TSJ's 17th Annual Curriculum Fair

September 20, 2018 0 comments

TSJ's 17th Annual Curriculum Fair


From Puerto Rico to Chicago:
Reclaiming and Reimagining Our Communities
Saturday, November 17
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Location: Uplift Community High School (900 W. Wilson)

Curriculum Fair Keynote Panel!

Mercedes Martínez Padilla 
Mercedes is a teacher and president of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR), a union fighting to defend the rights of Puerto Rican teachers and for accessible, quality public education for students. The FMPR organized brigades of teachers and community members to clean up schools after Hurricane Maria and demand their reopening. The FMPR is a key organizer of the movement against school closures and is resisting the moves of disaster capitalism to privatize education and other public institutions and take over Puerto Rico. Watch here! 

Renee Hatcher
Renee is a human rights and community development lawyer and Director of the Community Enterprise and Solidarity Economy Law Clinic at John Marshall Law School. Her work and research focuses on strategies to build power and create equitable development practices and healthy neighborhoods in predominantly Black, low-income communities. She's written on topics related to the systematic economic violence of Black life, the connection between gentrification, displacement, and school closings, and Black economic solidarity in education. She is the national co-chair for the US Human Rights Network Working Group on Equality and Nondiscrimination, co-chair of the Association of American Law Schools Clinicians of Color Subcommittee, and a member of Law for Black Lives. Watch here!

Joan Fadayiro (moderator)
Joan is a community organizer. She has participated in and led struggles to improve public education, resist police violence, contend for grassroots-led political power, and secure and improve long-term affordable housing. Through her organizing, Joan recognized that many of the barriers to community participation stemmed from a lack of access to quality jobs and ownership of their own labor. People have material needs that current movements cannot continue to ignore if they seek to grow. Thus, Joan co-founded the Cooperation for Liberation Study & Working Group to understand and build worker cooperatives as a tool for economic independence and self-determination in Black communities. 

Schedule of the Day &
 List of Workshops

10:00 - Registration, Curriculum Exhibits, and Resource Tables (Exhibits and tables are open 10:00-4:00)
10:30 - 11:45 - Keynote Program (Kiva-1st FL)
12:15 - 1:30 - Workshops Session 1
12:15 - 2:15 - Lunch, 1st Floor Cafeteria
2:15 - 3:30 - Workshops Session 2
3:30 - 4:00 - Last Chance to Visit Curriculum Exhibits and Resource Tables

2018 TSJ Curriculum Fair Workshops
[Note: You do NOT need to register for workshops in advance...but YES register for the CF!

Session #1: 12:15 - 1:30
1. Continuing the Conversation with Mercedes Martínez (Keynote Speaker). This workshop will continue the conversation with Mercedes. It will specifically address how all of us in Chicago and the US can support the struggles of the Puerto Rican people-to resist disaster capitalism and to reclaim and reimagine a Puerto Rico for the people.   

2. Youth Are More Powerful Than Ever (Adult supported- Gigi & Aidé, Teachers for Social Justice; YOUTH LED, Xóchitl). Youth are powerful and will organize together as they voice their struggles in their schools, communities, and world. Adults will support them as they discuss an action they would like to take as they continue to work together in the future.  

3. Students Not Suspects: Anti-Muslim Surveillance in Schools (American Friends Service Committee; Brianna Hanny, Zareen Kamal, Nicole Nguyen, Mary Zerkel). Fear of terrorism is used to justify the racial and religious profiling, and the Department of Homeland Security relies upon the cooperation of teachers and school social workers to implement surveillance programs in schools that criminalize Muslim and other marginalized youth. We will help participants to recognize these programs, see connections with other forms of surveillance like the gang database, and come up with concrete strategies to resist.

4. $95 Mil for Communities! (#NoCopAcademy). It's been a year since #NoCopAcademy hit Chicago, demanding money for schools and communities not more policing. Attend this workshop to hear from youth leaders active with the campaign about lessons learned, where we're at now, and how you can get involved.  

5. Black and Brown Parents United for Education Equity (Irene Robinson & Jitu Brown, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization & Journey for Justice Alliance; Carmen Cabrales, Family Focus Hermosa Community). This past year, parent/family leaders from various Chicago neighborhoods have met to share stories about struggles for equity in their children's schools/communities. Black and Brown parents showcased their efforts, successes, and support for each other's work across communities. This workshop will have several parent leaders whose lives have been transformed by their struggles. Parents, families, and supporters will get to hear stories and discuss lessons learned and future plans in the movement for education equity.

