Spring 2014

Table of Contents

Education Uprising

From the Editors

Meet the New Rebels Taking Back Our Public Schools

For decades the myth of failing public schools justified industrial-scale testing and a privatization agenda. Now radical educators are bursting the bubble test, getting culturally relevant, and restoring justice to the classroom.

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Classroom photo by hxdbzxy/Shutterstock

The Myth Behind Public School Failure

In the rush to privatize the country’s schools, corporations and politicians have decimated school budgets, replaced teaching with standardized testing, and placed the blame on teachers and students.
Dean Paton
Sunflower photo by Vitalinka/Shutterstock

You Can’t Bounce Off the Walls If There Are No Walls: Outdoor Schools Make Kids Happier—and Smarter

New approaches to kindergarten offer us a glimpse of what childhood used to be, and still could be—the modern re-creation of the children’s garden. If we looked to these examples, we might be able to rescue childhood.
David T. Sobel, M. Ed.
Fania Davis with students from Ralph Bunche High School

Discipline With Dignity: Oakland Classrooms Try Healing Instead of Punishment

As executive director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, Fania Davis sees programs like hers as part of the way to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
Fania Davis
Garfield High photo by Betty Udesen

These Seattle Teachers Boycotted Standardized Testing—and Sparked a Nationwide Movement

Parents, students, and teachers all over the country have joined the revolt to liberate our kids from a test-obsessed education system.
Diane Brooks
Coal Train image by Tancha/Shutterstock

This Is What Happened When Scholastic Tried to Bring Pro-Coal Propaganda to School

“The United States of Energy” was a colorful series of lessons on the advantages of coal, aimed at 4th-graders—and sponsored by Big Coal. Here’s how educators and activists worked together to get it out of classrooms.
Bill Bigelow
Why Corporations Want Our Public Schools
Just the Facts

Why Corporations Want Our Public Schools

There are huge profits to be made in privatization, and much of it will come from teacher pay.
Doug Pibel & Tracy Matsue Loeffelholz

10 Things Creative People Know

Everyday creative activities like knitting and cooking can boost your levels of serotonin and decrease anxiety.
Charlie Murphy & Peggy Taylor
Save Texas Schools photo from DianeRavitch.com

Proponent of Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind Law: “I Was Wrong”

In her new book, Diane Ravitch—one of the leading thinkers behind the controversial Bush-era law—explores how the faulty logic of high-stakes testing, charter school expansion, and privatization hinders education.
Scott Nine
Boy Hugging Mother photo by Studio 1One/Shutterstock

Unleashing Empathy: How Teachers Transform Classrooms With Emotional Learning

The secret to learning self-awareness, cooperation, and other “social and emotional learning” skills lies in experience, not in workbooks and rote classroom exercises.
Lennon Flowers

Protecting Classrooms From Corporate Takeover: What Families Can Learn from Teachers’ Unions

Teachers are fighting the privatization wave by connecting with families right where they live.
Amy B. Dean

When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won

Curtis Acosta's classes in Mexican American Studies gave kids pride in their heritage—until the Arizona Legislature canceled them. That's when his students became activists, and some real-life lessons began.
Jing Fong

Solutions We Love

Explore Section
YES! Illustrations by Julie Notarianni

A Passion for Peppers: The Movement to Save New Mexico’s Treasured Chiles

New Mexico's traditional landrace chile varieties have adapted to hot days, cold nights, and long dry spells. But can they survive modern agribusiness?
Nina Bunker Ruiz

Legalization is a Human Rights Issue: Latin America Steps Up Resolve to End the Drug Wars

On the heels of pot legalization in Washington and Colorado, the movement for less punitive drug policy is coalescing at every level. Its new leaders could come from the very countries that have suffered the most.
Wendy Call
Olivia Bouler
People We Love

This Fifth-Grader Raised $200,000 to Clean Up the Gulf Oil Spill by Selling Watercolors

These three young activists found creative ways to tackle issues from climate change to voting rights.
Christine St. Pierre & Miles Becker
Man in Jar photo by Ollyy/Shutterstock

Remember When We Toppled SOPA/PIPA in Just 24 Hours? How the People Can Still Win on Net Neutrality

When it comes to limiting digital rights, big companies are in cahoots with governments like never before. But the belief that everyone deserves safe, affordable, and private access to the Internet is taking off.
Hannah Sassaman & Josh Levy

Culture Shift

Explore Section

5 DIY Musical Instruments You Can Make From Stuff Around the House

Craft instruments from easy-to-find materials and invite more music into your family's life.
Christine St. Pierre & Miles Becker
March Book Cover

John Lewis’ Moving Graphic Novel Brings the Civil Rights Struggle to a New Generation

In the tradition of “Maus” and “Persepolis,” “March” tells the story of young African Americans who, like its author, rose up from the Jim Crow South to assert their human rights.
Valerie Schloredt
Dollars photo from Shutterstock

When Big Money Controls Big Media, There’s a Big Decline in Democracy

“Dollarocracy” examines innovations in other democratic nations to solve our money-in-politics crisis.
David Kortava
Dan Mason

Why Politics at the Dinner Table Is Good for Democracy

Our political process, Robert Jensen reminds us, begins with conversation.
Andy Lee Roth
Image of DVD cover

Nothing to Hide? Why Facebook’s Fine Print Is Still Worth Fighting

Devices we use every day are turning our personal data over to huge corporations. But can we win our privacy back?
Erin Sagen