Posts Tagged ‘#education’

Nov 02

No Fair! An Afternoon with the Social Justice in Early Childhood Study Group

By Gilad Shanan, with contributions from Delores Rita, Annie Stone, and Christine Harrell — One sunny September Saturday afternoon, I threw a few apples in my backpack and left my apartment. The crisp air seemed to wash away the worries of the week as I walked a few blocks south to meet up with a small group of friends and colleagues, the Social Justice in Early Childhood Study Group. My […]

“Childhood” at the Margins

By Amanda Hope — I nearly cried when Netflix sent me an email announcing that season three of Louie was available. Louie is one of very few television series that genuinely piques my interest. In all of its offbeat, melancholic and twisted Woody Allen-esque humor, Louie speaks to the many matters of contention that lay in the American social sphere. Louis C.K., […]

Drawing by Rachel Washington

Reflections on Three Workshops About Incarceration

By Bianca Diaz — Since June 2013, I have been doing an internship with Project NIA’s founder, Mariame Kaba, on writing and illustrating a children’s book for kids with incarcerated parents. Project NIA’s mission is to reduce our society’s reliance on arrest, detention and incarceration when addressing youth crime by providing opportunities for all of us to see that […]

Shame Hurts

By Nikki Zaleski — Scared Straight Last spring, a school program provider looking to hire peer educators to lead sex education workshops for her students asked if the youth facilitators I worked with were effective at “Scaring kids straight.” When I explained that the organization I work with avoids using shame and fear tactics in our workshops, the program […]

"Kids by the Tree", image by Patsy Diaz

Students and Teachers as Artists: Collaboration in the Classroom

By Nicole Marroquin with Jennifer Klonsky — In fall 2013, I initiated a project in collaboration with two groups of students: with nine students from the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) of Chicago, and a group of children at the Telpochcalli Elementary School in Little Village, a small neighborhood school specializing in dual-language immersion and arts integration. Our class, Collaboration: Art […]

Notes Based on a Story Corps Interview

By Lisa Angonese — After participating in a Story Corps interview, Lisa Angonese recounted from memory some of the questions and answers. Q: Describe your neighborhood and community. A: We live in a low-income neighborhood that is quickly being gentrified, with condos and family-owned business closing in. We feel ousted out of our own homes. The rents in Pilsen […]

Oct 16

What Children Learn When They Are Held in from Recess. Every day.

By Wade Tillet — “Why don’t we have recess?” my students would often ask me during my six-year stint as a Chicago Public Schools teacher. “Why don’t we have recess?” my own children would often ask me during my five-year stint as a Chicago Public School parent. Well, like any teacher unable to answer a question, I asked the […]

Oct 14

CPS School Closings and the Politics of Fear

By Michael Johnson — This essay was first published in 2013 on the Prison Culture blog at I have been closely following the latest round of school closings as a community organizer with the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE). Throughout the process, I have noticed a tendency by those arguing against the closures to rely on particular arguments […]

A Conversation on Schools, Safety, and Poverty from a Child and Parent’s Perspective

By Chiara Galimberti with Oona & Florence Winners — Chiara Galimberti: I sat down with my 13-year-old twin daughters Oona and Florence to talk about their experience of being kids in Chicago. As a parent it was sometimes painful to hear about how the dynamics of Chicago have hurt my daughters, and at the same time I felt heartened by their ability to imagine […]

Kids Are Not Goats

By César Hernández — I recently had an argument with my English teacher because she calls us “kids.”  I told her that I didn’t like her calling me a “kid” because it means baby goat—I AM NOT AN ANIMAL—and that’s what kid means. She didn’t stop calling us kids though and instead told us we are “naïve and stupid.” […]

Facebook image from a Chicago Student Union Protest, August 18

Interview with Organizers from the Chicago Student Union

By Ave Rivera, Owaldo Gomez & Ross Floyd interviewed by Jacob Klippenstein & Sarah Mendelsohn — The Chicago Student Union (CSU), the first high school student–organized union in the history of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system, formed over the months following the controversial closing of 49 elementary, middle, and high schools by the city of Chicago Board of Education in spring 2013. Initiated, led, and represented by students from high […]

AgainstEquality - image by Ryan Conrad
Aug 10

Occupying Gay Rights: Against Equality and the Neoliberal Project of “Equality”

By Karma Chávez, Ryan Conrad, and Yasmin Nair, for the radical queer collective Against Equality — Against Equality, a radical queer editorial collective, engages with a rich, dense queer history where queers and many allies fought for justice and against war, the confines of gender norms and marriage, and the prison industrial complex.

