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Queering Elementary Education


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Mathew's Lullaby Part 3 Foundational Issues Chapter 4 Teaching Queerly: Some Elementary Propositions Chapter 5 Why Discuss Sexuality in Elementary School? Chapter 6 Pestalozzi, Perversity, and the Pedagogy of Love Part 7 Children's Social and Sexual Development Chapter 8 Stonewall in the Housekeeping Area: Gay and Lesbian Issues in the Early Childhood Classroom Chapter 9 Forbidden Fruit: Black Males' Constructions of Transgressive Sexualities in Middle School Chapter 10 Reading Queer Asian-American Masculinities and Sexualities in Elementary School Chapter 11 "My Moving Days": A Child's Negotiation of Multiple Lifeworlds in Relation to Gender, Ethnicity and Sexuality Chapter 12 What Happens When Kids Grow Up?: The Long-term Impact of an Openly Gay Teacher on Eight Students' Lives Part 13 Curriculum Chapter 14 How to Make "Boys" and "Girls" in the Classroom: The Heteronormative Nature of Elementary School Science Chapter 15 Using Music to Teach Against Homophobia Chapter 16 Locating a Place for Gay and Lesbian Themes in Elementary Reading, Writing, and Talking Chapter 17 "It's OK to be Gay:" Interrupting Straight Thinking in the English Classroom Chapter 18 How Teachers Understand Gay and Lesbian Content in the Elementary Social Studies Curriculum Part 19 Family Chapter 20 Children of the Future Age: Lesbian and Gay Parents Talk about School Chapter 21 Love Makes a Family: Controversy in Two Massachusetts Towns Chapter 22 Supporting Students/Responding to Gay and Lesbian Parents Chapter 23 Placing Children First: The Importance of Mutual Presence in the Elementary Classroom Part 24 Educators and Their Allies Chapter 25 Activism Within: Working with Tension Chapter 26 Success Sories of a Fat, Biracial/Black, Jewish, Lesbian Assistant Principal Chapter 27 Lesbian Mother and Lesbian Educator: An Integrative View of Affirming Sexual Diversity Chapter 28 When "Queer" and "Teacher" Meet Chapter 29 Confronting Homophobia in a Multicultural Education Course Chapter 30 Afterword Chapter 31 Bibliography of Resources

About the Author

William J. Letts IV is a lecturer in science education at the Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia. James T. Sears is an independent scholar. He is currently a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Provides an in-depth examination of the ways children's lives are hurt by homophobia and an inspiring array of strategies educators can use to turn this problem around. A must read for parents, educators, and administrators alike. -- Debra Chasnoff, Film Director, It's Elementary - Talking About Gay Issues in School
This brilliant anthology is crucial reading for anyone committed to ensuring that our schools become physically and emotionally safer and more educationally relevant for students and staff of all sexual and gender identifications...Destined to become a classic, Queering Elementary Education offers a well-reasoned way out of the pedagogical and curricular restraints that have inhibited true liberatory education in our elementary schools. -- Warren J. Blumenfeld, Editor, Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price Editor, International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies
This courageous collection of essays presents an articulate and passionate challenge to the repressive state apparatuses such as schools that professionally administer homophobia and reproduce state-sponsored heterosexism. Will Letts, Jim Sears and their contributors have provided educators with compelling arguments supporting gay and lesbian perspectives, multiculturalism, and gender and class equality. This volume marks the beginning of the queering of critical pedagogy and is long overdue. -- Peter McLaren, Honorary Chair Professor and Director of the Center for Critical Studies, Northeast Normal University, China
These path-breaking essays are addressed to every present and future educator who would model honesty, civility, fairness, and respect for their students, colleagues and communities.... Provides readers with standards for achieving the kind of dignity that is rooted in self-worth and esteem for others and encourages us to imagine societies with more democratic space for all. This collection does all of this, and is also fun to read. -- Sandra Harding, Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education and Info Studies, UCLA
Queering Elementary Education is a ground-breaking book. Here we have, for the first time, a wide-ranging collection of articles on sexuality and elementary (or, in British terms, primary) schooling. Together and individually, the chapters of this book make a compelling case for Queering Elementary Education, to the benefit of all children in all their diversity. With sections on children, the curriculum, educators and families, the book offers a rich resource of teachers, student teachers and teacher educators and for anyone with an interest in sexuality, social justice and schooling. -- Deborah Epstein
As an educator and gay parent, I found this collection fascinating and inspiring, to be widely read and widely taught. -- William F. Pinar, St. Bernard Parish Alumni Endowed Professor, Louisiana State University
An important new anthology.... The articles in this book are arranged in just such a way that they offer us some very astute 'queer' observations while, almost simultaneously, providing us with very practical suggestions.... An incredible accomplishment. -- Glorianne M. Leck, Youngstown State University (From the Afterward)
In this groundbreaking volume grounded to cutting edge scholarship that is plainly written, Will Letts and James Sears have pointed us down the path to a brighter tomorrow. Here they bring together a diverse range of writers who offer both theoretical constructs and practical advice to those who believe our schools should actively foster the values of justice. Queering Elementary Education gives us tools we need to move ahead. -- Kevin Jennings, Executive Director, Gay/Lesbian/Straight Education Network (From the Foreword)
Queering Elementary Education is an important contribution to nourishing the ethical heart of teaching, reminding us how anemic and cold and partial our embrace of our students has too often been. For some readers this collection will be an affirmation, for others a surprise and challenge. But it is a book for all teachers and parents, indeed for anyone concerned with the healthy development of children and schools. And, yes, it has an agenda: it stands straight and strong for fairness, for respect, for humanity, for simple decency. Jane Addams and the dauntless women of Hull House extended our sense of what childhood might be one hundred years ago. Addams asked: How shall we respond to the dreams of youth? This book is built around the same question, extending it in critical and powerful ways. -- William Ayers, educational theorist, author, and distinguished professor of education and senior university scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Probably no other title in the pantheon of liberationists literature will evoke more controversy than Queering Elementary Education. Queering Elementary Education is the first carefully constructed work written for educators who are ever on the front lines in the worldwide struggle to eliminate prejudices born of societal ignorance. This extraordinary book was conceived in the summer of 1997 when its editors envisioned what one of them, William J. Letts, IV called: 'a project that would take into account the lifeworlds of children, their families, their teachers, and their schools.' -- Jack Nichols * Gay Today *
Queering Elementary Education is a must-read for all teachers and, perhaps more importantly, for preservice teachers. It is a smart, clearly written collection of essays exploring the complex interactions of class, race, gender, and sexual orientation. . . . Begins to map out some solutions to the homophobia in American schools. -- M. J. Carbone, Muhlenberg College * CHOICE *

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