Publication Date: January 26, 2024
This book uses the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as a touchstone for the importance and value of including place-based education in the social studies curriculum. Whitlock scrutinizes this local environmental issue to not only drive critical inquiry in the classroom, but also to show how the curriculum can propel valuable social change in the community. Each part of this book highlights critical place inquiry and place-based education with an overall inquiry question: How can schools respond to a community’s needs? How can schooling be reimagined to center “place?” How can teacher preparation be place-based? What did we learn from the Flint crisis and where do we go from here? Individual chapters investigate the inquiry question by examining Flint and the Flint water crisis more specifically, as well as the lessons we can learn from Flint educators. Social studies teachers (Pre-K–16) can use these experiences to inform their own approach to understanding their own places.
Annie McMahon Whitlock is an associate professor of history and social studies at Grand Valley State University, and a former middle school social studies teacher. She previously worked as an education professor at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Introduction: How Did We Get Here?
When Did the Water Crisis Start?
Piecing it Together
When Everyone Learned About Flint
Dealing With It
Social Studies and Critical Place-Based Education
Are We Finished Yet?
Part I: How Can Schools Respond to a Community’s Needs?
1. A History of Innovative Education in Flint
Manley and Mott: The Brains and the Bank
Flint as the Leader in Community Schools
Schools and Society
Looking Back to Look Ahead
Learning from Flint: Critical Place Historical Inquiry in the Classroom
2. Why Flint? Teaching Conditions Amidst the Water Crisis
The “Preloaded Distributional Injustices” of Flint
Built With the Community in Mind
Beyond “Normal:” Teaching at Freeman
Learning From Flint: Critical Place Inquiry in Geography
3. An Uncertain Future for Education in Flint
Community Schools Today
Integrated Student Supports
Extended Learning Time and Opportunities
Family and Community Engagement
Collaborative Leadership and Practices
Learning From Flint: Place-Based School Improvement
Part II: How Can Schooling be Reimagined to Center “Place?”
4. Designing Early Childhood Education in Flint
Early Childhood Education and Lead Poisoning
Childcare in Formal Settings
Using Human-Centered Design to Respond to Early Childhood Needs
Learning From Flint: Designing Place-Based Education
5. Reggio-Inspired Education in Flint
Reggio Emilia as Place-Based Education
Building Place-Consciousness in a Reggio Toddler Classroom
Preschoolers’ Narratives of Flint
Understanding Reggio as Social Studies Inquiry
Learning From Flint: A Call to Research and Practice
6. Montessori for Flint
Montessori’s Connections to Place-Based Education
The Benefits of a Public Montessori Education
Challenges for Public Montessori
Montessori for Flint
Learning From Flint: Incorporating Montessori Elements
7. Flint’s Place-Based Charter School
School of Choice in Flint
Flint Cultural Center: A Longtime Gem in Flint
Flint Cultural Center Academy
A Day at the Flint Cultural Center Academy
Learning From Flint: School-Wide Place-Based Education
Part III: How Can Teacher Preparation Be Place-Based?
8. Place-Based Teacher Education in Flint
Place-Based Teacher Education
School Culture Shock
Partnering With Beecher Community Schools
PBTE and Water Crisis Connections
Learning From Flint: Literally.
9. Place-Based Social Studies Methods in Flint
Place-Based Social Studies Methods
Elementary Social Studies Methods in Flint
Right Under Our Noses
Teaching Critical Geography
Learning From Flint: Transforming into Place-Based Teachers
Part IV: Where Do We Go From Here?
10. What I Learned From Flint
What I Learned About Flint
What I Learned From Flint About Place-Based Education in Social Studies
What I Learned From Flint About Myself
About the Author