We at TAG National contribute to the movement for Black Lives by providing resources for educators who, like ourselves, reject the ideology of disposable Black bodies. The Black Lives Matter movement is in its essence about countering the historic, systemic and ongoing dehumanization of Black people. We most vividly see this dehumanization in the literal discarding of Black bodies via state-sanctioned murder, as in the instances of Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Tarika Wilson, and Tamir Rice, to name just a very few. But other contexts for the unmattering of Black people exist, including—for example—the poisoned water in Flint, policies like Stop and Frisk that contribute to mass incarceration, and predatory lending followed by mass evictions and foreclosures.
TAG National sees schools as another of these contexts—a key site of the dehumanization Black lives. This is our lane and we have something to offer the movement for Black Lives in the context of schools. We salute organizations and coalitions that are putting their freedom (and therefore their lives) on the line through their direct action work. While we certainly have individuals within our member organizations involved with this direct action, we as a network of education justice organizations feel most suited and well-positioned to offer fellow educators and organizers resources for working with young people to understand and confront the mattering of Black lives. In this vein, we present curricula from our member organizations that provide text and context for dialogue and analysis about the humanizing center of the movement.
We urge folks who would like to use the resources to consider and understand that more important than any particular lesson, text, or activity is how we be with young people. One must fundamentally live Black Lives Matter to teach that Black lives matter.
NYCoRE’s 6th Annual Conference
James Baldwin School
351 West 18th Street, Manhattan, NY 10011
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Bettina Love featuring Justis Lopez
Follow NYCoREConference on Instagram for updates
Free Minds, Free People
A national gathering on education justice
Check out photos from the 2015 Free Minds, Free People Conference in Oakland!
The Network of Teacher Activist Groups (TAG), a national coalition of grassroots teacher organizing groups, stands with the teachers of Garfield High School (Seattle, WA) in their collective refusal to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test to their students. Their decision is admirable and inspiring because it sends the powerful message that educators will not sit idly as their students are forced to take a barrage of tests that are a deeply flawed tool for assessing student development, and take away from already limited time and resources for teaching and learning.
To TAG, education is essential to the preservation of civil and human rights and is a tool of human liberation. For us, testing, and more precisely, the reliance on standardized tests as the single measure of student, teacher, and school progress and performance (high stakes testing), is a cornerstone of a national corporate school reform agenda that emphasizes punitive accountability practices at the expense of fostering critical thinking and creativity amongst all students and communities. High stakes testing only further entrenches preexisting racial and economic inequalities and forces educators to comply. High stakes testing is also a key profit making tool that benefits testing companies and other private interests rather than enriching the quality of education all students deserve. The courage of Garfield teachers is so important because it is a direct challenge to the very troubling direction that this corporate model of schooling is taking our schools and our society.
Instead of the tyranny of high stakes testing, TAG stands behind the idea that curricula and pedagogy must be culturally relevant and promote creative, critical and challenging education. We call for ending the reliance on standardized tests as the single measure of student and school progress and performance. Instead, we call for the creation of assessments that identify school and student needs in order to strengthen, not punish, schools. Comprehensive assessment should include work sampling and performance-based assessment and should be an outgrowth of student-centered curriculum and instruction.
We invite supporters of the boycott to stay informed about what is happening at Garfield and to try to help in whatever capacities they can. Two things we can do are: join the Solidarity with Garfield HS facebook page and sign the online petition in support of the boycott.
As Professor of Education, and Garfield High School Alum, Wayne Au noted, “[h]aving all of the teachers at a school decide to support a boycott of a high-stakes, standardized test is a rare and beautiful thing.” Garfield has lit a flame that we must all carry with us in our respective communities.
Teacher Activist Groups
Association of Raza Educators: San Diego/Oakland
Education for Liberation Network: National
Educators’ Network for Social Justice (ENSJ): Milwaukee
Metro Atlantans for Public Schools (MAPS)
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE)
Rethinking Schools (RS)
Teacher Action Group (TAG): Philadelphia
Teacher Activist Group (TAG): Boston
Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ): Chicago
Teachers for Social Justice (T4SJ): San Francisco
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17TH, 10AM – 5 PM
Please note the change of location:
KENWOOD HIGH SCHOOL
5015 S. BLACKSTONE
Workshops, curriculum exhibits, resources, keynote program, books, and organizing for elected school board and to stop school closings.
Co-sponsored by Chicago Teachers Union and Rethinking Schools
PLEASE PRE-REGISTER: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEhNZlFfdDNFMzY5c2ltQWpGSTRhVlE6MQ#gid=2
For further info: www.teachersforjustice.org
This is the 12th annual Teaching for Social Justice Curriculum Fair, a one-day conference attended by around 800 teachers, youth, and community members from across Chicago. Teachers for Social Justice is a 15 year-old grassroots organization of k-12 teachers, pre-service teachers, and other educators and community members. We have come together based on our commitment to education for social justice. We are working toward classrooms and schools that are anti-racist, multicultural / multilingual, and grounded in the experiences of our students. We believe that all children should have an academically rigorous education that is both caring and critical, an education that helps students pose critical questions about society and “talk back” to the world. We share ideas and curriculum, and support each other in our work. We are also an activist organization, working to get the voices of educators and parents into school policies and to improve education for all students, particularly in Chicago Public Schools.
From Rico on the ground with TSJ…
We won so much more than a contract!
In this strike, so much more was won than a contract. After 17 punishing years of corporate, neoliberal policies, Chicago teachers stood up, and they stood up for the whole country. This courageous strike was born of a new kind of teacher unionism – democratic, activist, allied with parents, and fighting not only for fair compensation but for a richer, more humane and just education. What has been accomplished in Chicago in the last few weeks has reverberated nationally. It powerfully demonstrated an alternative to business unionism and the whole corporate education agenda. There are new solidarities, forged on picket lines, among teachers and between teachers and students, parents, and community members. Through this strike, teachers have emerged as activists and organizers, and there is a deeper consciousness about the system we are confronting. We have felt a new sense of our power to shift the education agenda. These gains are deeper and more enduring than any contract provisions. We are so much stronger due to the strength and unity of the CTU and the outpouring of public support.
We will need our new strength and unity for the battles ahead. Rahm plans to close 100-200 schools, expand charters to half the district, and essentially dismantle public education in African American communities, ushering in a new education apartheid, causing massive devastation to these neighborhoods. If this plan succeeds, there will be few African American teachers and a much smaller CTU. The confrontation in front of us may be decisive for public education in Chicago.
Deep respect to all the TSJers who picketed, marched and rallied, organized flyering in communities, talked to their friends and family, and organized community meetings. Looking ahead, we will take a minute to reflect on the lessons of the past couple weeks and continue strengthening our teacher-community alliance to prepare for the next battle.
Teachers for Social Justice (Chicago)