Connect with TSJ

December 27, 2004

Email Us at teachersforjustice(at)


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Get Involved with TSJ!

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Join a Planning Committee

- Art/CultureThe committee responsible for the artistic and cultural efforts of TSJ and for integrating artistic visions into our political visions. This also includes organizing TSJ volunteers to learn to create art together for fundraising, actions & events.

- Communications/Tech/PR
The committee responsible for the TSJ's web presence and documentation--TSJ website, facebook pages, Twitter, listserv, etc. This group will also be called on to support outreach and PR efforts and connecting to other media outlets.

- Popular Education
This committee is about public education for the public, usually in the form of community events, movie nights, study groups, community workshops, etc.

- Activism
This committee does work including liasons with CTU Community Board, testify at hearings, being present at school board meetings, actions, community events & other organizing endeavors.

- Teacher Support and Solidarity

The Teachers Committee is about supporting classroom teachers & issues, making sure teacher voices are heard and present in TSJ organizing and facilitating teacher organizing.

Sustain the Educator Solidarity Network
- Tell your stories through this website, write for TSJ. This can include anything relevant from the local, national & international. Explore stories of your classroom, school, neighborhood. What do you think about education policies, diversity, human rights?
- Join the Education for Liberation Network's Ning Site and host your own blog, invite other educators to share in the discussions.

Share Resources & Curriculum
- Each year dozens of teachers create curriculum & resources and share them at our Teaching for Social Justice Curriculum Fair. It doesn't have to stop there- feel free to connect with TSJ teachers on collaborative projects.
- Email us your favorite research findings, articles, and reports.

Build Community
- We all need support. Talk to us about throwing a movie night or happy hour for educators. Host a dinner & discussion. Share events with us to put on the Calendar!

Study with Teachers for Social Justice
- Teachers for Social Justice are life-long learners. Join one of TSJ's ItAG study groups to learn from other teachers and explore areas you're interested in.
- Help organize an educational event.

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Resources & Organizations

Educator Organizations:

Online Forums:
    Coming soon.

    Our Network:
    • Kuumba Lynx Youth Arts Organization (presented Half Pint Poetics at this year's Fair)
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      December 13, 2004 0 comments

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      Social Justice Education Resources

      September 12, 2004


      Curricula/Project Resources:
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      TSJ History

      September 7, 2004

      October 5, 2004
      Rally & Open Fourm to Save Senn High School from becoming a Military Naval Academy
      Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave, Chicago
      6:30 pm Rally (arrive early), 7 - 9 pm Open Forum

      August 25, 2004
      Camp C.A.R.E

      November 15, 2003
      Annual Curriculum Fair
      Held at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago - What a success!

      July 19 and August 16, 2003
      Racial Justice Curriculum Forums
      Chicago area educators and leaders of youth organizations gathered to share, create and develop racial justice curriculum ideas.

      May 12th, 2003
      Rally at Chicago Board of Education
      Against Standardized Testing and the U.S. war against Iraq Read the Full Story


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      About Teachers for Social Justice

      Who We Are
      Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ) is an organization of teachers, administrators, pre-service teachers, and other educators working in public, independent, alternative, and charter schools and universities in the Chicago area. 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.

      What We Do
      We meet regularly, share ideas and curriculum, develop collective projects, and support each other in our work. We are also an activist organization, forming and supporting campaigns to get the voices of educators into the public discussion of school policies.

      Why is There a Need?
      Chicago's one dimensional model of school "reform," based on accountability and high-stakes tests, has been created by the upper echelon of administration without the participation of those affected by the new policies parents, students, teachers. Teachers, who know what is happening in schools and are grappling with the hard questions of educating students in urban contexts, have no voice in Chicago school policies. As educators, we also know that the practices of public and private school teachers who are doing exciting things in their classrooms could be the basis of an alternative to CPSÕs test-driven agenda, but there is no space for open discussion in CPS. The current policies lead by default because public discussion and debate is stifled. We are committed to working together with other educators, parents, students, and community members collectively to reshape the discussion of school policy in order to create more just and humane schools.

      Our Principles
      Schools must empower students to be decision-makers in their own lives and to become active participants in our society by employing principles of Equity and Social Justice.

      Curriculum and Classroom Practice should be:
      1. *Grounded in the lives of our students.
      2. *Critical.
      3. *Multicultural, anti-racist pro-justice.
      4. *Participatory, experiential.
      5. *Hopeful, joyful, kind, visionary.
      6. *Activist.
      7. *Academically rigorous.
      8. *Culturally and linguistically sensitive.

