Responding to the conservative agenda of high-stakes testing, charter schools, and vouchers, Pockets of Hope offers an alternative vision of education reform. It provides an intimate portrayal of day-to-day teaching and learning in six educational projects that span both classroom and community-based settings, thereby giving readers a genuine understanding of the possibilities inherent in democratic education.
The six projects examined herein demonstrate the ways in which education can be an empowering experience for students, providing them with the academic, social, and political knowledge and skills they need to become active, engaged democratic citizens. Competent, creative, and courageous, the teachers in these projects challenge their students to think critically about provocative academic questions, political dilemmas, and social issues, and their students rise to the occasion, responding with curiosity and insight. By purposively connecting the world in which they and their students live with the work of their democratic classrooms, these teachers encourage students to explore how they can contribute to their communities, making learning relevant and exciting. The stories of teachers and students told here will inspire educators, students, parents, and others concerned with the future of education as they seek to counter the conservative rhetoric that shapes educational reform today.