Community Helpers

  • Becoming Abolitionists by Derecka Purnell
    This book explores issues related to police reform through a commitment to create and support different answers to the problem of harm in society—and to reduce and eliminate that harm at its roots.
  • “Courage to Take on the Bull”: Cultural Citizenship in Fifth-Grade Social Studies by Anna Falkner & Katherina A. Payne for Theory & Research in Social Education
    This case study of one white fifth grade teacher and her two classes of culturally and linguistically diverse students shows how she created opportunities for students to use and learn about cultural citizenship.
  • A Dream and A Bus: Black Critical Patriotism in Elementary Social Studies Standards by Christopher L. Busey & Irenea Walker for Theory & Research in Social Education
    This article examines how Black resistance, activism, and intellectual agency are represented in K–5 social studies standards across the United States. Findings revealed that Black critical patriotism is limited to temporal freedom movements and emphasizes individual acts of patriotism as opposed to sociopolitical traditions of Black collective resistance. Researchers conclude with recommendations for elementary teachers to excavate standards in order to more accurately contextualize Black history and racialized citizenship.
  • From Margins to Center: Developing Cultural Citizenship Education Through the Teaching of Asian American History by Noreen Naseem Rodríguez for Theory & Research in Social Education
    By (re)defining the terms Asian American and American (citizen), this article explores how teachers enacted cultural citizenship education through the use of counternarratives and children’s literature that disrupted normative conceptualizations of citizen.
  • Kids Are Wondering About Police from the Portland Child Care Collective
    Kids often ask questions that may seem tricky for adults to answer— “is my favorite police officer on tv a bad guy?” “My [family member] is a police officer. Can I still love them?” “Police are always nice to me. Why are people mad at them?” These slides offer support for engaging students in honest, age-appropriate conversations with kids about the harmful role police can hold in our society.
  • “My Mom’s Job Is Important”: When Students Study Work by Matt Witt for Rethinking Schools
    Studying work/labor is a good way to encourage interaction between students, parents, community residents, and teachers. This article examines ideas for bringing people from the community into the classroom to talk about their work and sending students out to investigate.
  • Police As “Helpers”: Social Studies Content Standards and Dominant Narratives of Law Enforcement by Suneal Kolluri & Kimberly Young for Educational Researcher
    While police in marginalized communities are widely viewed as illegitimate, implicated in a long history of violence, and embedded in structures of oppression, K-12 social studies standards convey them as the opposite. In this article, researchers discuss the implications of this curricular dissonance for marginalized communities.
  • Repurposing Our Pedagogies from the Education for Liberation Network
    A recorded panel talk about abolitionist teaching in a global pandemic addresses issues of teaching about community helpers. Panelists include Stephanie Cariaga, Bettina Love, Sagnicthe Salazar, Carla Shalaby, Marylin Zuniga, Farima Pour-Khorshid, and Chrissy A. Z. Hernandez.
  • The Tensions Between Indigenous Sovereignty and Multicultural Citizenship Education by Leilani Sabzalian for Theory & Research in Social Education
    This article examines how the erasure of Indigenous citizenship, nationhood, and sovereignty permeates multicultural citizenship education. By focusing on Indigenous studies scholarship that complicates structural inclusion as the goal of citizenship education, the researcher advocates for citizenship education that explicitly counters colonialism and supports Indigenous sovereignty.
  • What Does It Mean to Be Patriotic? Policing Patriotism in Sports and Social Studies Education by Andrea M. Hawkman & Selena E. VanHorn for The Social Studies
    Authors discuss the relationship between social studies education and patriotism and share two lesson plans that examine the racialized and politicized experiences of three professional athletes: Gabby Douglas, Colin Kaepernick, and Megan Rapinoe.
  • Woke Wonderings: Police Abolition from Woke Kindergarten
    This short slideshow set of prompts helps young children imagine alternatives for keeping communities safe. Other resources on this site include read alouds and supports for early childhood educators.