child/primary level on how to teach about all forms of bias and what to do about it.

*Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development, edited by Enid Lee, Deborah Menkart, and Margo Okazawa-Rey. Washington, DC: Network of Educators on the Americas, 1998. A 463-page collection developed by educators, parents, and activists determined to create a valuable resource for change. Lesson plans and staff development activities are included, as well as critical examinations of controversial school issues such as bilingual education and tracking. Contains an extensive resource guide of teaching and learning resources and many helpful Internet sites.

*Caribbean Connections, edited by Catherine Sunshine. Washington, DC: Network of Educators on the Americas/EPICA, 1991. Stories, interviews, songs, drama, and oral histories, accompanied by lesson plans for secondary language arts and social studies. Separate volumes on: Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Regional Overview, and Moving North.

Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement,F. Arturo Rosales. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1997. A comprehensive account of the struggle of Mexican Americans to secure and protect their civil rights, starting with the U.S. invasion of Mexico and subsequent annexation of most of what is now the U.S. Southwest. The book is designed to accompany a PBS series that is available on video

*Child Labor is Not Cheap, ( Amy Sanders and Meredith Sommers. Minneapolis, MN: Resource Center of the Americas, 1997. A three-lesson unit for grades 8-12 on the 250 million children throughout the world who spend most of their days on the job. First lesson is designed to accompany the video, Zoned for Slavery (see listing under Audio/Visual Resources).

*Classroom Crusades: Responding to the Religious Right's Agenda for Public Schools, edited by Barbara Miner. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1998.Classroom Crusades covers the religious right's efforts to stamp their own brand of politics and religion on the country's schools. It includes an overview of key issues such as censorship, creationism, gay rights and sexuality education, with resources and examples for defending the freedom to learn.

*Colonialism in the Americas: A Critical Look (1991) and Colonialism in Asia: A Critical Look, Susan Gage. Victoria, BC: VIDEA. Sophisticated descriptions of colonialism in an easy to read, comic book format. Through dialogue and cartoons, each booklet traces the development of colonialism and its legacy. Teaching ideas are included in each volume.

*A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, Ronald Takaki. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1993. Beginning with the colonization of the 'New World' and ending with the Los Angeles riots of 1992, this book recounts U.S. history in the voices of Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and others. Takaki turns the Anglocentric historical viewpoint inside out and examines the ultimate question of what it means to be an American.

*Days of Respect: Organizing a Schoolwide Violence Prevention Program,Ralph Cantor, et al. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 1997. Step-by-step instructions for putting together an event that unites students, parents, teachers and community leaders for a common goal: preventing violence and creating an atmosphere of respect in school.

De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century,Elizabeth Martinez. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1998. Martinez's more than 30 years of experience in the movements for civil rights, women's liberation, and Latina/o empowerment are reflected in these readable essays. Particularly good on the struggles of Mexican Americans.

*Education Is Politics: Critical Teaching Across Differences, K-12, edited by Ira Shor and Caroline Pari. New York: Heinemann, 1999.In memory of Paulo Freire, the essays in this collection describe critical practices by teachers committed to transformation in and beyond the classroom. They show culturally diverse educators constructively taking sides and refusing to fit students or themselves quietly into the status quo.

*Failing Our Kids: Why the Testing Craze Won't Fix Our Schools,edited by Kathy Swope and Barbara Miner. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 2000. More than 50 articles provide a compelling critique of standardized tests and also outline alternative ways to assess how well children are learning. The long arm of standardized testing is reaching into every nook and cranny of education. Yet relying on standardized tests distorts student learning, exacerbates inequities for low-income students and students of color, and undermines true accountability.

The Field Guide to the Global Economy, Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh, with Thea Lee. New York: TheNew Press, 1999. Illustrated with charts, graphs, and political cartoons, this accessible and engaging guide reveals the harmful effects of corporate-driven globalization. It explains current trends in the global economy, the driving forces behind globalization, and the organizations and individuals working to reverse these destructive forces.

*Finding Solutions to Hunger: Kids Can Make a Difference, Stephanie Kempf. New York: World Hunger Year, 1997. Engaging, interactive and challenging lessons for middle school, high school and adult education on the roots and solutions to domestic and global hunger. Examines colonialism, the media, famine vs. chronic hunger, the working poor, and more.

*Flirting or Hurting? A Teacher's Guide on Sexual Harassment in Schools for 6th through 12th Grade Students, Nan Stein and Lisa Sjostrom. Washington, DC: National Education Association, 1994. An excellent teacher-friendly curriculum, with stories and role plays. Widely used.

*Freedom's Unfinished Revolution: An Inquiry Into the Civil War and Reconstruction, The American Social History Project. New York: The New Press,1996. Lively prose, primary documents, illustrations, and photographs bring this key period of U.S. history to life and invite students to study Reconstruction in depth. A 302-page book that includes exercises and discussion questions. By the authors of Who Built America?

*Funding for Justice: Money, Equity and the Future of Public Education, edited by Stan Karp, et al., Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.1997. Presents the complicated issues of school finance in readable form for teachers, parents, and the community. In more than 25 articles packed with information, background, and analysis, Funding for Justice makes a strong case for providing adequate and equitable funding to all schools.

