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Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference get-together


Dear friends,

Please consider submitting a workshop proposal for the 2010 NW Conference on Teaching for Social Justice. The conference is October 2. Workshop proposals are due June 30. The RFP (Request For Proposal) can found on our website website, http://www.nwtsj.org. It can be mailed or emailed.

Because we know that writing workshop proposals can be difficult, Portland Area Rethinking Schools committee members have set up a time to help you write the proposal or narrow your topic or choose which workshop you might want to submit.

Date: June 15, Tuesday
Time: 4:00 -5:30
Place: Jefferson High School, room C-4 
Note: Enter on the lower level near the parking lot.

Linda Christensen's cell phone is: 503-502-4379 in case you get confused.

We are looking for teachers, teacher educators, and community activists to present curriculum, information, and resources at our 2010 conference. The workshops will last 1 and a half hours.

Successful workshops will:

Express a social justice perspective
Be hands on and practical
Give participants a chance to talk to one another
We are looking for workshops that balance content and process, where
participants can learn something new and have a chance to discuss & reflect
upon their own experiences and practices.

And if you don't need help, just send in your proposal by June 30.

Linda Christensen

NW Teaching for Social Justice Conf. -- propose a workshop


 Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

As many of you know, the 3rd annual Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference will be held in Portland next October 2. As with our two previous conferences in Seattle and Olympia, we'll have lots of great workshops from educators around the region and displays from social justice organizations. We're delighted that Sonia Nieto will be keynoting. 

I hope that you'll consider proposing a workshop for the conference. Go to our website -- www.nwtsj.org -- for examples of past workshops and to download a proposal to offer a workshop -- click on "Workshop Proposal App." Or use the attached form. Deadline for proposals is June 30.

And, of course, you can also register to attend the conference at www.nwtsj.org.

The conference will be hosted by Portland Area Rethinking Schools, and is sponsored by PARS along Puget Sound Rethinking Schools, Olympia Educators for Social Justice, and Coalition X in Tacoma. Rethinking Schools magazine is a co-sponsor.


Bill Bigelow
for the Portland Area Rethinking Schools steering committee

"The People Speak" Portland Screening: One Night - April 20


You are invited to a special screening of THE PEOPLE SPEAK, the documentary feature film produced by Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn, about the radical traditions that have forged U.S. history.

Narrated by the late, acclaimed historian Howard Zinn, and based on his best selling books, A People's HIstory of the United States and, with Anthony Arnove, Voices of A People's HistoryTHE PEOPLE SPEAK (http://www.thepeoplespeak.com), uses dramatic musical performances of the letters, diaries and speeches of everyday Americans who fought for equality and justice from the bottom up. 

This film, which includes 20 minutes of never-before aired footage, is co-directed by Moore, Arnove and Zinn and features dramatic and musical performances by Allison Moorer, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Robinson, Christina Kirk, Danny Glover, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, David Strathairn, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Harris Yulin, Jasmine Guy, John Legend, Josh Brolin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Lupe Fiasco, Marisa Tomei, Martín Espada, Matt Damon, Michael Ealy, Mike O'Malley, Morgan Freeman, P!nk, Q'orianka Kilcher, Reg E. Cathey, Rich Robinson, Rosario Dawson, Sandra Oh, Sean Penn, Staceyann Chin, and Viggo Mortensen.

The Los Angeles Times called THE PEOPLE SPEAK "striking, exhilarating...the performances are thrilling" and The Boston Globe said: "The documentary...works beautifully. Each passionate reading flows out of the previous one."

Watch the trailer here:  


Date: Tuesday, April 20th

Time: 7pm

Place: Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR

Ticket Information: $6 at the door ($10 solidarity price)

Local contact information: pdxiso@gmail.com


Screenings of THE PEOPLE SPEAK will be taking place across the country in April. For information on other screenings, please visit  www.socialistworker.org

Sponsored by the International Socialist Organization

publisher of Socialist Worker newspaper



New Rethinking Schools jam-packed: Howard Zinn, Teach for America, Obama's Ed Policy


Dear Friends of Rethinking Schools,

The spring issue of Rethinking Schools is packed with exciting, timely articles:

Special Cover Section: Honoring Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn will be remembered as the historian who transformed the way we think about and teach U.S. history. He was also a brilliant teacher, a passionate activist, and a warm and generous friend. At Rethinking Schools, our relationship with Professor Zinn stretches back to the publication of Rethinking Columbus in 1991.

The spring 2010 issue of Rethinking Schools includes, in addition to a remembrance by Rethinking Schools editor Bill Bigelow, Zinn's last broadcast interview, in which he holds forth on Haiti, persistent silences in the curriculum, and early influences in his life—before offering advice to new teachers.

Teach for America

Teach for America, one of the most touted educational reform initiatives in recent years, is critically examined in an in-depth report by investigative journalist Barbara Miner. Also included is an essay by Alex Diamond, a young Teach for America teacher, reflecting on his time with TFA.

Teaching About Haiti
As the devastation wrought by the earthquake fades from the headlines, this is a critical time to re-examine the history and culture of Haiti, and to develop ways to integrate Haiti into our curricula. This featured section includes resources, historical analysis, poetry, and teaching ideas.

