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Moving Beyond “It’s a Personal Choice”

by Marsha  Rakestraw “It’s a personal choice.” If you’ve been a humane educator or changemaker for any length of time, you’ve probably heard those words frequently. You may even have said them yourself. We use them when we want to justify the choices we’re making and remove any sort of ethical consideration or right-or-wrong-ness from…

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Introducing Elementary Teachers to Humane Education

by Elizabeth O. Crawford, Ph.D. with Claire Roehl, M.Ed. Speaking at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden declared: “For me, being a teacher isn’t just what I do — it’s who I am. These issues are personal to me.” Like Dr. Biden, I believe that the teacher’s role is not limited…

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Zoe Weil’s New Book Calls for An Education Revolution

How can we create a just, healthy, and humane world? What is the path to developing sustainable energy, food, transportation, production, and other systems? What’s the best strategy to end poverty and ensure that everyone has equal rights? How can we slow the rate of extinction and restore ecosystems? How can we learn to resolve…

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14 Picture Books About Women Changemakers

by Marsha Rakestraw There is no shortage of examples of how sexism continues to pervade our society. One recent example is this video of women actors reading casting call character descriptions (most of which are pretty demeaning) for female characters. Numerous studies show how much gender imbalance continues to exist in business, politics, pop culture,…

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What Solutionary Learning Can Look Like: 4 Stories

Transforming our educational system won’t be easy, but I believe that it is the most important and strategic path toward creating more just, peaceful, and sustainable societies populated by healthy, happy, successful people. Because the world inevitably becomes what we teach, it’s up to each of us – whether we are teachers, school administrators, parents,…

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Tips for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books

by Marsha Rakestraw Stories are a powerful tool. They teach us about the world and ourselves; they influence our values; and they help shape our worldview. With children’s books, we’re usually looking for a good story to share with our children. Less often are we paying much attention to the kinds of messages those stories…

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We Must Develop Truly Solutionary Solutions

If you conduct a web search for “kid heroes” you’ll discover wonderful children doing great things. It is inspiring to read their stories, learn about their generosity, and know that kindness and compassion flourish. Yet you’ll likely discover that many of these children are involved in efforts that do not seek to change the systems…

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Why You Should Use These Images to Inspire Climate Change Action

by Marsha Rakestraw While images of polar bears clinging to bits of ice or of widespread deforestation might motivate those of us who are biophiliacs, many people find them uninspiring. Images can influence and galvanize us, but it matters what those images depict. When it comes to climate action, photos of polar bears and protesters…

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11 Children’s Picture Books That Shatter Gender Stereotypes

by Marsha Rakestraw Just as we like to pretend that we live in a post-racial society, many of us want to avoid talking about sexism, stereotypes, and gender inequities. After all, women are CEOs and scientists and MMA fighters. And men can (sometimes) express their feelings (in certain cases), and can be stay-at-home dads and…

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Resources for Integrating Social Justice Into Your Classroom

by Marsha Rakestraw As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., and his legacy, today, it’s important to remember that, with global challenges growing and violence, injustice, cruelty and destruction flourishing, it’s vital that we address issues of social justice (human rights, environmental preservation, animal protection, media, culture, and changemaking) with students — to help them…

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