Lee has been a teacher educator for 25 years, working with both pre-service and in-service teachers on ways to enact equitable practices that provide high quality, challenging and supportive learning environments for all. While there have always been obstacles to realizing goals of equity and justice in schooling, the current test-driven, top-down control of teaching makes it harder than ever for teachers to be creative and proactive on behalf of the young people they teach.
Irina Blekhman became a secondary ESL teacher after immigrating to the United States from eastern Russia in 1991. She has been teaching in diverse urban public schools in the Pacific Northwest for the past fifteen years.
After 24 years as an elementary school classroom teacher, and eight years of teaching young students in the outdoors, Kevin Cothren retired in 2005. He is an active volunteer in his home school district, where he continues the fight.
Bette Diem is a teacher at the Ann Arbor Open School.
Stephanie D. H. Evergreen
Stephanie D. H. Evergreen is a research associate at The Evaluation Center and a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Evaluation at Western Michigan University. Despite her early misgivings, she returned to early childhood as a teacher for Head Start after education reform–based research in Senegal and Chiapas. Her current work continues to focus on supporting social justice by helping nonprofit organizations use evaluation to improve their efforts.
Ayla Gavins is the principal of Mission Hill School, a progressive Boston public school founded by Deborah Meier. She is a Ted Sizer Fellow, North Dakota Study Group participant and advocate for the protection of child centered education. She lives in Boston, MA with her family.
Francisco Guajardo is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, and is the executive director of the Llano Grande Center for Research and Development, a nonprofit organization based in Edcouch-Elsa High School and that is dedicated to developing local youth leadership.
Morgan Halstead is a Ph.D. candidate at University of Illinois at Chicago. She works as an academic coordinator for Grow Your Own Teachers at Northeastern Illinois University in collaboration with Logan Square Neighborhood Association. Her research is focused on activist mothering in education.
Kurt Love is assistant professor in the teacher education department at Central Connecticut State University. He taught middle school science in Hartford, West Hartford, and Cheshire, Connecticut. He researches the pressures and controls that teachers experience in their school settings to design and implement narrowed teaching practices because of the high risk test-taking culture.
Mimi Mazzarella is an over 25-year veteran of teaching high school English. She lives in East Meadow, Long Island, NY, and has two grown sons, Joey and Mikie. She is on a never-ending quest for fairness, peace, and compassion.
Brett Murphy has been teaching U.S. history for three years—two years in middle school and one year in high school. She became a teacher because it seemed like the most obvious way to affect change towards justice in the educational system. Although she quickly learned this was more easily said than done, she spends her time in and out of the classroom trying to make this a reality.
Monty Neill, Ed.D., is Executive Director of FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing, and Chair of the national Forum on Educational Accountability. His many publications address problems with testing, benefits of high-quality assessment, and resistance to high-stakes testing.
Santos Palomo taught eighth-grade Mathematics at Memorial Middle School, for the La Joya School District. Currently she is an assistant principal at J. D. Salinas Middle School.
Daniel Porter wrote his poem when he was a sophomore in high school. These days he continues his education in the fields and forests of upstate New York, as well as at in the more conventional context of a liberal arts college.
Jan Resseger serves as the lay Minister for Public Education and Witness in the United Church of Christ’s Justice and Witness Ministries, which has historically supported access for all children to public schools, their adequate funding, and their welcoming children from all races and cultures.
Doug Selwyn is an associate professor of education at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. He taught in the Seattle School District from 1984 to 2000, and was teaching at Antioch University in Seattle at the time of the initiative described in his piece. His most recent book is Following the Threads: Bringing Inquiry Research into the Classroom.
Candice Server is a third-year fourth-grade teacher at Kennelly School in Hartford, CT. She graduated with a BS and MA in Education from the University of Connecticut. She is interested in studying the discrepancy between urban, suburban, and rural education across the country.
Jesus Solis was an eighth grade student in Memorial Middle School in La Joya School District,Texas when he wrote his letter.
Erika Soto is a community activist in Logan Square and mother of two public schools students. She currently works with an after-school program that serves youth in health, academic and community programs. Erika Soto also volunteers her time in a variety of community organizing issues.
Lynn Stratton grew up in New York City, where she attended public schools and was routinely chastised for reading beyond her grade level. She attended large public university in Tampa, Florida where she taught a variety of writing courses for fifteen years, including remedial writing for college students. She left the educational system voluntarily and has worked in the private sector since then.
John Taylor has served as a teacher, administrator and superintendent in some of South Carolina’s most challenged school districts and has worked for the South Carolina Department of Education. Since retiring he has served as an interim superintendent in three additional South Carolina school districts. He wrote his parody while serving as Superintendent of the Lancaster County School District.
DeeDee Ulloa was an eighth-grade student in Memorial Middle School in the La Joya School District, Texas when she wrote this letter.
Lisa M. Weinbaum
Lisa M. Weinbaum is married with one daughter. She has taught middle school language arts for 21 years, having spent the past fifteen teaching in southern New Mexico. She is currently embarking on a new journey, teaching seventh-grade social studies, with an emphasis on social justice.