Our editorial celebrates recent events in Milwaukee, Wis., where grassroots organizing has stopped what appeared to be an inevitable mayoral takeover of the public schools.

Also in this issue:

School Reform We Can't Believe In
Rethinking Schools editor Stan Karp looks at how education joined healthcare, the economy, and foreign policy as issues where campaign promises of "change" and "hope" have morphed into Washington business as usual—or worse.

"Don't Take Our Voices Away": A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change
Students learn about the impact of climate change on the world's most vulnerable cultures and geographic areas, then share their knowledge as they discuss strategy for saving the planet.

Transsexuals, Teaching Your Children
A middle-school teacher describes how he makes his classroom safe for broad discussions of gender identity and explains why anti-bullying curriculum isn't enough.

Learning About the Unfairgrounds: A 4th-Grade Teacher Introduces Her Students to Executive Order 9066
Literature and a tea party open children's eyes to injustice and the fight for civil rights in the Northwest.

Plus resources, news, and lots more...
Visit www.rethinkingschools.org to download a PDF of the full issue for $4.95. Or call 1-800-669-4192 to subscribe.

Subscribe online to Rethinking Schools for just $19.95 for one year or $29.95 for two years and receive a free PDF of the current issue as a gift. (This free PDF is a special bonus for online credit card subscription orders only.)

Check it out and let us know what you think,

Jody Sokolower
Policy and Production Editor
Rethinking Schools

Portland! National Writing Project Urban Sites Conference, April 23 & 24


 Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools Friends,

After a long absence, we have a “gathering” event. The Oregon Writing Project is hosting the National Writing Project Urban Sites Conference in Portland on April 23rd and 24th.

On Friday, you can visit schools (Jefferson or Boise Eliot), or attend one of two writing marathons (on streetcars with Kim Stafford and Corey Stixrud, or on bikes with Mark Hansen, Portland PARS member). Another PARS member, Heidi Tolentino, will co-lead a writing workshop with Emma Ford on the Japanese American Internment at the Nikkei Center.

Friday Afternoon, Daniel Beaty will perform his play Emergency. Friday night, he will host an open-mic session.

In addition to workshops by PARS members, Bill Bigelow, Tom McKenna, and Linda Christensen, there are 45 workshops on Saturday, all focused on writing, many on media literacy and technology, and social justice.

Patricia Smith, slam poet and National Book Award Finalist, will give the keynote address on Saturday morning.



New Rethinking Schools Online Resource


Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

Below is a letter from Rethinking Schools editor Bob Peterson about a new (and free) online resource from Rethinking Schools.

Please pass it on to friends and colleagues.


Bill Bigelow

Dear Friend of Rethinking Schools,

We're pleased to offer Keeping Quality Teachers Teaching, a special online collection of 17 articles published in Rethinking Schools that attempts to address the difficult issues of teacher recruitment, retention, and quality.

You can download a free PDF of the full collection of articles or view individual articles by visiting our website at www.rethinkingschools.org.

For many years, schools in the United States have faced a teacher shortage, especially in areas such as special education, bilingual education, math and science. This shortage has been exacerbated by an alarming failure on the part of school districts to retain teachers—up to 50 percent of new teachers leave after five years. Moreover, studies have shown an inequitable distribution of veteran and newer teachers within and across districts, often reinforcing other institutional inequities based on race and class.

Addressing this situation is complicated and requires us to confront fundamental problems that face our public schools: inadequate and unequal funding, lack of planning and collaboration time for teachers, large class sizes and difficult working conditions, faulty mentoring and evaluation systems, archaic salary systems, inadequate preservice and in-service professional development, and so on.

We would like to thank the Ford Foundation for financial support in underwriting the research and writing of several of these Keeping Quality Teachers Teaching articles and in the assembly of this special web collection. We encourage you to share this collection with colleagues, parents, legislators, and the media.


Bob Peterson
for the editors of
 Rethinking Schools

Rethinking Schools sale: 25% off all publications


Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

Rethinking Schools is in the midst of a holiday sale: 25% off of all publications -- including subscriptions. Here's a chance to replenish your stock of Rethinking Schools books, give some subscriptions to friends and colleagues -- and support the social justice education movement.

Thanks for your important work and for your support of Rethinking Schools.

Bill Bigelow


Dear friends,

With the holidays approaching, we at Rethinking Schools want to extend a special offer to you: a savings of 25% off all of our publications—including subscriptions to Rethinking Schools magazine. Take advantage of this limited-time offer to purchase resources for friends, family members, or colleagues. Check us out at www.rethinkingschools.org or call toll-free at 800-669-4192. Use this discount code: 5BHL09. Offer expires on December 31, 2009.

And, remember, our subscription rates will be going up after the first of the year, so take this opportunity to subscribe to the most important grassroots education publication in the country: Rethinking Schools magazine. Get a three-year subscription for the price of two. http://www.rethinkingschools.org/orderform/new_subscribe.shtml

Some suggested holiday packages:

We've bundled Linda Christensen's bestseller 
Reading, Writing and Rising Up with her brand new Teaching for Joy and Justice for just $27.95. With our special holiday offer, you can take another 25% off that price. What a great gift for a new—or veteran—teacher.