6. Chicago Childcare Collective Volunteer and Values Training (Chicago Childcare Collective [ChiChiCo]). Radical Childcare Volunteer Training- join Chicago Childcare Collective organizers for an introduction to their collective's model for liberatory play, anti-adultism, and childcare activism. Participants will review ChiChiCo's values and consider the work that it takes to enact these values while providing childcare in organizing spaces. Participants will also have the opportunity to observe ChiChiCo members working in the childcare space after the workshop and to join the collective as volunteers.

7. Building Critical Thinking Through Classroom Conversations With Documentary Film (Bill Siegel, Projecto Willis LLC). Teachers will engage in an interactive session using The Vietnam War documentary series as a model for integrating non-fiction media into classroom discussion. Teachers will experience how the kinds of questions they ask, greatly impact the challenge they give to students to authentically express their ideas and opinions and build respect and consideration for alternative points of view. Teachers will come away with specific strategies to facilitate rigorous, open-ended, text-based discussions of non-fiction media.

8. Justice-Centered Teaching in Middle School (Jessica Suárez Nieto & Alejandra Frausto, Teachers for Social Justice). In this workshop participants will be a part of an interdisciplinary mini-lesson that will model how to engage middle schoolers in justice-centered learning.  Participants will get an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the presenters about how to create curriculum in math, science, history and language arts while also developing strong classroom communities. Presenters will also reflect on what led them to teach in this way and the journey of continuing to teach this way. 

SESSION TWO 2:15 - 3:30 
9. What Is Gentrification? (Obama Community Benefits Agreement Coalition).Displacement and gentrification are terms that have become associated with development in low-income and working communities. Unfortunately, however, there is a lot of confusion regarding what these terms mean, and whether development is possible without displacement. This workshop seeks to unpack these issues, and place them in the context of a local fight for a community benefits agreement as a means to preserve community in the midst of development. 

10. Black Muslims in U.S. History: An Introductory Activity (Alison Kysia, Teaching for Change). In this interactive lesson, each participant receives a ½ sheet biography of a Black Muslim who lived in the U.S. between 1600-present. Participants mix and mingle for 25 minutes, introducing themselves as their Black Muslim character. Afterwards, small group discussion highlights the important themes emphasized during the activity. This is the first of a seven-lesson curriculum called "Islamophobia" A people's history teaching guide" at Teaching for Change. 

11. Empowering Yourself with Data (Sarah Rothschild, Chicago Teachers Union). This workshop will teach participants how to find important public data about the Chicago Public Schools in order to advocate for more resources for their schools. I will show everyone where some of the really important data is located within the CPS website and provide a brief Excel tutorial to help participants analyze and summarize the data. This is a hands-on workshop and it is recommended, though not essential, that people bring their own laptops. 

12. Struggling Against White Supremacy as a White Educator (Maura Nugent, Kayce Bayer, Martin Carver, Jonah Bondurant, Liz McCabe; Teachers for Social Justice). This session is designed for white educators interested in confronting the effects of their whiteness in the classroom and working with other white educators to help further anti-racist initiatives in our schools and communities in coalition with people of color. We welcome anyone who wants to think through ways to challenge the silence around race, power, and white supremacy in the classroom and in our schools. 

13. #PoliceFreeSchools (Olivia Abrecht, Andrea Ortiz, and youth leaders from Brighton Park Neighborhood Council). 1.6 million students in the U.S. attend a school with no counselors, but with police. In the last three years, there were over 30 assaults by police officers in schools. The U.S. DOJ report on CPD documented abuse by police officers in CPS. Chicago's Inspector General found that police operate without accountability or oversight in schools. In this workshop, we reimagine school cultures without punitive discipline and explore dismantling school policing. 

14. Title IX Rights: Supporting and Protecting Young People (Darien R. Wendell and Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health youth facilitators). Did you know that Title IX rights apply to high schoolers? Join high school student facilitators and the Education Specialist of the ICAH to learn about protections for students who are pregnant, parenting, trans, gender nonconforming, and/or survivors of sexual violence. Practice responding to Title IX violations through participatory scenarios and walk through Office of Civil Rights and CPS reporting processes to help ensure the success of ALL students.

