I picked up three new books at the New York Collective of Radical Educators conference last weekend in downtown Brooklyn. Parents, teachers, and students who are looking for clear, accessible reading material on the fight to defend and improve public education should snatch these up!
Badass Teachers Unite! Writing on Education, History, and Youth Activism is a collection of writings by Mark Naison. I’ve admired Naison’s work for a long time, and it was my honor to write the forward to this book. Naison’s scope includes national policies that have attacked public education, stories of public school successes in New York City, and reflections on youth culture and resistance. The pieces are short and written in a conversational tone, which makes this is a very accessible book — perfect for reading on the train! Order copies here.
Class Action: An Activist Teachers’ Handbook includes several short articles by different authors. The book represents a collaboration between Jacobin, the Caucus of Rank and File Educators caucus of the Chicago Teachers union and other allies. As the title implies, it is meant to be a practical guide to understanding the landscape of challenges for educators today and what teachers have done to try to transform their unions in order to fight back. Get a few copies for your co-workers and discuss over lunch! Download the PDF or order copies here.
Before she passed last fall, legendary Marxist scholar and activist Jean Anyon finished the second, revised edition of Radical Possibilities: Public Policy, Urban Education, and A New Social Movement. In this book, Anyon steps back from the schoolhouse to contemplate the way that inequality is deeply woven into the fabric of American society. She discusses the kinds of reforms that would be necessary to actually facilitate genuine teaching and learning, and for people to be able to live like human beings. In the final section she reflects on the lessons of previous social movements (especially the Civil Rights Movement) and discusses ways that educators are uniquely positioned to make a special contribution to the project of social change. I am reading the second edition now, and can’t recommend it highly enough. Get your copy here.