Foreword by: Rick Ayers
Publication Date: April 15, 2016
This practical book shows how veteran, justice-oriented social studies teachers are responding to the Common Core State Standards, focusing on how they build curriculum, support students’ literacy skills, and prepare students to think and act critically within and beyond the classroom. In order to provide direct classroom-to-classroom insights, the authors draw on letters written by veteran teachers addressed to new teachers entering the field. Part I of the book introduces the three approaches teachers can take for teaching for social justice within the constraints of the Common Core State Standards (embracing, reframing, or resisting the standards). Part II analyzes specific approaches to teaching the Common Core, using teacher narratives to illustrate key processes. Part III demonstrates how teachers develop, support, and sustain their identities as justice-oriented educators in standards-driven classrooms. Each chapter includes exemplary lesson plans drawn from diverse grades and classrooms, and offers concrete recommendations to guide practice.
Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath is an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University and vice president of the National Association of Multicultural Education, California chapter. She is the author of Social Studies, Literacy, and Social Justice in the Common Core Classroom: A Guide for Teachers. Alison G. Dover is an assistant professor of secondary education in the Department of Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. Nick Henning is an associate professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Fullerton.
"Agarwal-Rangnath, Dover, and Henning recognize the complexity of teaching for social justice, the need for teachers to embrace their agency, and the importance of working in solidarity to increase impact and sustain spirits."
—Teachers College Record
"As a purpose for learning, social justice is an activity and an application of relevant community and societal topics and goals. The authors do a very good job of showing how this is the case and how social studies teachers can justify including social justice activities in their courses. Teachers in social studies are the first line of defense in helping improve society and assisting persons who have a voice but who need help being heard. The book needs to be read and used at the beginning of a teacher’s career."
"This book provides hope that social justice-oriented curriculums can happen in modern classrooms, especially those classrooms that serve historically, socially, and economically marginalized populations of students, despite the daily accountability and sociocultural pressures that teachers face."
—Mid-Western Educational Researcher
“In letters from teachers to teachers, we hear of not only the challenges, but also the promises and surprises and joys of teaching towards social justice in the social studies, especially when immersed in the complexities and contradictions of this era of Common Core and high-stakes testing. Such insights abound in this inspiring book by Agarwal-Rangnath, Dover, and Henning, inviting us into conversations that cannot help but make our teaching more collective, impactful, and profound.”
—Kevin Kumashiro, author of Bad Teacher! How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture
"This is a must-read book for practicing and aspiring educators interested in learning how to teach justice-oriented, critical social studies amidst the current moment of outside mandates and high-stakes assessments. The real-life examples artfully woven into this text—articulated with conviction and compassion by teachers themselves—elucidate how educators may embrace, reframe, and resist educational policies that are influencing today’s classrooms.”
—Brian D. Schultz, Ph.D., professor and chair, Educational Inquiry & Curriculum Studies, The Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education, Northeastern Illinois University
"Teachers' voices matter! At a time of increasing pressure on teachers, this book provides practical approaches from teachers, for teachers to teach within the confines of the Common Core without compromising rigor, integrity, or social justice. Kudos for a work that highlights the intellectual depth and breadth of dedicated classroom teachers."
—Tyrone C. Howard, associate dean of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion; director, UCLA Black Male Institute, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
"What a wonderful book! Veteran teachers candidly show how they have been able to meld standards with rich, demanding, and authentic social justice content and pedagogy. Their marvelous letters to new teachers challenge and inspire as they demonstrate that teaching is truly an ethical and humanizing intellectual endeavor."
—Christine Sleeter, professor emerita, California State University, Monterey Bay