by Jay Gillen
Desegregation has failed. Schools filled with black and brown students have become plantations of social control, where the policing of behavior trumps the expanding of minds. Radical teachers and organizers in American public schools must help young people fashion an insurgency. That means, at the very least, seeing each student’s rebellion not as violation, but as communication.
Jay Gillen writes with passion and compassion about the daily lives of poor students trapped in institutions that dismiss and degrade them. In the spirit of Paulo Freire, and using the historical models of slave rebellions and Civil Rights struggles as guides, Gillen explains what sort of insurgency is needed and how to create it: the tools and techniques required to build social, intellectual, and political power.
This poetic manifesto of revolutionary “educational reform” belongs in the pocket of anyone who currently works in, suffers through, or simply cares about public schooling in this country.
Jay Gillen teaches English in a Baltimore public school and has worked with the Baltimore Algebra Project since 1995, building math literacy among youth of color and youth experiencing poverty in US public schools.
Bob Moses is an educator and Civil Rights activist. He founded the Algebra Project in 1982.