The history of education in the United States is replete with school reformers touting top-down innovations. Many of today's educational reformers support top-down innovations such as national standards for students and teachers, high-stakes testing as a means of educational measurement, and the private, corporate takeover of public education.
There is an equally long tradition of bottom-up educational reform at the grassroots: teachers who join students, families, and community members in developing politically-engaged and community-focused classrooms and schools. These teachers recognize and value the cultural wealth of communities and teach in ways that include knowledge beyond the four walls of the classroom.
This program will explore one example of bottom-up educational reform at the grassroots, what the late education scholar Peter Murrell, Jr., called "community teaching." Through foundational readings and multimedia related to community teaching's history and practice, students will explore possible responses to the following questions: Why does U.S. schooling look the way it does? What is educational reform? Who makes decisions about reforming schools? Who else should be included? What is the difference between education and schooling? What does culturally responsive teaching look like?
The program also includes:
- Virtual place-based educational work in the Olympia area (e.g. field trips);
- Virtual meetings with community elders/mentors, teachers, and youth;
- Virtual opportunities to "muck around" in local/regional archives
- Autobiographical and reflective writing on cultural, political, and racial identities; and
- For those interested, ongoing support for admission into the Masters in Teaching (MiT) program.
Community teaching: pasts, presents, and futures is open to aspiring educators as well as anyone with a stake or interest in education reform, educational justice, and/or the relationship between schools and society.
To successfully participate in this program, students will need an internet connection, access to Canvas and e-mail. (In addition to what students normally need - e.g. composition notebook, course readings.) Students can expect our remote teaching to be around 8 hours of synchronous (scheduled) coursework per week, using Canvas, Zoom and WeVideo. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous (in person or remote) participation if conditions require.
Greener Foundations: This program will incorporate Greener Foundations, a holistic course designed for first-time, first-year students. Faculty and staff collaborate to bring study skills, academic planning, health and wellness education, advising, and more into the classroom. More information can be found on the college website at Greener Foundations .
Course Reference Numbers
$25 for entrance fees