Books for changing the world

Education Justice: A Reading List

Can schools and universities be places for liberation or are they destined to remain institutions that reflect the oppressions and segregation of society? With the Covid-19 crisis upending education across the country, we've put together a reading list of books dealing with the realities of education under capitalism as well as radical histories of, and possibilities for, other ways of teaching and learning.

A meditation on freedom-making in the academy for women scholars of color.

This easy-to-use guide explains how to recruit, nourish, and fortify writers of color through innovative reading, writing, workshop, critique, and assessment strategies.

Speaking Out of Place helps us find value and inspiration in others who have made change in the world where such things were not supposed to be possible.

Black Lives Matter at School connects thousands of educators around the country who are fighting racial and economic inequality in schools. 

Voices from the growing movement of teachers, students, and parents organizing against high-stakes testing.

José Vilson, a teacher from an urban school composed of black and poor youth, challenges racism and inequality in the classroom.

In this incisive collection of essays, educator and activist Mark Naison draws on years of research on Bronx history and his own experience on the front lines of the education wars to unapologetically defend teachers and students from education “reform” policies that undermine their power and creativity.

Based on their own experiences, teachers across the country offer ideas on resolving the crisis in education.

Lois Weiner argues that teachers who care passionately about teaching and social justice need to unite the energy for teaching to efforts to self-govern and transform teacher unions. Drawing on research, her experience as a public school teacher, and as a union activist, she explains how to create the teachers unions public education desperately needs.

Wayne Au traces his own development as a Marxist educator, as well as the development of Marxist educational theory. Arguing that dialectical materialism is at the heart of Marxist theory,  Au uses dialectics to not only analyze the relationship between capitalism and schools, but also to understand teaching, learning, and curriculum.

A classic work of radical educational theory and a progressive economic vision of equity and equality in America's schools.

Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education reveals how neoliberal policies, practices, and modes of material and symbolic violence have radically reshaped the mission and practice of higher education, short-changing a generation of young people.

In this rousing and insightful participant's account, Hal Draper recounts the now iconic events of the Free Speech Movement. From the impromptu speak out atop a police car after the administration decided to clamp down on students "distributing communist literature," to the inspiring Student Strike that shut down the entire campus, Draper's narrative captures the energy and dynamism of each twist and turn in the struggle, and offers invaluable analysis along the way.

When the Welfare People Come” exposes the history and politics of the US child welfare system—from the “orphan trains” and Indian boarding schools to current practices in child protective investigations, foster care, and mandated services—arguing that it constitutes a mechanism of control exerted over poor and working-class parents and children.

In this lively collection of essays, professor and author Howard Zinn discusses a wide range of historical and political topics, from the role of the Supreme Court in U.S. history to the nature of higher education today.

Steven Salaita’s controversial firing by the University of Illinois provoked a national conversation about academic freedom and the question of Palestine. In this book, Salaita combines personal reflection and political critique to shed new light on his controversial termination. He situates his case at the intersection of important issues that affect both higher education and social justice activism.

A timely and incisive handbook that argues academic boycott is a vital component of the struggle against Israeli Apartheid.

In-depth ethnographic studies of universities as rapidly evolving, key contemporary institutions, interrogating in particular the fast-growing private sector.

This volume argues that to understand knowledge itself requires analyzing the social and historical context from which said knowledge springs.

Continue to our Teaching in the time of COVID-19 reading list...

Continue to our Haymarket Books for Young Readers list...