15. The Puerto Rico Solidarity Brigades: Bridging our Communities for Social Change (UIC-College of Education, CTU-Latinx Caucus, Chicago Boricua Resistance). Six months after hurricane María twenty students, teachers, and community activists went to Puerto Rico to engage in solidarity work with mutual support centers, teacher unions, and organized communities. This is a report back on the solidarity work done and in process as part of a broader vision connecting movements for social justice across nations. Brigadistas and coordinators will speak to their experiences and open up a space for imagining next steps in broadening solidarity. 


Are you a teacher who would like to present your curriculum at the Teachers for Social Justice Curriculum Fair? If you’re feeling a bit nervous or hesitant to do so, please watch this video! And then submit a proposal here!

Register (and sign up to volunteer) here
Apply to exhibit your curriculum here
Apply for a resource table here 
Apply to do a workshop here

Download our poster here (pdf) and here (jpg)
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August 28, 2018 0 comments

Support the National Prison Strike
August 21 - September 9, 2018

A prison strike poster designed by Melanie Cervantes, Xicanx artist and cultural worker and co-founder of Dignidad Rebelde.
In 2016, the theme of our 15th annual teaching for social justice curriculum fair was Defund Policing: Fund Schools and Communities. Today, we extend that to defund prisons! We are in full support of the quest for humanity by the women and men in prisons striking for fundamental rights and human dignity. We are inspired by their spirit of resistance and love of life! From George Jackson to the Attica Brothers, and to all others who struggle for justice, we stand with you!

"Inside, Outside, All on the Same Side!" (Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee)

Teachers for Social Justice

Download Prison Strike Poster All content is free to be copied and repurposed under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) unless otherwise noted.

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Puerto Rico Solidarity Work

May 24, 2018 0 comments

In recent months Puerto Rico’s U.S. appointed Financial Oversight and Management Board, and the 2016 PROMESA Law, has laid the groundwork to close nearly 300 schools, lay off 7,000 teachers, adopt charter schools and expand its use of voucher programs, and cut pensions for public sector employees.

However, Puerto Ricans, including members of the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico, and those of us standing in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico oppose these neoliberal austerity measures.  We are asking for your support in the following actions:

  1. Educate yourself and those around you.  Continue to read the stories of those impacted by the measures and share them with others, including your students.  Click here to read an interview with Mercedes Martinez, President of the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico.
  1. Support grassroots resistance.  Click here to make a monetary donation to the resistance efforts being made on the ground in Puerto Rico. 
 In solidarity,
Teachers for Social Justice

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Students Not Suspects: Anti-Muslim Racism & Surveillance in Schools

May 15, 2018 0 comments

Students Not Suspects: 
Anti-Muslim Racism & Surveillance in Schools
A Discussion for Teachers and Community Members

May 30, 2018
6:30PM (iftar to follow)
Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn Street

Join us for a screening of the film Watched to learn about the ways surveillance policies are showing up in our schools, hear from those most affected, and strategize together about how we can take action in our classrooms, schools, and cities.

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Berta Lives! Support Honduras!

April 22, 2018 0 comments

Join us in showing our solidarity for Honduras!

Music Performance, Friday, April 27, 7PM
Film honoring Berta Caceres, Saturday, April 28, 5-7PM 

Honduran music and resistance visits Chicago:
Karla Lara and Jose Antonio Velásquez Spring "We Commit to Live Life Singing" U.S. Tour Honduran singer, poet, fighter, and performer Karla Lara and pianist José Antonio Velázquez are touring the U.S. to sing about the struggle for self-determination and against the extractive model of so-called economic development. They are singing to free those who have been unjustly incarcerated and denied their right to protest, about the struggle for justice for our beloved Berta Cáceres, about our world and this powerful time when women continue to "live life singing!"

