Table of Contents

    Issue Theme
  • Free The Big One

    Teaching about climate change

    By Bill Bigelow

    The environmental crisis requires a profound social and curricular rethinking.

  • Cover Story
  • Free A Pedagogy for Ecology

    By Ann Pelo

    Helping students build an ecological identity and a conscious connection to place opens them to a broader bond with the earth.

  • The Wonder of Nature

    By Bob Peterson

    A review of The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, The Sense of Wonder, and A Sand County Almanac.

  • Rethinking Lunchtime

    Making lunch an integral part of education

    By Michael Stone

    Lunch is too important to be thought of as the ritual pit stop between classroom and playground.

  • Educating Heather

    First-person narratives bring climate change closer to home

    By Lauren G. McClanahan

    First-person narratives about climate change bridge the gap for students between theory and reality.

  • Teachable Moments Not Just for Kids

    By Susan Naimark

    When parents avoid connecting, they model for children how not to talk about race and racism.

  • Beat It! Defeat It! Racist Cookies

    Promoting activism in teacher education

    By Bree Picower

    How racist cookies spurred a teacher and her education students to take action.

  • "Bait and Switch"

    New report pushes voucher fans to fast-talk around problems

    By Barbara Miner

    Voucher advocates are fast-talking their way around a new report that cast doubts on the value of the program.

  • America's Army Invades Our Classrooms

    The military’s stealth recruitment of children

    The Army's new high-tech strategy for winning recruits.

  • Teaching for Joy and Justice

    By Linda Christensen

    An excerpt from Christensen's new book, Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-imagining the Language Arts Classroom.

  • Boycott!

    Los Angeles Teachers Say NO to More Testing

    By Sarah Knopp

    Los Angeles teachers take on LAUSD's mandated tests.

  • Free Connected to the Community

    An effective model for preparing and retaining teachers

    By Marianne Smith, Jan Osborn

    A look inside I-Teach, an effective model for preparing and retaining teachers.

  • Izzit Capitalist Propaganda?

    By Julie Knutson

    DVDs from follow a familiar free-market script.

  • "It Was So Much Fun! I Died of Massive Blood Loss!"

    The problem with Civil War reenactments for children

    By Karen Park Koenig

    A mock battle highlights the line between role-playing and re-enactment.

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Teachable Moments Not Just for Kids

Teachable Moments Not Just for Kids

Teachable moments around racism was the topic of a summer 2008 Rethinking Schools editorial. While relevant curriculum is critical, we don't need to wait for new social studies textbooks to be adopted to identify such teachable moments. A simple look around our schools is an equally compelling starting point.

I recently began writing about my experiences as a white middle-class parent whose white children went through the Boston Public Schools. In my sons' elementary school, the parent organization was over half white?in a school where 85 percent of the students were children of color. This imbalanced parent involvement was too often interpreted as "those other parents just don't care about their kids' education." As I got to know some of the parents who did not come to our meetings, I heard a different story. And as I met parents from other schools through my citywide parent organizing work, I found these stories to be recurring themes. Stories about working two and three jobs, not having reliable transportation, not speaking English adequately to feel comfortable communicating with school staff. While these barriers to participation are not unique to parents of color, I also learned how many parents of color had their own hostile childhood schooling experiences holding them back.

When I talked with parents who faced these obstacles, they expressed as much concern about their children's education as the parents who came to our parent meetings. The confluence of racism and poverty created a host of obstacles to their involvement in our school.

That was 15 years ago.

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