The Passaic County Education Associations in New Jersey sent an email to members to “honor” Pride Month and to report on plans for the 2022-2023 school year. The email also discussed “the organized attack of right-wing groups on boards of education.” The email promoted a discussion on the topic of “Supporting LGBTQIA+ Students and Staff” that took place on June 13, 2022. The email also promoted an event titled “Educators for Palestine Summer Series” that is scheduled for July 2022. The series is hosted by the “Democratic Socialists of America BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group.”
The goal of this Palestine series is to “equip” teachers “with the knowledge and practices needed to bring the truth about Palestine into our classrooms.” The first event of the series will take place on July 9 and will focus on “practices educators can use to counteract this marginalization and create spaces where [Arab and Muslim] students feel safe, welcome, heard, and valued.” The title of this event is “Inclusion and Representation of Arab & Muslim Students.”
The next event in the series takes place on July 16 and is titled “Palestine: The History of a People.” The description of the event emphasizes the “heroic resistance to Zionism” and states: “In order to teach about Palestine authentically and critically, we must understand the history of its people and their heroic resistance to Zionism.” The purpose is for teachers “to bring the real story of Palestine to their classrooms.”
The third event in the series takes place on July 23 and is titled “Teaching Palestine With Humanity.” This event will focus on “colonialism.” The description of the event states: “Jody Sokolower of the Middle East Children’s Alliance’s Teach Palestine Project will help us answer that question with examples and strategies for a variety of educational contexts as Learning Toward Liberation discusses some best practices for helping students understand how Palestine fits into historical and contemporary discussions of concepts from settler colonialism to water rights.”
The fourth event of the series takes place on July 30 and is titled “Navigating Pitfalls and Backlash.” The event will help prepare teachers against the “backlash” that will occur from implementing these topics into classrooms. The description of the event states: “Before we take the next step of our journey, we need to be prepared for the all too frequent backlash we can face from various sources and directions. We will hear from several educators who have navigated this difficult part of the crucial work of teaching about Palestine, as well as from organizations with the expertise and resources educators will find helpful should they encounter opposition, as Learning Toward Liberation discusses important issues for educators of conscience.”
The form for people to fill out to join the series states that the full name of the event is “Educators for Palestine Series – Learning Toward Liberation: Rooting Our Pedagogy of Palestine in Humanity and Justice.” The form also states: “We are proud to launch our inaugural ‘Education Workers for Palestine’ series which will convene educators far and wide in a series of Zoom workshops to arm educators with the knowledge and practices necessary for bringing the truth about Palestine to their classrooms.”
The form also allows attendees to choose their preferred pronouns. These pronouns include “She/Hers,” “He/His,” “They/Them,” “She/They,” “He/They,” and “Other.” Attendees are also asked in the form to rate their “understanding of the history of Palestine and the Palestinian struggle for liberation” on a scale from one to five.