AYPF’s mission is to educate, engage, and inform policymakers and practitioners about education, youth, and workforce policies to improve the lives and outcomes of youth who have been marginalized by systemic inequities. We want to ensure that young people can thrive. And to do that, we must acknowledge the persistent impact of racism throughout our systems and then work to dismantle them, especially within our education system. We are dedicated to helping create positive, affirming, and equitable educational environments for all students.
We recognize that schools are on the forefront of meeting the needs of young people and communities. The pandemic and heightened racial justice reckoning have made the responsibility of educating America’s young people incredibly challenging. To better equip schools for this challenge, AYPF invited Teaching for Change to write a blog post, introducing their organization and the support they provide educators grappling with building an effective response to dismantling disparities. Additionally, on November 17, Teaching for Change will lead a workshop on how educators can bring about transformation and sustainable change through curriculum that honors history, identity, and diversity. You can register for the workshop by clicking on the “Register Now” link below.
We hope that you will come along this learning journey with us. We know there will likely be some bumps along the way, but we commit to partnering with you to create a safe space for dialogue and learning that we hope will lead to better outcomes for the young people we serve and support.
AYPF Executive Director
Blog: Teaching for Change
Teachers around the United States face the challenge of how to teach in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, a national rebellion in defense of Black lives, and a white supremacist backlash that is manifesting itself everywhere from local police departments to state legislatures to the halls of Congress.
Students turn to teachers to help them make sense of this reality. Many teachers are just learning themselves about the history of institutionalized racism. Textbooks and the traditional curriculum are of no help.
That is why we are teaching for change. Change in our systems. Change in our communities. Change for the lives of the whole person. Change in our world. At Teaching for Change, we play a central role in grassroots education reform in the DC region and nationally. We make available the best selection of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators. We coordinate campaigns to fill gaps in the curriculum. For example, despite large numbers of immigrants from Central America, there is little in the school curriculum about the region, even during Latinx Heritage Month. Therefore, Teaching for Change has a campaign to Teach Central America with lessons, curated book selections, and a growing network of teachers!
In collaboration with Rethinking Schools, we co-direct the Zinn Education Project to bring the history of working people, people of color, and organized social movements into the classroom. Curricular innovation, powerful professional development for teachers, and meaningful parent engagement are now even more important as racial bias and injustice have emerged as urgent national issues.
We believe that education should help students, parents, teachers, and administrators understand and relate to the histories, cultures, and languages of people different from themselves. But education must be much more than that. It must be transformative. It must encourage academic excellence that embraces vital skills for social change.
As an organization we will continue our commitment to develop analytical thinking that supports students to better understand problems in our society, and to develop collective solutions to those problems. We are for truth-telling and uplifting the power of organizing and solidarity that move us toward a more just society.
We invite others to come alongside us, support teachers, students and families until hopefully our work has met its goal and a more just community is actualized.