Oppose Attack on Ethnic Studies in Arizona

January 30, 2012 0 comments

(from Rethinking Schools blog:) On Jan. 10, the governing board of Tucson schools voted to terminate the popular and enormously successful Mexican American Studies program, under pressure from the Arizona state superintendent of education. Follow this link to a letter from Tucsan Mexican American studies teacher Curtis Acosta posted on the Rethinking Schools blog: http://rethinkingschoolsblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/behind-the-curtain-in-tucson-a-letter-from-curtis-acosta/

(By Jeff Biggers on Huffington Post):

What happens in Arizona doesn't stay in Arizona.

As Tea Party state education chief John Huppenthal retreats into his office after an embarrassing national media tour on Arizona's extremist Ethnic Studies crackdown, and Tucson Unified School District administrators continue their slide into a public relations disaster over banishing Mexican American Studies curricula and books, a remarkably diverse array of librarians, educators, writers, civil rights activists and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is mounting a series of national actions to call attention to educational and civil rights violations and to support local Tucson efforts...

...On February 1st, teachers and schools around the country have been encouraged by Rethinking Schools, whose nationally acclaimed textbook Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years was confiscated and banished from Tucson schools, to follow the suggestion of former Tucson Mexican American Studies literature teacher Curtis Acosta for a "national day of solidarity where teachers would teach our curriculum all over the nation."~ from Arizona Unbound: National Actions on Mexican American Studies Banishment by Jeff Biggers
TSJ is part of TAG (Teacher Activist Groups national network). Watch the TSJ and the TAG website for coming national action to teach the Mexican American studies curriculum Read the Full Story


2014 Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGs) Announced!

January 5, 2012 0 comments

TSJ 2014 Inquiry to Action Groups

An opportunity for teachers and educators to build community, engage as learners, and develop as activists. All educators are invited to participate in ItAGs that link social justice issues with their practice.

Kickoff Event: Saturday February 15 6-8pm; Finale Event: Saturday April 5 6-8pm
In between events, individual ItAGS meet weekly (for six, two-hour sessions) to share experiences, respond to readings, exchange ideas, and develop plans of action. All locations TBD – once registered, you will receive location information.

In society, there's an emphasis on individual productivity and "getting the job done" rather than building community. Community Care is a holistic and evolving set of practices that emphasize building community, de-commodifying contributions, supporting everybody and valuing all types of work. This can include m/others, childcare providers, caretakers for the sick and elderly, school nurses, domestic workers, mediators, counselors, healers, among others. In this ItAG, we will explore how communities of care can be spaces for everybody to participate, learn from each other and flourish.

This Itag will explore several social justice issues through the lens of gender violence. We will engage literature and discussions that wrestle with topics of interpersonal violence (i.e., sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking), prison industrial complex, masculinity, bullying, as well as problematize violence prevention curricula such as bystander intervention.

Chicago is said to be the city of Big Plans. But WHO made those plans and who benefits from them? Many big-ticket projects have been proposed by City Hall over the years in order to make Chicago a "world-class city." But what, exactly, is a world-class city? This ItAG will review the history of community planning in Chicago, starting with the 1909 Burnham Plan and will investigate key players in the city's planning history in the present era. Who are they and what, exactly, are they planning for us? This ItAG will seek to understand the context and motivations and outcomes for these plans. We will look at the Right To The City movement and other frame-challenging planning movements to see what other sorts of visions can be surfaced for the future of our great city.

This ItAG will explore the question, what does social justice education look like in our daily work in classrooms? In particular, we would like to establish a rough outline of participants' values and philosophies around social justice education, and investigate how our values can be manifested in classroom rules/norms, curriculum design, uses of classroom space, student roles in the classroom, and classroom rituals.

It’s a pivotal time for early childhood education, with increasing political and policy attention. States, including Illinois, have dramatically increased funding for programs over the last couple decades. This creates tremendous opportunity as well as substantial challenge, particularly as many advocacy organizations have begun to push an "alignment" across early childhood (birth though 5) and our K-12 education system. In this ITAG, we will explore the question: how can early education – through the lens of language, culture, identity – become a legitimately and widely recognized part of our education system without being negatively impacted by a push down of corporate education reform and a diminishing focus on developmentally appropriate practice in the early years that could come with being part of the K-12 education system.

Registration is required and free. Register Here  
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Updates on School Closings/Turnarounds

January 3, 2012 0 comments

On Dec 14th, parents, teachers, community members, and the CTU Community Board (Coalition of the CTU and community groups, including TSJ), w/ support from Occupy Chicago, shut down the Board of Education meeting. A big shout out to TSJ members who attended the vigil in front the Board on Dec. 13, slept out on the sidewalk in front of CPS Headquarters in the rain, brought the campers food and coffee, showed up before 6 Am with more coffee and spirit, and attended the Board meeting.

At the meeting itself, the people did a mic-check on the Board and shut down the meeting. Then, we held our own public participation session. This is a new day. People had enough, finally.

Quoting from a message from the CTU:

"Congratulations to each of you for your work which culminated in today's historic walk-out of the Board of Ed members and CPS officials. They cannot ignore us any longer. Because of our unified efforts we have successfully amplified the voices of justice-parents, teachers, students, and community leaders who love and support our children and are fighting for the world class education they deserve.

Because of you, more than 300 people turned out Tuesday night for the candlelight vigil in front of the Board. Kudos to the brave souls who battled inclement weather and sat-in overnight at the Board. The City has not seen this level of protest in many years. This is the spark of a pure, social justice movement in this town. We must sustain it and continue our organizing and public education efforts until we break down the walls of education apartheid."

There is a long road ahead. Check out the TSJ website and the CTU website for school rallies, meetings, upcoming events, and what you can do.

Here is a link to the people's "mic check speech."

Check out good print media, and there is much TV footage on the web:




Shut Down at Board Meeting Dec. 14 (Labor Beat)

Dec. 13 Save our Schools Rally (CTU)

Mic check shuts down School Bd. Mtg Dec. 14

Stop the Hit list! Teach in at King HS, Dec. 3

We Do NOT need schools turnaround in West Humbold park Read the Full Story