Chicago events Friday and Saturday 4/27-4/28:
Friday April 27th, 7pm-9pm 
Citlalin Art Gallery/Theater
2005 S Blue Island Ave
Chicago, IL
Followed by "Noche de Guitars"

Saturday April 28th, 5pm
Concert + Film "Berta didn't die, she multiplied / Berta no se murió, se multiplicó"
UIC Social Justice Initiative PUJA Gallery
1344 S. Halsted
Chicago, IL

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2018 TSJ Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGs)

January 17, 2018 0 comments

We are excited to announce the 2018 TSJ Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGs). ItAGs gather educators, activists and others to study a topic and collectively create an action around that area of study, making it a true community of praxis. The topics and themes are always consistent with TSJ's principles of working toward education that is pro-justice, anti-racist, multicultural/multilingual, and grounded in the experiences of students and their communities.

List of ItAGs (alphabetical order)
  1. Countering Islamophobia in Classrooms and Schools
  2. No Cop Academy Curriculum Creation
  3. Students Generating Social Justice Themes Through Theater of the Oppressed
  4. The New CPS Reparations Won Curriculum as a Jumping Off Point for Critical Classrooms
  5. Unfolding lessons: Action and Inquiry on Honduras in a Moment of Crisis [NEW]
  6. Where Are They Now? Exploring the Decline of Black Teachers [FULL—please consider joining a different ItAG!]
  7. White Educators/Activists: Toward Anti-Racist Teaching-Learning-Organizing 
ItAGs are free and open to everyone with the interest to support, study, and take action on issues of education and social justice. You don’t have to be an “expert” to participate, as we recognize that expertise and knowledge are distributed among all participants. All voices are welcome in TSJ ItAGs, which we aim to be safe spaces, with respect for differences, but without room for toxicities—toxic masculinities, racisms, biases, and hatreds.

The ItAG cycle is a total of 8 meetings, with a kickoff and finale and six meetings in between.

Kickoff: Saturday, Jan 27, 5-7 PM, for all ItAG participants.
Six sessions, one/week, with the specific schedule for each individual ItAG to be determined by facilitator OR by facilitators and participants (see individual ItAG below for specifics)

Finale: Saturday, March 17, 5-7 PM, for all ItAG participants.

If you are interested, you will need to sign up here and specify which ItAG.

Title: Countering Islamophobia in Classrooms and Schools
Description: In the U.S., the fear of terrorism has been used to justify the racial and religious profiling of Muslims and people perceived to be Muslim. Since the 1970s, we've witnessed a steady rise in violent incidents and policies that intimidate, harm, and exclude Arab, Muslim, and immigrant communities. As critical educators for social justice, we have a responsibility to actively confront and dismantle Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism in our classrooms and schools.
Join our learning community of educators as we:
—Build understandings about the structural roots of anti-Muslim racism and how it affects our communities;
—Unpack the dominant myths and narratives around Muslims/Islam;
—Reframe Islamophobia as only individual acts of bigotry toward an analysis of state violence and systems of oppression;
—Strategize around meaningful ways to address anti-Muslim racism in classrooms and schools;
—Leave the ItAG with action steps and questions for further study;
—Develop skills to speak out against anti-Muslim racism; advocate for policies that respect the rights and dignity of Muslims; and oppose profiling, surveillance, and state violence against Muslim communities, inside and outside of schools.
Facilitator Bios: Mary Zerkel coordinator of American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Communities Against Islamophobia Project and directs the Chicago Peacebuilding program, which works to challenge militarism and support the growth and well-being of communities. Mary is also an artist working in a variety of forms. Nicole Nguyen is a TSJ member and education professor at UIC. Her teaching, research, and organizing focus on the criminalization of youth in schools.  
Meeting times: Meeting dates TBD with group.
Number of participants: At least 5.

Title: No Cop Academy Curriculum Creation
Description: Last July, Rahm announced plans to build a $95 million police/fire training academy in West Garfield Park, near four schools that he plans to close. Chicago grassroots groups are organizing to demand schools and resources for kids, not cops. The purpose of this ITAG is to create a tool for school based educators, youth workers, organizers, and community organizations that will raise consciousness around the root causes and historical context of the No Cop Academy Campaign.
Facilitator Bio: Stacy Rene Erenberg is an activist, youth organizer, educator, and musician from Evanston, IL. She is rooted in a transformative justice, harm reduction, sex positive and trauma informed approach to social justice work. Currently she teaches history at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School in Humboldt Park, where she uses popular education to teach students about historical movements of resistance and resilience. 
Meeting Times: Satudays, 2-4 PM, starting February 3, for six sessions.
Number of Participants: 8 maximum.