*Honoring Our Ancestors, edited by Harriet Rohmer. San Francisco: Children's Book Press,1999. A must for teachers of all grade levels. Through portraits and stories, 14 outstanding artists from diverse communities honor the ancestors who touched their lives. This book 32-page book includes Joe Sam's beautiful portrait of his three aunts who raised him in Harlem during the 1940s while working as maids in the white neighborhoods of Manhattan; and Hung Liu's portrait of her grandmother who made shoes for the family in China. Can be used at any grade level.

*Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement, Vincent Harding. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1990. A series of essays from Harding's consultation on the Eyes on the Prize series. The 246-page book provides good ideas and poses challenging questions for a course or a teacher study group.

*Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children, Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Inc.,1988. Features a collection of North American Indian stories and related hands-on activities designed to inspire children. An interdisciplinary approach to teaching about the earth and Native-American cultures.

*Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, James W. Loewen. New York: New Press, 1994. Loewen's book is an entertaining and eye-opening de-mything of key aspects of American history. It's both an effective critique of some of the most widely-used history texts as well as an alternative history.

*The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities, Sonia Nieto. New York: Teachers College Press, 1999. Nieto takes us beyond individual learners to discuss the social context of learning, the history and manifestations of educational equity, the influence of culture on learning, and critical pedagogy. Centering on multicultural education as a transformative process, the text includes reflections of teachers who have undergone this process.

Making the Grade: A Racial Justice Report Card. Applied Research Center, 1999. 510-653-3415. Free. An extremely user-friendly tool to measure racial equity in schools. The heart of this CD is an interactive reporting mechanism through which the user inputs raw data that are available from most school districts and the program then issues a 'racial justice report card.' Designed for anyone who wants to document patterns of institutional racism in schools, the CD has everything from sample letters to send school administrators to background information on racial inequality in schools. [Although this resource is no longer available in CD format, it is on the ARC Web site, at]

*Making the Peace: A Violence Prevention Curriculum, Paul Kivel and Allen Creighton. Hunter House. A comprehensive teaching handbook with all the information needed to implement a 15-session core curriculum. It offers step-by-step instructions for sessions, anticipates difficult issues that may arise, and suggests ideas for follow-up both within the classroom and within the school or youth program.

*Multicultural Education as Social Activism, Christine Sleeter. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1996. Sleeter connects multicultural education with issues of power. Chapters include: 'This curriculum is multicultural ... isn't it?' 'Teaching science for social justice,' 'Reflections on my use of multicultural and critical pedagogy when students are white,' and more.

Multicultural Voices in Contemporary Literature: A Resource for Teachers, Frances Ann Day. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1999. Day's updated book provides classroom teachers and librarians with a quick reference for hundreds of multicultural titles as well as some thoughtful writing prompts.

The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Nellie V. McKay. W.W. Norton,1996. Too many teachers have never read African-American literature. Most who have read individual works have not systematically explored the tradition and come to understand how it draws upon the vernacular language of African Americans. This anthology is where teachers who work with African-American children can find direction in their study of the African-American literary tradition.

*One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards, Susan Ohanian. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 1999. This hilarious, unsparing, and touching narrative recounts the author's quest to make sense of the Standards movement. Ohanian explores the ironic results of the movement in schools (e.g., failure to pass students who lack 'necessary knowledge' on topics such as covalent bonds and the Edict of Nantes), the absence of critical dialogue in the media regarding standards, and ultimately, issues a callto action.

*Open Minds to Equality: A Sourcebook of Learning Activities to Affirm Diversity and Promote Equity, (second edition) Nancy Schniedewind and Ellen Davidson. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1998. This resource both inspires teachers to teach for justice and provides classroom-ready ideas that work. The lessons integrate various curricular areas and are presented in a sequential fashion. Includes an excellent resource bibliography. Also by Schniedewind and Davidson is Cooperative Learning, Cooperative Lives: A Sourcebook for Learning Activities for Building a Peaceful World, W.C. Brown Company, 1987.

*Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, Lisa Delpit. New York: The New Press, 1995. Gives an excellent background on issues related to language and literacy. Delpit shows how educators' unconscious assumptions about race and culture play out in classrooms with harmful, if unintended, consequences. A vital resource for teacher education.

*Peters Projection World Map New York: Friendship Press. This is a map, not a book, but it comes with a teaching guide. It presents all countries according to their true size. Traditional Mercator projection maps distort sizes, making Europe appear much larger than it actually is. A New View of the World by Ward Kaiser is a handbook on the Peters map.

*A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present, Howard Zinn; New York: HarperCollins; revised 1995. The best single volume history of the United States. No teacher should be without a copy. Some sections are readable by high school students.

*The Power in Our Hands: A Curriculum on the History of Work and Workers in the United States, Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. New York: Monthly Review Press,1988. Role-plays and writing activities help students explore issues about work and social change. An essential curriculum for history and economics teachers, or for school-to-work programs.

Preventing Prejudice, Marta Hawthorne, et al. Buena Vista Lesbian and Gay Parents Group.1999. Age-appropriate gay-positive curriculum for grades K-5.A valuable resource for teachers to talk openly and respectfully with their students about gays and lesbians and take concrete steps to diminish homophobia.

*Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word, by Linda Christensen. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 2000.In this practical, inspirational book, Christensen draws on her20-plus years as a high school teacher to describe her vision of teaching reading, writing, and language courses that are rooted in an unwavering focus on social justice. Includes essays, lesson plans, and a remarkable collection of student writing.