One of our most popular gift offers is a two-year subscription to Rethinking Schools magazine, bundled with a copy of The New Teacher Book, for just $29.95. With our holiday offer, that comes out to less than $22.50! 

The best two-volume introduction to social justice teaching is still Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice, Vols. 1 and 2. This set is bundled for only $24.95, but this holiday season, you can take 25% off! 

Stocking stuffer:

Our DVD 
Unlearning "Indian" Stereotypes engagingly teaches about racial stereotypes and provides an introduction to Native American history through the eyes of children. Useful for elementary through adult education. Take 25% off the regular price of $19.95. 

And save 25% off other recent Rethinking Schools titles:

Rethinking Early Childhood Education collects inspiring stories about social justice teaching with young children.Foreword Magazine said, "This book is an invaluable resource for educators and policy makers, as well as parents concerned with the early childhood years. An extensive overview of what early childhood education can really accomplish." 

A People's History for the Classroom is filled with exemplary teaching activities that emphasize the roles of working people, women, people of color, and social movements in shaping history. What better time to introduce students to a people's history of our country! 

Order these or any of our other outstanding publications with this special discount code 5BHL09

Order online atwww.rethinkingschools.org or call toll-free: 800-669-4192. This offer expires on December 31, 2009, so take advantage of it now.

With thanks for your support,
Bob Peterson,
Rethinking Schools

Thanks and James Loewen workshop


Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

Thanks to all of you who attended and led workshops at yesterday's 2nd Annual Northwest Teaching for Social Justice conference in Olympia. It was a joyous, thought-provoking, and inspiring gathering -- with over 400 people in attendance and 30 plus workshops throughout the day. Next year's conference will be in Portland and we'll be starting to plan for this later in the fall. This is a collective effort, so we'll be sending out "please join the planning" notices as soon as we catch our breath.

In the meantime, Portland Area Rethinking Schools has endorsed James Loewen's workshop at Lewis and Clark College on Friday, Oct. 16th, 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.: "Teaching What Really Happened." Loewen is author of the valuable book, "Lies My Teacher Told Me," about biases in corporate-produced U.S. History textbooks. It should be a lively and informative event.

For details, please go to the website: http://www.lclark.edu/graduate/programs/continuing_education/news/story/...

Bill Bigelow
for the Portland Area Rethinking Schools steering committee

Reminder: NW Teaching for Social Justice Conference, Saturday


Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

Remember that this Saturday, October 3rd, is the 2nd Annual Northwest Teaching for Social Justice conference: "Rethinking Our Classrooms -- Organizing for Change." Washington Middle School, Olympia, Wash.

All the details are at www.nwtsj.org. Please register in advance.

Extraordinary workshops. Resources for social justice teaching. Inspiration. Networking. And lots more.

Keynoter: Ira Shor, author with Paulo Freire of "A Pedagogy for Liberation."

Sponsored by Olympia Educators for Social Justice, Puget Sound Rethinking Schools, Coalition X (Tacoma), Portland Area Rethinking Schools, and Rethinking Schools magazine.

Directions, a full listing of workshops, conference schedule, and registration information: www.nwtsj.org

I hope you can make it.

Bill Bigelow
for the Portland Area Rethinking Schools steering committee

Northwest Teaching for Social Justice conference/Oct. 3


Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

The 2nd Annual Northwest Teaching for Social Justice conference is Saturday, Oct. 3 in Olympia, Wash. Details at www.nwtsj.org. Come for inspiration, come for new ideas, come for community, come to make a difference in the world. Register now.

Keynote speaker is Ira Shor, who wrote one of the first books on social justice teaching: "Critical Teaching and Everyday Life," and co-authored the excellent "A Pedagogy for Liberation" with Paulo Freire. This is a rare west coast appearance for Ira Shor.

And there will be three sessions of outstanding workshops by educators from around the Northwest. The full listing of workshops is at www.nwtsj.org.

Workshops include:

"A Pedagogy of Ecology: Nurturing Children's Relationship to Place," with Ann Pelo

"Black Student/White School," with Nathan Bowling

"Can't Buy Me Love: Teaching About Clothes, Class, and Consumption," with Linda Christensen

"Right to Math, Right to Water," with Jana Dean and Lorri DeFloor

"Connecting Primary Children to the World," with Katie Johnson

and many, many more.

There will also be a Resource Fair with materials from social justice groups from around the region, and a full display of Rethinking Schools books (at conference discount rates.)


Interested in car-pooling? Have a ride to offer? Contact Bill Bigelow at bbpdx@aol.com.

The NWTSJ conference is sponsored by Olympia Educators for Social Justice, Puget Sound Rethinking Schools, Coalition X (Tacoma), Portland Area Rethinking Schools, and Rethinking Schools magazine.

Portland Area Rethinking Schools has a 30+ year history of working to support public education and progressive reform in the schools. We are teachers, parents, students, community activists and teacher educators who believe excellent and equitable public schools are essential for all students to reach their potential and for the creation of a just and democratic society.