Beacon Press: We Want to Do More Than Survive
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We Want to Do More Than Survive

Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

Author: Bettina L. Love

Drawing on personal stories, research, and historical events, an esteemed educator offers a vision of educational justice inspired by the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists.

Drawing on her life’s work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex.

To dismantle the educational survival complex and to achieve educational freedom—not merely reform—teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the imagination, determination, boldness, and urgency of an abolitionist. Following in the tradition of activists like Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, and Fannie Lou Hamer, We Want to Do More Than Survive introduces an alternative to traditional modes of educational reform and expands our ideas of civic engagement and intersectional justice.
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“A useful rejoinder, half a century on, to Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed; deserving of a broad audience among teachers and educational policymakers.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Offering readers a profoundly fresh perspective on teaching, Bettina Love breaks new ground. Using both the language of critical thinking and radical resistance, this book challenges and dares us all to teach for justice.”
—bell hooks

“Through unflinching and daring inquiry, Dr. Bettina Love has stepped out on faith to articulate our pain, suffering, and eternal search for joy. Her words resurrect the abolitionist credo of ‘education’ over ‘school.’ Because they are two different things, the question remains: can school be the place where education happens or do we need to radically rethink what we’re doing? Dr. Love’s work suggests that if we do not choose the latter, we are complicit in our own demise.”
—David Stovall, professor of African American studies and criminology, law, and justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, and coauthor of Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools

“This book is exactly what we need: a powerful indictment of our education system as an industry that robs dark children of their potential. Dr. Love challenges us to become abolitionists by holding ourselves and our colleagues accountable for our complicity in perpetuating the ‘educational survival complex.’ As educators, we must recognize the impact of whiteness on our classrooms, demand the impossible, welcome the struggle, and refuse to oppress dark children by calling out racism, recognizing our students’ cultures and histories, and showing them they matter to our communities and to our world. This isn’t about reform; it’s about freedom, and I’m moving from ally to coconspirator. Every educator needs to read this book, to freedom dream, and to challenge oppression with intersectional justice.”
—Mandy Manning, 2018 National Teacher of the Year

“This much-needed book is at once personal, analytic, poetic, exacting, and soaring. Dr. Bettina Love brilliantly weaves, in artisanal and scholarly fashion, the threads and fabric of history, the present, and the possible future. She weaves in a way that we are invited to understand what moving past survival means, in personal, communal, and nation-building ways. This book is a call to building a different future: one made for freedom.”
—Leigh Patel, author of Decolonizing Educational Research


We Want to Do More Than Survive

ISBN: 978-080706915-8
Publication Date: 2/19/2019
Size:5.5 x 8.5 Inches (US)
Price:  $24.95
Format: Cloth
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Will Ship On: February 2019
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