This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
To the editors:
We are in danger of losing a vital institution in the social justice education movement. The Teaching for Change catalog – the most comprehensive resource focusing exclusively on critical, multicultural teaching materials – is in financial distress.
Twice a year, Teaching for Change sends its catalog, alerting people to an extraordinary collection of resources, some of which are unavailable anywhere else. Despite strong sales, the catalog’s operation lost money for the last two years. Teaching for Change has been forced to downsize and is facing more severe measures.
The catalog is a result of twenty-five years of social justice education work. Teaching for Change started in 1982 as the Network of Educators’ Committees on Central America, to coordinate educational solidarity work around the wars in Central America.
When the Teaching for Change catalog was launched in 1992, educators suddenly could locate the most useful curricula, videos, children’s books, maps, and background books all from one source. The catalog was never intended to turn a profit; it was intended to facilitate social justice teaching.
Several factors have combined to squeeze Teaching for Change. One is the NCLB-induced testing mania that has narrowed the curriculum throughout the country. Another is competition from Amazon and similar hurry-up discount outfits. Finally, costs of printing and mailing have increased significantly.
But it’s not too late to make a difference. Order from and donate to TfC, announce the website on listservs, ask TfC to send you bulk copies of the catalog to distribute, and urge your school to set up a “Teaching for Change” library.
Teaching for Change exists to support education for equity and justice. It’s too precious to take for granted.
The writer, from Portland, OR, is an editor of the journal Rethinking Schools.