Title: Students Generating Social Justice Themes Through Theater of the Oppressed
Description: Each session will have multiple parts: discussing readings, doing warm ups and games, and collectively creating theater performances that will help organize young people and others to generate, analyze, and envision alternatives to oppression in our schools and communities. The sessions will use Boal's Theater of the Oppressed techniques, and we will study readings by Augusto Boal, Paulo Freire, and others. The focus will be on both practice and theory.
Facilitator Bio: José Morales has 22 years of youth leadership development, educational counseling, and alternative education teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston. He has been a practitioner of Augusto Boal's Theater of the Oppressed since his high school years, and used these tools with workers and student movements during his union organizing in Puerto Rico and college activism.
Meeting Times: 10AM-12 Noon, on Saturdays, Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10
Number of Participants: TBD

Title: The New CPS Reparations Won Curriculum as a Jumping Off Point for Critical Classrooms
Description: This school year, CPS middle and high school social studies teachers must teach the history of torture committed under the direction of disgraced Police Commander Jon Burge and the fight by survivors and allies for justice. The “Reparations Won” curriculum details the long fight for a reparations package for survivors, won in a 2015 Chicago city ordinance, including a mandate to teach students this history. This ItAG will help teachers and other participants consider what the implications of the curriculum are for their classrooms and advocacy work.
Facilitator Bios: Jen Johnson, CTU Education Issues Manager, former high school history teacher of ten years, worked with 6 CTU members to develop and implement PD for the curriculum. Lillian Kass, CTU member and teacher at Ogden International High School, is passionate about tackling racial justice issues in schools.
Meeting Times:  4-6pm, Wednesday, January 31st; Monday, February 12th; Wednesday; February 21st; Wednesday, February 28th; Monday, March 5th; Wednesday, March 14th
Number of Participants: 15 Maximum.

Title: Unfolding lessons: Action and Inquiry on Honduras in a Moment of Crisis [NEWLY ADDED!]
Description: This ITAG group will provide a short background to Honduras with relation to the U.S. and an inquiry and action-based discussion of recent history and current events from the 2009 coup through the present electoral fraud and wave of repression and resistance. We will also examine the parallel role played by Chicago and Honduras as laboratories for neoliberalism and the intersections, similarities, differences, as well as lessons to be learned from the resistance movements in both places, with a focus on indigenous, Afro-descendent, women and LGBT constituencies. The group will connect actively with current solidarity efforts as the situation continues to evolve. 
Facilitator Bios: Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle is a member of La Voz de los de Abajo and has been doing work in solidarity with Honduran social movements for almost two decades and was a friend of assassinated indigenous leader Berta Cáceres.  
Meeting times: Mondays at 7pm
Number of participants: 20

Title: Where Are They Now? Exploring the Decline of Black Teachers
Description: Since 2000, the percent of Black teachers in CPS has plummeted from 40% to 22%--even though over one third of CPS students are Black. We argue that Black teachers are being intentionally pushed out as one tactic in the overall assault on Black youth, and on the survival of Black teachers themselves, many of whom are Black women head of households. In this workshop, we will examine some mechanisms being utilized to facilitate this forced removal of Black educators, the results this has caused, and ways we can counter this attack.
Facilitator Bios: Dr. Aisha Wade-Bey, Dr. Monique Redeaux-Smith (more info forthcoming)
Meeting Times: TBD
Number of Participants: 20 maximum.

Title: White Educators/Activists: Toward Anti-Racist Teaching-Learning-Organizing
This ItAG is FULL—Please consider joining a different one!
Description: This ITAG will focus on the work of white people as anti-racist activists in schools, unions, and communities. White educators and activists have a special responsibility and opportunity to do anti-racist work with white teachers, parents, and students and in our union. This ITAG will focus on anti-racist praxis—study-action-reflection. We will do common readings and support and challenge each other in carrying out specific anti-racist work.
Facilitator Bios: Pauline Lipman and Rico Gutstein are both members of TSJ, teach at UIC, and are active parts of the education justice movement in Chicago. 
Meeting Times: Saturdays, specific times to be decided at the Kickoff with participants.
Number of Participants: 20 maximum.

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