*Readings for Diversity and Social Justice: An Anthology on Racism, Antisemitism, Sexism, Heterosexism, Ableism & Classism, edited by Maurianne Adams, et al. Routledge, 2000. An invaluable anthology of over ninety readings by some of the foremost scholars in the fields of education and social justice, including Gloria Anzaldua, Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks, Michael Omi, Ronald Takaki, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Cornel West and Iris Marion Young. Covers the scope of social oppressions, emphasizing interactions among racism, sexism, classism, anti-Semitism, heterosexism, and ableism.

*The Real Ebonics Debate: Power, Language and the Education of African-American Children, edited by Theresa Perry and Lisa Delpit. Rethinking Schools,1998. Educators, linguists, writers and students examine the lessons of the Ebonics controversy and unravel complexities of the issue that have never been acknowledged.

Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America, edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.This anthology includes work from such notable authors as LeslieSilko and Louise Erdrich and lesser-known writers from a variety of Native cultures. It is groundbreaking in its depth, breadth, militancy, and beauty.

*Resistance in Paradise: Rethinking 100 Years of U.S. Involvement in the Caribbean and the Pacific, edited by Deborah Wei and Rachael Kamel. Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1998. In 1898, the United States annexed the Pacific Islands of Guam, Hawai'i, and Samoa, as well as Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. This major event in U.S. history is barely mentioned in school textbooks. Resistance in Paradise fills the gap with over 50 lesson plans, role plays and readings for grades 9-12. Includes illustrations, cartoons, maps, and photographs.

*Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 2nd edition 1998. This widely acclaimed book asks educators to think about the racial and cultural biases in traditional tales of 'discovery,' and provides numerous teaching ideas that encourage students to think critically about these myths. An essential volume for teacher education. Greatly expanded from the first edition, which sold almost a quarter of a million copies.

*Rethinking Schools: An Agenda for Change, edited by David Levine, et al. 1995. Highlights from the country's leading education reform journal on curriculum, testing and tracking, national education policy, anti-bias education, and school communities.

*Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice (Volume1), edited by Bill Bigelow, Linda Christensen, Stan Karp, Barbara Miner and Bob Peterson. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools; 1994.This collection includes creative teaching ideas, compelling classroom narratives and hands-on examples of ways teachers can promote values of community, justice, and equality ' and build academic skills.

*Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice (Volume2), edited by Stan Karp, Brenda Harvey, Larry Miller and Bill Bigelow. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools; 2001. Supplements the first volume of Rethinking Our Classrooms, which has sold over 100,000 copies. Practical from-the-classroom stories from teachers about how they attempt to teach for social justice. Extends and deepens many of the themes introduced in the first volume of Rethinking Our Classrooms.

*Roots of Justice: Stories of Organizing in Communities of Color, Larry R. Salomon. Chardon Press. 1998. Roots of Justice recaptures some of the nearly forgotten histories of communities of color. These are the stories of people who fought back against exploitation and injustice ' and won. From the Zoot Suiters who refused to put up with abuse at the hands of the Navy to the women who organized the welfare rights movement of the 1970s, Roots of Justice shows how, through organizing, ordinary people have made extraordinary contributions to change society. In a time of cynicism, this is an especially needed book.

*Selling Out Our Schools: Vouchers, Markets and the Future of Public Education, edited by Robert Lowe and Barbara Miner. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1996. Covers the major issues surrounding 'school choice,' vouchers, and other efforts to privatize our public schools. More than 35 articles by nationally respected educators and policy-makers explain how vouchers and marketplace approaches to education threaten our basic concepts of equality and opportunity. Ideal for communities facing charter, voucher or other privatization initiatives.

*Talkin and Testifyin: The Language of Black America, Smitherman, Geneva. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1986.This wonderful book is still the best introduction to the study of Black language. It is required reading for teachers who work with African-American children.

*Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin. New York: Routledge, 1997. A compilation of course syllabi, lessons, and resources for college courses and staff development on issues of racism, sexism, classism, anti-Semitism, heterosexism, and ableism.

*Teaching Economics As If People Mattered: A High School Curriculum Guide to the New Economy, Tamara Sober Giecek. United for a Fair Economy. 2000. Field-tested by high school teachers, this innovative economics curriculum looks at the human implications of economic policies. These 21lesson plans are designed to stimulate dialogue and encourage active student participation in the high school or college classroom.

*Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader,edited by William Ayers, Jean Ann Hunt and Therese Quinn. NewYork: Teachers College Press/New Press. 1998. A unique mix of hands-on, historical and inspirational writings. The topics include education through social action, writing and community building, and adult literacy.

*That's Not Fair: A Teacher's Guide to Activism with Young Children,Ann Pelo and Fran Davidson. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press. 2000. Children have a natural sense of what's fair and what's not. This book helps teachers learn to use this characteristic to develop children's belief that they can change the world for the better. Includes real-life stories of activist children, combined with teacher's experiences and reflections. Original songs for children and a resource list for both adults and children.

*Transforming Teacher Unions: Fighting for Better Schools and Social Justice, edited by Bob Peterson and Michael Charney. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1999. A vital tool for anyone working in or with teacher unions today. The 25 articles look at exemplary practices of teacher unions from the local to national level, and present new visions for the 21st century. Addresses the history of teacher unionism and connects issues of teacher unions, classroom reform, local communities, and social justice.

