In my preschool classroom, story time is the most anticipated part of the day. My students sit on the rug and I sit in my chair to read stories and be transported to other places and worlds. One of my favorite stories to read is Rosemary Wells’ Bunny Cakes.

Congresswoman Dina Titus

Yesterday we received the following letter from the group United Students Against Sweatshops via email. The letter raised important issues and concerns and so we felt it was critical to share both their letter and our email back for all of those interested.

Our email response to USAS:

Growing up in Alabama my family dinner table conversations centered on the importance of a strong and well-rounded education. For my parents, this ideal went beyond good grades and what happens inside the classroom – that was important! - they also wanted to make sure my brothers and I were developing academically with a strong focus on how we could lead and serve others. My parents inspired and motivated us through their own example.

Pass The Chalk Editorial Team

Twenty years ago today, on September 12, 1994, the first class of 20,000 AmeriCorps members began serving in more than 1,000 communities nationwide. At the swearing in ceremony, President Clinton described service as “a spark to rekindle the spirit” – asking the newly minted members, “What is right? What is wrong? And what are we going to do about it?”

Last week, we read Dana Goldstein’s piece in Vox about the evolution of Teach For America. We’ve posted some reflections below, and would love to continue the dialogue here on Pass The Chalk. Please share your own thoughts and reactions—your voice helps us get better.

In a recent piece in The Washington Post, (“The education-reform movement is too white to do any good”), Dr. Andre Perry brings up some very relevant, viable arguments about the education reform movement today. I had the pleasure of joining him at a recent conference, where black leaders in reform gathered to discuss the issues that matter most about education and securing our children’s future.

To our community:

Today, we want to honor the life of an incredible leader, writer, and advocate: Maya Angelou. She once said:

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

We want to celebrate that love today, and we want to remember the work and wisdom of Dr. Angelou, who has inspired both of us with the power of her words. Throughout her life, Dr. Angelou’s writing addressed issues of justice and equity with a power that few possess. Her words will live on, and her legacy will continue to inspire us—she reminds us of the impact that teachers, families, and communities can have when we unite in our shared love of children and our shared commitment to what they deserve.

Angelina D. Phebus

(Photo credit: sunchild123)

Teach For America’s emphasis on the importance of identity and culture in teaching is impressive. I am Choctaw, and I became interested in serving as a South Dakota corps member during grad school. The Native Alliance Initiative (NAI) and Teach For America’s commitment to growing its presence in Native community schools resonated with me and my experiences as a student.

I did not have any Native teachers when I was in school. I received a good education, and I adored my teachers, but I never felt validated or understood in terms of culture and race. The concept of Native culture was so uncommon in the community where I was raised that most of my classmates assumed I was Hispanic. I had a hard time understanding who I was and why my family had relocated from their community, and I went through a difficult process of self-discovery. I was inspired to serve as a teacher in a Native community so that I could provide my students with cultural experiences that I didn’t receive as a child. I was determined to serve as a role model to my students of what is possible and foster a love and appreciation for culture in my classroom so that my students would never have to experience the emptiness of not knowing and understanding their identity.

Pass The Chalk Editorial Team

Did you know boys commit suicide at five times the rate of girls? They do worse in school, have more social problems and learning disabilities, and are less likely to attend college. Yet frequently their needs are ignored—often because many boys believe reaching out is a sign of weakness.

Recognizing that boys’ issues and problems have too long been ignored, Rosalind Wiseman (author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, the book that inspired Mean Girls), decided to pull back the curtain on “Boy World.” Working collaboratively with middle-school and high-school boys for a period of two years, she charted the emotional terrain that boys inhabit. But, as she was working on her book for the boys’ parents, Rosalind realized that teenage boys themselves are in desperate need of guidance. They need a book that speaks directly to them (in a boy-friendly format and in their language) about the problems they face every day. With the help of 200 middle and high school-aged editors, Rosalind has identified and answered the most pressing questions teenage boys have.

How do you get out of the friendzone (where girls refuse to take you seriously)?

What’s the right way to react when getting made fun of?

How do you talk to your parents so that they’ll actually listen?

Wiseman’s The Guide has already become a popular ebook. Now it's available in hard copy online and wherever good books are sold, and It includes additional lesson plans. Get a feel for the kind of advice the book offers in the excerpt below:

Pages

About Us

We believe education is the most pressing issue facing our nation. On Pass the Chalk, we'll share our takes on the issues of the day, join the online conversation about education, and tell stories from classrooms, schools, and communities around the nation.

Learn more about Teach For America

Disclaimer

The thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed on Pass the Chalk are the responsibility of individual bloggers. Unless explicitly stated, blog posts do not represent the views of Teach For America as an organization. 

Read more »

Archive