Rethinking schools

Rethinking Schools began in 1986 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as an effort to address problems such as “basal readers, standardized testing, and textbook-dominated curriculum.”

It’s since become an international publisher of educational materials, with a magazine and books on classroom practice and educational theory, social justice, anti-racism, vouchers and marketplace-oriented reforms, funding equity, and school-to-work. The publications are written by and for teachers, but speaks to students, parents, administrators, researchers, and community members as well.

I like their vision of the common school:

Schools are about more than producing efficient workers or future winners of the Nobel Prize for science. They are the place in this society where children from a variety of backgrounds come together and, at least in theory, learn to talk, play, and work together.

Schools are integral not only to preparing all children to be full participants in society, but also to be full participants in this country’s ever-tenuous experiment in democracy. That this vision has yet to be fully realized does not mean it should be abandoned.

I highly recommend their publications, including the classic, Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, which was my introduction. I’ve used several of the books or magazine issues in my own teaching and can say that I’ve learned important things from every one of them.

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