*We Can't Teach What We Don't Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools, by Gary Howard. New York: Teacher's College Press. 1999. With25 years of teaching experience as a multicultural educator, Gary Howard looks into his own racial identity to search for what it means to be a culturally competent white teacher in racially diverse schools. His lively stories and compelling analysis offer a healing vision for the future of education.

*Who Are the Arabs: The Arab World in the Classroom, Steve Tamari. Washington, DC: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 1999. History, poetry, photographs, maps, short stories and articles by and about the Arab-speaking world. This 12-page booklet is available free if requested along with an order for other titles from the Teaching for Change catalog,

*'Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?' and Other Conversations About Race, Beverly Daniel Tatum. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. In 270 pages, Tatum, a psychologist and a professor at Mount Holyoke College, provides a detailed explanation of racial identity development for people of color and whites. This remarkable book, a road map filled with wisdom and humanity, tells those looking to explore issues of race where to begin.

*Women of Hope. New York. Bread and Roses Cultural Project. A poster and curriculum series on African-American, Native American, Latina, and Asian American women. The posters and study guides provide a powerful tool for challenging stereotypes by teaching about the real history and contemporary reality of extraordinary women of color.

Children's Books/Catalogs

América Is Her Name, by Luis RodrÍguez, illus. by Carlos Vásquez. Simultaneously published in a Spanish edition, La Llaman América, trans. by Tino Villanueva. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone, 1998. These books are the first children's picture books to be published by Curbstone, which has long published quality books by Latin American and Latino authors. The story, by prize-winning poet and journalist RodrÍguez (author of the memoir Always Running), deals with life in urban neighborhoods, but with a positive theme: You can succeed despite odds against you.

*The Birchbark House, Louise Erdrich. Hyperion Books for Children. 1999. Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847. This is the first in a series of young adult novels based on noted author Louise Erdrich's own family history. This book begins to tell the story untold in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie series.

*Dreams of Looking Up, Cindy Goff; art by Paul and Mary Fricke. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. 1999. This educational comic book teaches the meaning and importance of tribal sovereignty. Through the Ojibwe oral tradition, a young girl learns about her people's culture in conversations with her deceased grandmother. She passes on these vital lessons to her skeptical older brother.

From Slave Ship to Freedom Road, Julius Lester, paintings by Rod Brown. New York: Puffin Books, 1998. A beautifully illustrated book that presents the slave experience' from auction block to freedom.

*Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet Book in Spanish and English, Alma Flor Ada and Simón Silva. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books. 1997. In children's poems and sun-drenched paintings, Gathering the Sun takes us into the fields and orchards, and the lives of the people who work them. Using the letters of the Spanish alphabet as a template, Alma Flor Ada has written twenty-eight poems that celebrate honor and pride, family and friends, history and heritage, and, of course, the bounty of the harvest.

*Get Real Comics, Philadelphia: COLLAGE/Tides Center. 1997. Popular culture that helps kids 8-14 rethink issues like gender, sexuality, self-esteem, race, violence, friendship, and family. Award-winning series used in classrooms and community groups nationwide.

Grab Hands and Run, Frances Temple. New York: Harper Trophy. 1992. Set during the civil war in El Salvador, a family flees north to escape the government soldiers. 4th/up.

Home to Medicine Mountain, Chiori Santiago. San Francisco: Children's Book Press, 1998. Based on a true story, this picture book tells the story of how two young members of the Mountain Maidu and Hamawi Pit-River tribes in California escaped from the government-run boarding school and came back home.

I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry,Catherine Clinton, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. A beautiful collection of poetry from 25 of the greatest African-American poets, accompanied by striking colored drawings. Appropriate for all age groups.

* In My Heart, I Am A Dancer, Chamroeun Yin. Philadelphia Folklore Project. 1996. Through photos and large print, traditional Cambodian dancer Chamrouen tells the story of his life. Children learn that not only does he dance, but he also sews, gardens, cooks, spends time with his friends and is a teacher. In My Heart is a model for teaching about cultural traditions. Bilingual English and Cambodian.

*The Long March: A Famine Gift for Ireland, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick and Gary White Deer. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, 1998. Based on a true story of solidarity, this picture book for all ages tells of the Choctaws in 1847 who collected $170 from their meager savings for the people of Ireland during the Potato Famine. Readers learn the story of the Choctaw who were forced by the U.S. government to leave their ancestral home in Mississippi. In the Long March west, thousands died of cold and starvation. The story's protagonist Choona, a young Choctaw, grapples with whether he is willing to extend help to a group of Europeans after the pain his own family has experienced.

Moon Over Crete, Jyotsna Sreenivasan. Holy Cow Press!, 1994. This novel for young adults is about the mixed messages society sends to young girls, and the double standards and sexual discrimination it subjects them to. The story centers on 11-year-old Lily, and her 'travels' back to ancient Crete, an egalitarian culture that did not have gender-specific roles or jobs.

*My Name is Maria Isabel, Alma Flor Ada. Alladin. 1993. For Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn't call her by her real name. Named for her Papa's mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother, Maria must find a way to make her teacher understand that if she loses her name, she's lost an important part of herself.