Jul 23

Inhabiting and Learning Together: Tracing the first five years of AREA Chicago

By Daniel Tucker — An earlier version of this essay was written in May 2011 for a “Pedagogic Notebook” edited by Sitesize (Spain), but was revised in March 2012 for publication in “Healthy social movements need spaces for learning and experimentation, healthy democracies need wise citizens to make wise decisions about resources and politics, and healthy people need […]

Jan 08

Beatz and Rhymez: The Mighty Roar of Kuumba Lynx

By Bonnie Fortune — “If we the people protest for the people, the reflex will be lethal! We can make a change!” says sixteen-year-old fm Supreme, as she hops off the Summer Fest Hip-Hop Arena stage in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Using her mc-ing name, fm Supreme tells me that participation in one of Kuumba Lynx ‘s After School Matters […]

Convert Your Car

By AREA Staff — Introduction This year at University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Champaign- Urbana, about twenty students in the Social Advocacy II class focused on vegetable oil as alternative fuel for the semester project. There were five basic components to this project: converting a car to run on Straight Vegetable Oil (svo), researching and producing biodiesel, […]

Position on Renaissance 2010

By Teachers for Social Justice — Text Originally from, January 6, 2005 Teachers for Social Justice is a network of Chicago area teachers committed to critical, anti-racist, multicultural, participatory, democratic education. We believe that real school improvement requires the full participation of those with the most stake in high quality public education for all students –families, students, community members, and […]

A Lesson In Good Intentions

By Anonymous — This spring marked the end of an era in Chicago’s arts educational programming. After almost fifteen years of creative history, Chicago’s prestigious Gallery 37 (g37) has been merged into the larger, administrative structure of the After School Matters (asm) organization. Though it remains to be seen whether this merger will be friendly or hostile, the […]

On June 18th

By Amanda Torres — On June 18th, 2005, twenty teenagers from Young Chicago Authors (YCA) walked next door to face the “Axe Effect” ad erected not even a week after the YCA Mural , a series of nine huge panels created by the artist Chris Silva in partnership with community youth , was torn down by developers who are […]

Inheriting The Grid #1

By Daniel Tucker — AREA Begins In the mid-spring months of 2005, I started meeting regularly with Jim Duignan, an artist and educator who has been initiating a wide range of collaborative projects under the name of the Stockyard Institute for the last ten years. I had been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with Stockyard for some time, […]

Downtown Decentered

By Faith Agostinone Wilson — The images and visuals used within this curriculum unit focus on Waukegan, Illinois, a city of 88,000 people located on the shores of Lake Michigan, 40 miles north of Chicago. However, it is hoped that area educators, activists, and artists will collaborate on similar visual sociologies within their own neighborhoods and communities in the Chicago […]

Growing Home

By Cassie Fennell — At the height of the summer, foodies jam Chicago farmers’ markets in pursuit of fresh fruit and heirloom vegetables. For nine years, the Chicago non-profit Growing Home has worked to transform perceptions that these markets are solely the hunting grounds of the well-heeled, by providing employment opportunities for homeless and low-income Chicagoans. Recruits of this […]

Introducing: Chicago Freedom School

By Kristen Cox — The early Civil Rights movement was led, in part, by unsung heroes in their teens. In 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Johns organized a walkout and twoweek strike at Moton High School in Farmville, VA. This case became one of five reviewed by the Supreme Court when it declared segregation unconstitutional in the 1954 Brown v. Board […]

Introducing: School Without Walls

By Ryan Hollon — If oppression is the force that divides, then solidarity is the practice of reclaiming our unions and bonds. In a city like Chicago— where neighborhood boundaries, gang turfs, and racial segregation keep people separated from one another—it is difficult to see all the ways that we are connected. Occasionally there are those moments when we […]

Missing Landfills

By Therese Quinn — While working at a local museum, a label in an exhibit I developed was censored by the museum’s director. She objected to a quote I included as a caption to a photo of an environmental activist working on toxic waste clean-up in one low income community. The activist, a woman with a history of noted […]

Contested Chicago: Pilsen and Gentrification

By Paul Lloyd Sargent — The term “parachuting” is probably familiar to anyone who has ever worked on a community-specific public project. It is a word that public artists and activists alike dread, as it is usually remarked in derision: it poses questions of authenticity, legitimacy, and sincerity, and critiques the artist’s role within, or commitment to, the community for […]

Lowell Peace Makers

By Paul Fitzgerald — I first stepped through the 110-year-old front doors of Humboldt Park’s James Russell Lowell Elementary in September of 2005 as a new volunteer with the Northwestern University Settlement House’s AmeriCorps Project YES! program. The Lowell administration had announced a number of ambitious new projects in confronting their second year of probation under the No Child […]

Contested Space

By Joanie Friedman — This essay was originally published in the summer 2007 issue of Critical Planning, the UCLA Journal of Urban Planning. (Vol. 14: Spatial Justice) Introduction Education theorists such as Michael Apple and Henry Giroux analyze education’s role in the perpetuation of the economic status quo in urban America (Giroux 1988; Apple 1991; 2001). Often called “reproduction […]

On the Latino Union: An interview with Eric Rodriguez

By Daniel Tucker & Eric Rodriquez — In July AREA Chicago interviewed Eric Rodriguez, an organizer on the Northwest side in Albany Park with Latino Union’s worker center at 3416 W. Bryn Mawr. Can you describe the process of how LU spreads information both internally and externally about a new challenges or policies? How does that internal spreading of information then develop […]

