Teaching for Change

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Teaching for Change
Teaching for Change logo.jpg
Founded 1989 December
Type 501(c)3
Tax ID no. 52-1616482
Focus educational
  • Washington, DC
Coordinates 38°55′04″N 77°01′54″W / 38.917813°N 77.031777°W / 38.917813; -77.031777
Area served United States
Method parent organizing, professional development, and publications
Key people Kate Tindle, Board Chair
Employees 21
Slogan "Building social justice, starting in the classroom."
Mission Teaching for Change provides teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world.
Website http://www.teachingforchange.org
Formerly called Network of Educators on Central America

Teaching for Change is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 and based in Washington D.C. with the motto of "building social justice, starting in the classroom." This organization uses publications, professional development, and parent organizing programs to accomplish this goal.[1]


Teaching for Change coordinates a variety of programs that aim to encourage teachers, students, and parents to build a more equitable, multicultural society through education.

Tellin' Stories[edit]

The Tellin' Stories program is a process for building parent engagement in schools. This program uses a bottom-up approach, encouraging parents to define what their roles will be.[2] The training plan has four stages:

  • Community Building: families meet each other and learn about their schools;
  • Information Gathering: parents analyze the school climate, the facilities, and the quality of teaching and learning at their school;
  • Identifying and Prioritizing Concerns: parents investigate concerns with schools (using Right Question Project methodology); and
  • Taking Action: parents determine the action required to achieve desired results and work collectively to promote those actions.[3]

Teaching for Change Bookstore[edit]

An independent, non-profit bookstore and webstore [4] located inside the Busboys and Poets 14th and V Streets location.[5] The bookstore hosts author events[6] and provides vetted selections of books focusing on progressive politics, multicultural lessons for pre K-12, and stories of a people's history. Teaching for Change has helped bring noted authors to host readings, discussions and book signings, including Alice Walker, Howard Zinn, Cornel West, Ronald Takaki, Michelle Alexander, Melissa Harris-Perry, John Sayles, Nikki Giovanni, Robert Parris Moses, Juan Gonzalez, Ralph Nader, Taylor Branch, Dave Zirin, Naomi Klein, Tariq Ali, Clarence Lusane, Marita Golden and Junot Diaz.

Zinn Education Project[edit]

The Zinn Education Project provides teachers with free resources to help teach a people's history including over 100 free downloadable lesson plans as a companion to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and other classroom resources for educators around the country.[7][8]

Civil Rights Teaching[edit]

Teaching for Change works with the McComb School District and the Mississippi Department of Education to incorporate lessons on the civil rights movement and labor history in the curriculum. The stated intention is to help schools "end a decades-old culture of silence" on difficult historical events in the region.[9][10] McComb Legacies, an after-school and summer enrichment program, grew out of the partnership between Teaching for Change and the McComb School District. As part of McComb Legacies, high school students work as historians to uncover the history of the voting rights struggle in McComb and Mississippi. In the spring of 2013, two McComb student projects made it to the national level of the National History Day competition. The Voting Rights Struggle, a documentary film created by McComb students, tells the story of the first SNCC voter registration drive, which was located in McComb.[11] The film can now be seen at the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, DC [12]


In the 1980s, with a growing Central American population and U.S. involvement in the region, 11 committees of educators and community leaders formed across the country to assess how to address the needs of Central American students and increase public awareness about U.S. foreign policy in Central America. These committees convened in Los Angeles to form a national organization, the Network of Educator’s Committees on Central America (NECCA) that became incorporated in December 1989[13]

Through the early 90s they produced teaching resources on Nicaragua and El Salvador and hosted teacher workshops around the country based on the book Rethinking Columbus.[14] In 1993, NECCA won the Humanities award from the DC Humanities Council and in 1994 they launched a mail order catalog for progressive teaching resources.

As the organization expanded its focus, NECCA changed its name to Teaching for Change. Through the 1990s, Teaching for Change organized seminars for educators on social justice education topics and published their own teaching guide, Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development.[15]

In 1999, Teaching for Change hosted a seminar for educators in the DC area focusing on "putting the movement back into Civil Rights" history teaching at Howard University. That seminar led to the production of a teaching guide with the same name, in collaboration with the Poverty and Race Resource Action Council (PRRAC).

Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching [16] won the Phillip C. Chinn book of the year award and Teaching for Change won the National Association for Multicultural Education[17] Organization of the Year in 2004.

In 2005, Teaching for Change was invited by former board member and restaurateur Andy Shallal to open a bookstore in Busboys and Poets.

In 2008, in partnership with Rethinking Schools, they launched the Zinn Education Project to provide middle and high school teachers with free access to lessons for Howard Zinn’s A People's History of the United States and other people's history resources.


  1. ^ About Us Teach for Change website
  2. ^ Parent Organizing Overview Teaching for Change webpage
  3. ^ National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group, Taking Leadership/Innovating Change: Profiles in Family School and Community Engagement Harvard Family Research Project, March 2010.
  4. ^ [1] Teaching for Change's Busboys and Poets Bookstore Webstore
  5. ^ Todd Kliman, Rainbow Room: The Busboys and Poets Controversy, Washingtonian, December 1, 2005.
  6. ^ Author Events Teaching for Change webpage
  7. ^ Zinn Education Project webpage
  8. ^ *Yes!Magazine recommends the Zinn Education Project, May 2010
  9. ^ Carmen K. Sisson, Mississippi mandates civil rights classes in schools Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 2009
  10. ^ McComb News Teaching for Change website
  11. ^ Titus Ledbetter III, Mississippi Students Take Award-Winning Voting Rights Documentary to Nation's Capital AFRO, June 19, 2013.
  12. ^ Deborah Barfield Berry, showcase civil rights work Jackson Clarion-Ledger, June 12, 2013.
  13. ^ Interactive Timeline Teaching for Change website, 2013
  14. ^ Rethinking Columbus, http://www.rethinkingschools.org/ProdDetails.asp?ID=094296120X Rethinking Schools.
  15. ^ Enid Lee, Deborah Menkart, Margo Okazawa-Rey,Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development, 2007
  16. ^ [2] Civil Rights Teaching and Teaching for Change.
  17. ^ [3] National Association for Multicultural Education, 2013.

External links[edit]