Passage to Freedom, The Sugihara Story, Ken Mochizuki. New York: Lee and Low Books, 1997. A children's picture book which describes the true story of Hiroki Sugihara, the eldest son of the Japanese diplomat in Lithuania who at great risk to his family helped save hundreds of Jews from the Nazis.

The Pasteboard Bandit, Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes, illustrated by Peggy Turley. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Written 60 years ago by two great African-American poets, this beautifully illustrated children's book depicts a white American boy and a Mexican boy in an intercultural adventure in which both cultures and languages are equal, although the Americans are viewed as the 'strange' ones. Never published before, this is a must for all elementary school libraries.

The Red Comb, by Fernando Pic, illustrated by María Antonia Ordez. Ri Piedras, PR: Ediciones Huracán, 1991. In a story set in Puerto Rico, two women conspire to save a young woman from a slave catcher. Based on historical documents, this beautifully illustrated book brings to children another aspect of the struggle against slavery in the Americas. Spanish version also available.

Richard Wright and the Library Card, by William Miller, illus. by Gregory Christie. New York: Lee & Low Books, 1997. 888-320-3395. A wonderfully illustrated picture book that describes the struggle of the great African-American author Richard Wright's attempt to get access to all-white libraries. Appropriate for all ages and a good way to introduce Wright's works to older students.

Stolen Spirit, Peter Hays and Beti Rozen, illustrated by Graça Lima. Fort Lee, NJ: Sem Fronteiras Press, 2001. One interpretation of how a Native boy might have reacted to the first encounter in 1500 with Portuguese explorers who chop down trees that the boy’s people think are sacred. Beautifully illustrated.

*The Story of Colors/La Historia de los Colores, Sub-comandante Marcos. Cinco Puntos Press. 1999. A beautifully illustrated, bilingual folktale from the indigenous people of Chiapas. This story celebrates diversity as it tells how all the colors of the earth were born.

*The Streets are Free, Kurusa. Annick Press. 1995. An illustrated story based on the experience of children in a low-income neighborhood in Caracas, Venezuela who fought for the right to turn an empty lot into a playground. Useful at all age levels to raise discussion about how people can organize to defend their rights.

Sweet Words So Brave: The Story of African American Literature, Barbara K. Curry and James Michael Brodie. Madison, WI: Zino Press, 1966. Inspired by African-American literature and history, this colorful work reflects the magic of the Harlem Renaissance and the influence of African-American writers.

*Talking Walls: The Stories Continue, Margy B. Knight and Anne S. O'Brien. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House.1996. Illustrations and text tell the stories of walls, and the people they divide, throughout the world. Includes the stories of: Chinese detainees who wrote poetry on the walls of Angel Island, children who write poetry on the fence around the home of Pablo Neruda in Chile, children who created a garden in Philadelphia from an abandoned lot and painted a mural on the surrounding wall, children in Belfast who are divided by a wall constructed by the army in the 1970s, and more.

The Turtle Watchers, Pamela Powell. New York: Puffin Books, 1992. A chapter book set in the Caribbean where three sisters work to protest the killings of the giant leatherback turtle. 4th/up.

*We Can Work It Out: Conflict Resolution for Children, Barbara K. Polland. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press. 2000. An invaluable tool for parents and teachers. Through beautiful color photographs and questions, this book encourages conversations between adults and children about typical conflicts children encounter, such as teasing and sharing. It helps children develop problem-solving skills they need to resolve conflicts independently.

The Well, Mildred Taylor. Dial, 1995. The newest book in Taylor's saga of the Logan family introduced in Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. This story is of the grandfather's childhood, when his family is the only one in the county that has a functional well. Racial tensions erupt between two teenage kids exposing the early 1900s Southern power structure. Highly recommended, 4th grade up.

We Shall Not Be Moved: The Women's Factory Strike of 1909, Joan Dash. New York: Scholastic, 1996. A readable non-fiction account of one of the most important women's strikes in US history. 5th/up.

What Do You Know About Racism, Pete Sanders and Steve Meyers. Copper Beach Books, 1995. A children's book from England that directly addresses racism with clear definitions and realistic comic strips. Grade 4 and up.

Audio/Visual Resources

(The prices below are current as of Spring 2001, and in most instances apply only to individual purchasers from the Teaching for Change catalog, Institutional purchasers should contact the distributors, if listed.)

*Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation, by Puhipau and Joan Lander. 1993, 60 min., $65. Comprehensive documentary on the events surrounding the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 from the perspective of Native Hawaiians. Act of War explores colonialism and the conquest of a Pacific Island nation by western missionaries and capitalists.

*The Ad and the Ego, by Harold Boihem and Chris Emmanouilides; California Newsreel(, 1996, $70. This is the best video-critique of the social and ecological effects of advertising. Blending MTV-style editing with brilliant narration, The Ad and the Ego can be a real awareness-raiser for many high school students.

*Ancient Futures: Learning from the Ladakh, based on the book by Helena Norberg-Hodge. Produced by John Page with International Society for Ecology and Culture. 1993, 60 min.,$25. Through the story of Ladakh, a Himalayan region in India, this video enables students to confront the devastating impact of 'development.' They see the root causes of environmental, social and psychological problems that arise when a traditional society is invaded by Western investment, culture, and consumer goods. This is an extraordinarily useful film that uses one case study to consider some of the intimate meanings of 'globalization.'