DIY Education: Talking with homeschooling parents

By Jessica Pupovac & Families — In a city where school shootings are cause for nationwide alarm, where teachers complain of policing more than educating and, in some neighborhoods, where the graduation rate hovers just over fifty percent, parents of all income levels, races and backgrounds are taking the reigns back from the public school system and deciding to teach their […]

How We Learn: Building an Educated City

By Members of Area, Mess Hall, Platypus, Free greek, Chicagoland/Calumet Underground Railroad Efforts, Bronzeville Historical Society, Chicago Women's Health Center, The Odyssey Project, Neighborhood Writing Alliance — Daniel Tucker, AREA Chicago: This exhibition, just to give you a little context, is called The Pedagogical Factory: Exploring Strategies for an Educated City. It was organized by the Stockyard Institute. Area decided to initiate a series of programs entitled How We Learn that would go along with the exhibitions. The way this particular forum […]

On Special Education in CPS: An interview with Paula Ladin

By Nance Klehm & Paula Ladin — Paula Ladin is a special ed. teacher and a mother of three young children. She has recently taught at Columbia College in the Special Ed. Teacher Certification Program. She is currently trying to convince her husband to get some egg-laying chickens in their backyard and is looking for a job. (During our interview, Paula was […]

On a Field Trip to the US Social Forum: An Interview with Anne Rapp

By Daniel Tucker & Anne Rapp — This summer, Anne Rapp of DePaul University took a class of four undergraduate students to the first ever United States Social Forum (USSF) in Atlanta, Georgia. AREA Chicago interviewed Rapp via email about the link between the classroom and the social movements that make up and support the USSF. You have said that the way […]

On Teachers for Social Justice: An Interview with Pauline Lipman and Rico Gustein

By Daniel Tucker, Rico Gutstein & Pauline Lipman — AREA Chicago Interviews Rico Gutstein and Pauline Lipman (of Teachers for Social Justice) about some recent developments in social justice teacher networking in Chicago. This has been an incredible year already for radical education gatherings and networking opportunities in Chicago. There was the new Social Justice Student Expo at UIC, the Education for Liberation conference […]

Love Over Fear: A Lesson in Community

By Irina Zadov — Upon my arrival to Chicago, a friend drove me through Cabrini Green. He explained its infamy, as well the city’s plan to demolish the decrepit public housing and turn the area into a mixed income community. A year later, I would set foot into this neighborhood for the first time, as I embarked on my […]

Local and National Organizing by Radical Teachers

By Faith Agostinone-Wilson — A kindly first grade teacher is not most people’s idea of a revolutionary, but that may be because the radical history of teacher organizing has been forgotten. In Chicago during the early 1900s, teacher and activist Margaret Haley led a fight for teachers’ rights as Vice President of the Chicago Federation of Teachers (CFT) with […]

Learning to Ride a Bike: Mechanic Skillshares

By Beth Gutelius & Sarah Miller — It’s difficult to know whether or not the number of people riding bikes in Chicago is growing, since no one counts or keeps track. Anecdotally, cyclists—including those writing this article—will tell you they see more and more folks, especially in the spring. Also growing rapidly are the number of places in Chicago where cyclists can […]

How Real Does it Get? Editorializing on Critical Pedagogy, Wankstas, and the Fear of Teaching Like a Girl

By Erica Meiners and Therese Quinn — Critical pedagogy can and often does make invisible the daily labors of the primarily female force teaching in our public schools and in many of the teacher education programs at colleges and universities, while glorifying the work of a few, mostly male and white academicians. Just like the highly paid male chefs (when the majority of the world’s unpaid daily preparers of food are women) or the valorized male artists (when everyday domestic arts are overwhelmingly practiced, uncompensated, by women), the critical pedagogue is only possible through the erasure of the intersections of gender, race, power and privilege.

Ellen Gates Starr

By Sarah Alford — How did an activist, labor organiser, teacher, and artist, especially one with a name like Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940), manage to escape everlasting renown in Chicago history? She made headlines in her own day; she ran for political office, was arrested on the picket line, was a bookbinder, and co-founded some of Chicago’s most important […]

Can Experimental Cultural Centers Replace MFA Programs?

By Mike Wolf — While it starts in a place relatively remote from Chicago, this text focuses on Mess Hall, an experimental cultural center in the city’s Rogers Park neighborhood.    In June 2006, I was on a long walk in southern Minnesota. While spending a luxurious night at a Best Western in Cannon Falls, I caught a brief report […]

Chicago Teaching Artist Collective

By Sarah Atlas — In the summer of 2004, born out of lack of support and networking available for teaching artists in the city, eight Chicago artists created the Chicago Teaching Artist Collective (CTAC). The group wanted an organizing body to address the specific concerns in the field of artist as teacher.     These concerns consist of lacking art […]