Teaching for Change

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Teaching for Change
Teaching for Change logo.jpg
Founded1989 December
  • Washington, DC
Coordinates38°55′04″N 77°01′54″W / 38.917813°N 77.031777°W / 38.917813; -77.031777
Area served
United States
Methodparent organizing, professional development, and publications
Key people
Kate Tindle, Board Co-Chair
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.


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.[1] 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.[2]

Teaching for Change Bookstore[edit]

Teaching for Change founded and operated an independent, non-profit bookstore [3] located inside Busboys and Poets 14th and V Streets location for ten years.[4] The bookstore hosted author events and provided vetted selections of books focusing on progressive politics, multicultural lessons for pre K-12, and people's history. Teaching for Change 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, Charles E. Cobb Jr., Bernie Sanders, Edwidge Danticat, Judy Richardson, and Junot Diaz. Teaching for Change closed its bookstore in April 2015 and shared its recommendations for books online.[5]

Zinn Education Project[edit]

Teaching for Change co-founded the Zinn Education Project with Rethinking Schools in 2008 to provide teachers with free resources to help teach a people's history including 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.[6]

Civil Rights Teaching[edit]

Beginning in 2006, Teaching for Change worked with the McComb School District and the Mississippi Department of Education for ten years to incorporate lessons on the civil rights movement and labor history in the curriculum. The stated intention was to help schools "end a decades-old culture of silence" on difficult historical events in the region.[7][8] 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.[9] 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.[10] The film can now be seen at the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, DC.[11]


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[12]

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.[13] 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.

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 won the Philip C. Chinn book of the year award [14] and Teaching for Change won the National Association for Multicultural Education Organization of the Year in 2004.

In 2005, Teaching for Change was invited by former board member and entrepreneur 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.[15]

In 2014, Teaching for Change was attacked by Rush Limbaugh who said of the organization, "it’s racist, it’s bigoted." [16][17][18]

Teaching for Change launched the Teach the Beat initiative [19] to bring go-go artists to D.C. classrooms and was among the national recipients of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Family Engagement Awards [20] in 2014.


  1. ^ "Tellin Stories, Finding Common Ground" By David Levine, Rethinking Schools, 2009
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Teaching for Change at Busboys and Poets" in Shelf Awareness, November 2, 2010
  4. ^ Todd Kliman, Rainbow Room: The Busboys and Poets Controversy, Washingtonian, December 1, 2005.
  5. ^ "Teaching for Change Moves Online Amid Challenges for Diversity in Books" by Stacia Brown in The Washington Post, March 18, 2015
  6. ^ "Yes!Magazine recommends the Zinn Education Project", May, 2010
  7. ^ Carmen K. Sisson, Mississippi mandates civil rights classes in schools Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 2009
  8. ^ "These Mississippi Teens Should School the Supreme Court on the Voting Rights Act". GOOD Magazine. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  9. ^ "Have lessons about Mississippi's violent past become optional? - The Hechinger Report". The Hechinger Report. 2014-06-22. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  10. ^ Titus Ledbetter III, Mississippi Students Take Award-Winning Voting Rights Documentary to Nation's Capital AFRO, June 19, 2013.
  11. ^ Deborah Barfield Berry, showcase civil rights work Jackson Clarion-Ledger, June 12, 2013.
  12. ^ History Teaching for Change website, 2017
  13. ^ Rethinking Columbus, http://www.rethinkingschools.org/ProdDetails.asp?ID=094296120X Rethinking Schools.
  14. ^ "Philip Chinn Book Award - National Association for Multicultural Education". nameorg.org. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  15. ^ "Bringing Zinn to Class". Bostonia.
  16. ^ "Rush Revere Books Dissed on C-SPAN2". The Rush Limbaugh Show. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  17. ^ "Teaching for Change, Supporters React to Limbaugh Slam". American Booksellers Association. 2014-06-19. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  18. ^ "Rush Limbaugh Attacks the Bookstore at Busboys and Poets". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  19. ^ "Teach the Beat: Go-Go Goes to School: Artists and Scholars in the Classroom". TMOTT GO GO Magazine. 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  20. ^ "W.K. Kellogg Foundation announces recipients of $13.7 million investment to empower parents as leaders and key decision makers in education". W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2017-08-21.

External links[edit]