*Arms for the Poor, Maryknoll. 1998, 25 min. $20. This video presents an international spectrum of dignitaries and activists who share the belief of one Nobel Laureate that, 'The poor are crying out for schools and doctors, not guns and generals.' Through interviews and footage of the impact of massive amounts of weapons throughout the world, students learn who benefits and who loses from the military-industrial complex.

*At the River I Stand, California Newsreel. 1993, 56 min. $50. Martin Luther King saw in Memphis an opportunity to use nonviolence to challenge the economic power structure of the North and South. At the River I Stand documents Memphis' black community support for a path-breaking strike by 1300 city sanitation workers for a living wage. This film joins together many critical issues: violent vs. nonviolent struggle, white privilege vs. black poverty, and grassroots mobilization vs. national politics.

*Banking on Life and Debt, narrated by Martin Sheen, Maryknoll World Productions. 1995. $20.More than 90% of the world's population lives in countries directly affected by World Bank and International Monetary Fund policies. This video takes students to Brazil, Ghana, and the Philippines to see the results of these policies. A valuable resource for classes in economics, global studies, and U.S. government. 30minutes. (A longer version, The Moneylenders, is also available.)

*Barefoot Gen, (DVD format; video out of print), 1983, 83 min $24.99. Chronicles the devastating impact of the bombing of Hiroshima as experienced by a family in Japan. A stylistically close adaptation of Keiji Nakazawa's graphic autobiographical novel, this animation brings home the horrors of the war and the strength of people who survived.

*Bus Riders Union, by Haskell Wexler. Strategy Center (213-387-2800, 2000, 86 min., $30. Video documentary tracing three years of the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union, one of the nation's most dynamic social movements formed to fight transit racism, clean up L.A.'s lethal auto pollution, and win billion dollar victories for real mass transit. Bus Riders Union is a rare mix of fine filmmaking, astute political awareness, and a complex portrayal of a multiracial grassroots movement that is taking on some of the most powerful forces in Los Angeles ' and winning.

*Business of Hunger, Maryknoll. 1984, 28 min., $20. In many countries, crops are exported while the poor go hungry. This phenomenon, one of the major causes of world hunger, is examined in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and North America. The film proposes a more just distribution of the earth's resources offering a vision of a world where all have enough to eat.

Civil Rights: The Long Road to Equality, The Duncan Group, AGC/United Learning, 1999. 800-323-9084. $95.The Civil Rights Movement: The Role of Youth in the Struggle is the first video in this helpful two-video set. The second video, Overcoming Racism, has middle- and high-school youth reflecting on their own racial identity and discrimination. The producers are aware of the limitations of any short video on such a complex subject. Upper elementary through high school.

*Earth and the American Dream, by Bill Couturie. Direct Cinema Limited, 1993; $95 (individual or institution). This extraordinary 77-minute film examines U.S. history from the standpoint of the earth. Beginning with Columbus, it effectively blends contrasting quotes from Native Americans and European 'settlers' with images of the environmental consequences of these ideas. We've never seen a film that does this so powerfully. A vital classroom resource.

Freedom On My Mind, by Connie Field and Marilyn Mulford. Clarity Educational Productions,800-343-5540, $69.95 for high schools and public libraries. Others inquire. A mesmerizing 115-minute video that puts the Civil Rights Movement into the context of the daily lives of Mississippians and of Black and white activists. What distinguishes this documentary is its willingness to delve into complicated issues. Activists discuss the joys of struggle and the community it creates, as well as the implications of difficult decisions like the one to bring white northerners down to Mississippi to increase media and government attention.

*Freedom Song, starring Danny Glover. Directed by Phil Alden Robinson. 2000,150 min., $20. Inspired by accounts of the women and men on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement, Freedom Song chronicles a family nearly torn apart by the struggles of a nation and the impact of the movement on a small Mississippi town. In documenting the complexity and effect of the movement on the volunteers, their families, and their community, Freedom Song places heroism squarely on the shoulders of the local people ' the unsung volunteers who risked their lives to make change at the grassroots level. Effective for young people as the story is seen through the eyes of a grade school student.

Gay Lives & Culture Wars, produced by Elaine Velazquez and Barbara Bernstein. Democracy Media, P.O. Box 82777, Portland, OR 97282; 503-452-6500. $20, plus $2.50 s+h for individuals. $50, plus $2.50 s+h for institutions. A powerful 27-minute video that looks at the relationships between gay and lesbian youth and their families against the backdrop of the intolerance of the religious right.

*Global Village or Global Pillage? How People Around the World are Challenging Corporate Globalization, by Jeremy Brecher with Tim Costello and Brendan Smith. 1999,28 min., $25. This documentary explores the impacts of globalization on communities, workplaces, and environments. Narrated by Ed Asner,Global Village weaves together video of interviews, music, and comics to show that, through grassroots organizing and international solidarity, ordinary people can empower themselves to deal with the global economy.

*It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School, by Debra Chasnoff and Helen Cohen. New Day Films, 888-367-9154.1997. This video provides a window into what really happens when teachers address lesbian and gay issues with their students in age-appropriate ways. It shows how addressing anti-gay prejudice is connected to preventing violence, supporting families and promoting social equality.