      School-level Policy and Decision-making should support:
      1. Collaborative and flexible curriculum.
      2. Resources for thoughtful teaching.
      3. Local, democratic decision-making.
      4. School must address the whole child.
      5. Multiple forms of academic assessment.

      Principles of School Reform:
      1. *Public schools are responsible to the community, not to the marketplace.
      2. *Schools must be actively multicultural and anti-racist, promoting social justice for all.
      3. *Curriculum must be geared to learning for life and the needs of a multicultural democracy.
      4. *All children and all schools must receive adequate resources.
      5. *Reform must center on the classroom and the needs of children.
      6. *Good teachers are essential to good schools.
      7. *Reform must involve collaboration among educators, parents, and the community.
      8. *We must revitalize our urban communities, not just our schools.
      Adopted September 2000. We have adopted many of these principles (indicated with *) from Rethinking Schools

      Policy Positions: Renaissance 2010 - Local Education Policy
      TSJ Position on Renaissance 2010
      click here
      CPS Web Site, Official R2010 Policy
      click here
      Kenwood Oakland Local School Council Alliance Fact Sheet on R2010
      click here
      PURE: What's Wrong with CPS's R2010
      click here
      Neighborhood Capital Budget Group's "Critique of R2010"
      click here
      Chicago Teachers Union page for comparing the various R2010 schools
      click here
      Kelly HS Suggestion Sheet
      click here
      Catalyst Magazine for more info on R2010
      click here
      Camp C.A.R.E
      click here

      No Child Left Behind (NCLB) - National Education Policy
      We have developed an NCLB study group which has put together a "talking points" sheet with three sections organized around themes such as accountability, equity, choice, etc.:
      • What NCLB claims
      • What it really means
      • What our vision is
      We also organized two school-based community forums (Kelly HS and Kelvyn Pk HS) to inform and dialogue with teachers about the law and how to organize against it, and we plan to continue this work.

      Political Goals

      Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, “Letters to Those Who Dare Teach” (1998): “We are political militants because we are teachers. Our job is not exhausted in the teaching of math, geography, syntax, history. Our job implies that we teach these subjects with sobriety and competence, but it also requires our involvement in and dedication to overcoming social injustice.”

      We are educators. As such we must recognize and accept our role as either confronting the social, political, and educational inequities within U.S. school settings, or continuing to reproduce the oppressions in our current society. We stand for confronting these inequities. Neutrality is not possible. We understand that teaching is a political act.

      Teaching for social justice is part of a larger struggle to transform society to make it more just. We see children and youth as critical change agents essential to the struggle for social justice.
      We challenge each other to be activists in and outside of the classroom, recognizing that we are all “works in progress.”  Our work may involve social justice curriculum, study groups, educational forums, participation in coalitions and social movements, work with other education for liberation groups, and initiating collective action.  

      We therefore embrace the following political goals—we believe it is our ethical responsibility as educators to: 
      • Develop our understanding of the sociopolitical, historical, cultural, and economic roots of social inequality and injustice, and recognize the role of education within this context.
      • Provide a space for radical teachers to collaborate and share knowledge and to be a vehicle for teachers to become aware of and respond to urgent issues of injustice.
      • Create and promote liberatory educational curriculum, practice, classrooms, and schools.
      • Mobilize teachers as a force in solidarity with students, parents, and community members to fight for educational justice and other issues that impact children and youth.
      • Work with others nationally to build a movement for educational justice and work with others to build a broad national and global movement for social justice.
      • Confront racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, anti-immigrant and language discrimination, poverty, and all forms of oppression and exploitation within ourselves, our work, and our global society.
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      Donate to Support Teachers for Social Justice

      July 23, 2004

      TSJ is an all volunteer organization that relies solely on grassroots fundraising and support from friends to do what we do. The bulk of what we spend goes into organizing the annual Teaching for Social Justice Curriculum Fair and numerous other community-building and education events at a free to accessible cost. We also purchase art supplies & food from time to time, as well as make donations to sister organizations when needed.

      Whether with a one-time contribution or with a monthly pledge, we need you to help advance the struggle for educational justice by making a meaningful donation. Your support enables us to develop projects and campaigns that are truly accountable to the communities we serve.

      There are a number of ways you can support TSJ's work:

      2) Write a CHECK
      3) Donate items on our WISH LIST
      4) Make a secure online donation with your CREDIT CARD by clicking DONATE NOW!

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