*Off the Track: Classroom Privilege for All, by Michelle Fine, et al. New York: Teachers College Press, 1998,$50. This 30 minute video takes the viewer into a World Literature classroom where all the students ' lower income, middle class, and affluent; white, African American, Asian-American, and Latino; girls and boys; those automatically 'advanced' and those who have been labeled in need of 'special education' ' receive and produce high quality education. Useful for staff development.

*Regret to Inform, by Barbara Sonneborn. Sun Fountain Productions. 1999, 72 min., & teacher's guide by Bill Bigelow, $25. This beautifully filmed Oscar-nominated documentary follows director Barbara Sonneborn as she travels to Vietnam to the site of her husband's wartime death. Woven into her personal odyssey are interviews with American and Vietnamese widows who speak openly and profoundly about the men they loved and how war changed their lives forever. Regret to Inform is ideal for classes taking a critical look at the Vietnam War.

*Rethinking Columbus Slide Show, by Bill Bigelow. NECA. $70. Slides and script provide a critique of the story of the 'discovery of America' as it is told in most children's literature and textbooks. Ideal for workshops for teachers or students on critiquing bias.

*Scarves of Many Colors: Muslim Women and the Veil. Audiotape by Joan Bohorfoush and Diana Dickerson. Curriculum by Bill Bigelow, Sandra Childs, Norm Diamond, Diana Dickerson, and Jan Haaken. 2000, audiotape 24 min., curriculum 54 pp., $10.This award-winning audiotape and curriculum engage students in thinking critically about stereotypes of 'covered' Islamic women. The audiotape introduces a range of U.S. and Middle Eastern women who tell stories and offer insight. The curriculum offers four classroom-tested lessons, including an excellent role play/tribunal on 'Women and the Veil,' with accompanying student handouts. A lively addition to any Global Studies, psychology, sociology, women's studies, world history, or teacher education curriculum.

The Shadow of Hate: A History of Intolerance in America, by Charles Guggenheim. Order Dept., Teaching Tolerance, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104. $25, free to middle and high school principals and college history department chairs upon written request. A teaching kit that details the legacy of prejudice toward ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants and other groups. The kit includes a 40-minute video, teacher's guide, and a student handbook. While the video has technical shortcomings, the teacher's guides and student handbook are excellent.

*Some Mother's Son, 1995, 112 min., $20. From start to finish, students are riveted by this poignant dramatization of the hunger strikes initiated by imprisoned Irish Republican Army members in 1981. Based on true events, it explores the struggle in Northern Ireland from the standpoint of two mothers of IRA prisoners ' each of whom responds very differently to her son's political involvement and incarceration. Although this film was unfairly slapped with an R rating for some harsh language and violence, this should not deter teachers who want to expose students to the complexities of the Irish 'Troubles'.

*Sweating for a T-Shirt, Medea Benjamin. 1999, Global Exchange, 24 min., $25. An excellent classroom resource. Arlen Benjamin decides to travel to Honduras with her mother, activist/writer Medea Benjamin, to find out the conditions of workers who make t-shirts and sweatshirts for college students such as herself. Her narration deftly responds to a number of the myths about life in poor countries and we meet several women workers, who share powerful descriptions about their living and working conditions.

*Trinkets and Beads by Christopher Walker. First Run/Icarus, 1996. This powerful52 minute video examines the impact of oil 'development' in the rainforests of eastern Ecuador. Unforgettable images weave in and out of interviews with Huaorani Indians, oil company officials, and missionaries. The video has been used successfully with middle and high school students throughout the country. Accompanying teaching guide to Trinkets and Beads, by Bill Bigelow, available from

*Viva La Causa! 500 Years of Chicano History, by the South West Organizing Project and Collision Course Video Productions, South West Organizing Project, 211 10th Street S.W., Albuquerque, NM 87102. 505-247-8832; fax 505-247-9972. $112.50, includes s&h. A multicultural kit that includes the 238 page bilingual book 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, the two-part video Viva La Causa! 500 Years of Chicano History, and a teacher's guide for elementary and secondary schools. The kit spans pre-Colombian times to the present, focusing on ancient Mexican societies, Spanish colonization, the U.S. War against Mexico and the resistance to U.S. colonization, and other significant events in Chicano history.

*Zoned for Slavery/The Child Behind the Label, National Labor Committee, 1995, $20. This 23-minute video looks at the exploitation of children and teenagers working in factories in Central America that make clothes for U.S. companies such as the GAP, Eddie Bauer, JC Penney and WalMart. Some of the young workers earn only 12 cents to make a shirt that retails for over$20. The video works with students as young as 5th grade but is also excellent for high school students.


Asian American Curriculum Projects; 83 W. 37th Ave., San Mateo, CA 94403. 800-874-2242; fax: (650)357-6908.e-mail: An extensive catalog of resources and services that underscore the importance and diversity of the Asian-American experience. Books for students of all ages.

Center For Media Literacy. 4727 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 403, Los Angeles, CA 90010. 800-226-9494;fax: 213-931-4474. e-mail; A catalog that offers educators and parents a means of evaluating, understanding, and challenging our media culture. It contains literacy workshop kits, videos, books, guides and other resources designed to help parents and teachers through the media maze.

The National Women's History Project catalog; 3343 Industrial Dr., Suite 4, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. (707) 838'6000;fax: (707) 838'0478 e-mail: A non-profit distributor of multicultural, women's history books, CDs, videos, posters, and curricula. The Learning Place page features teaching ideas and info at

Network of Educators on the Americas (NECA) ' see Teaching for Change, below.

Northern Sun Merchandising; 2916 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 55406-2065. 800-258-8579;fax: 612-729-0149. e-mail: A distributor of valuable resources on environmental, gay/lesbian, multicultural and feminist themes. Beautiful, classroom-friendly posters.

Syracuse Cultural Workers; P.O. Box 6367
Syracuse, NY 13217. 315-474-1132; fax (toll-free): 877-265-5399.e-mail: A long-time distributor of multicultural, social justice resources, including the Peace Calendar that should adorn all classrooms.

Teaching for Change catalog; P.O. Box 73038, Washington, D.C. 20056-3038; 800-763-9131, fax:202-238-0109 The most comprehensive catalog of social justice, multicultural teaching resources available. Indispensible.


Adbusters Media Foundation; 1243 West 7th Ave., Vancouver, BC, V6H 1B7, Canada; 604-736-9401;fax: 604-737-6021; e-mail: Adbusters describes itself as 'a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age.' Adbusters publishes a magazine of the same name, sponsors Buy Nothing Day and TV Turnoff Week, produces clever 'uncommercials' and seeks to agitate so that folks 'get mad about corporate disinformation, injustices in the global economy, and any industry that pollutes our physical or mental commons.'

American Federation of Teachers; 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001. 202-879-4400; fax: 202-879-4439. Resources and information from the national teachers union.

The Applied Research Center; 3781 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611. 510-653-3415; fax: 510-653-3427;e-mail: ARC is an important public policy, educational and research institute whose work emphasizes issues of race and social change. Publishes the acclaimed ColorLines Magazine ' see Periodicals.

Center for Law and Education, 515 Washington Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02111. (617) 451-0855;fax: (617) 451-0857. e-mail: See especially News Notes, the Center's newsletter for up-to-date information on vocational education legislation.

Children's Defense Fund; 25 E. Street NW, Washington, DC 20001. (202) 628-8787; fax:202-662-3510. e-mail: This Web site offers a great deal of information about the CDF and its positions on critical issues affecting children, especially minorities and the disabled. Also includes position papers and background materials on many topics, and a host of links to other resources on the Web.

Corporate Watch; PO Box 29344 San Francisco, CA 94129. tel: 415-561-6568; fax:415-561-6493. e-mail: A must-visit site for activists who want to keep tabs on the behavior of corporations. Lots of timely news and impressive archives of past corporate misdeeds.

Defence for Children International ' North American Affiliate, Sycamore Drive, Burlington, Ontario L7M 1H2, Canada, 905-336-7898;fax 905-319-0615. e-mail: Defence for Children international (DCI) is an independent non-governmental organisation set up during the International Year of the Child(1979) to ensure on-going, practical, systematic and concerted international action specially directed towards promoting and protecting the rights of the child.

Designs for Change, 220 S. State St., Suite 1900, Chicago, IL 60604. 312-922-0317;fax: 312-857-9299. e-mail: Detailed reports on Chicago's site-based reform, the country's most ambitious governance reform. Materials for parents, teachers.

Economic Policy Institute
The mission of the Economic Policy Institute is to provide high-quality research and education in order to promote a prosperous, fair, and sustainable economy. The Institute stresses real world analysis and a concern for the living standards of working people, and it makes its findings accessible to the general public, the media, and policy makers.

Electronic Policy Network; L Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20036. 202-775-8810; fax: 202-775-0819. A very extensive site dedicated to "providing you with timely information and leading ideas about national policy and politics." Loaded with links to progressive organizations dealing with a wide variety of social issues. Also includes Idea Central, EPN's online magazine.

Facing History and Ourselves; 16 Hurd Road, Brookline, MA 02146. 617-232-1595; fax: 617-232-0281.An education project that targets hatred, prejudice, racism, and indifference by focusing on teaching students about the Holocaust. Resources, workshops, and newsletter.

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting; 130 W. 25th Street, New York, NY 10001. 212-633-6700; fax: 212-727-7668;e-mail: FAIR is a national media watch group that has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986.FAIR publishes the indispensable Extra!, an award-winning magazine of media criticism, and regular updates, available via their listserv. FAIR also produces a weekly radio program, CounterSpin. An excellent source to get students thinking critically about media coverage of world events.

Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy; 398 60th Street, Oakland, CA 94618. tel: 510-654-4400; fax:510-654-4551; e-mail: Since its founding in 1975, Food First has published some of the most useful books on food and hunger issues. Through their publications and activism they continue to offer leadership to the struggle for reforming the global food system from the bottom up. Their catalog is on-line at their Web site.

Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educators Network (GLSEN); 212-727-0135; e-mail: GLSEN is the leading national organization fighting to end anti-gay bias in K-12 schools. The organization offers many useful resources. The GLSEN-initiated student organizing project provides support to young people as they 'form and lead gay-straight alliances' helping them to change their own school environments from the inside out.'

Global Exchange; 2017 Mission Street #303, San Francisco, California 94110; 415-255-7296; fax 415- 255-7498; e-mail: