The Guardian’s Teacher Takeover Project

Today, the Guardian US launched a three-day guest-edited series called Teacher Takeover. The series highlights the crisis in America’s classrooms and the activism of teachers. Addressing low teacher pay and underfunded schools, the teacher’s perspective is shared and based on their protest movement.

As part of the project, The Guardian features a photo essay called How I Survive: American Teachers and their second jobs. Those jobs include moonlighting at an oyster farmer, driving for Uber or selling books at Barnes & Noble.

Considering the camera news cycle is filled with the shiny new bodies, lenses and gear specs, it’s a good time to share stories about what people use those cameras for and photojournalism focusing on what’s affecting millions of parents and their children.

The full announcement is below. The featured photo attached to this story is by Peter Rad for Guardian US.

The Guardian launches “Teacher takeover:” teachers to guest edit US edition to highlight the crisis in American schoolrooms and rising teacher activism

Three day project from 5-7 September addresses low teacher pay, underfunded schools and a new teacher-led protest movement from the teachers’ perspectives

  • The Guardian US partners with local publications in 4 of the states where teachers are paid the least
  • The Guardian US to partner with Refinery29 for a special Money Diaries series focused on teachers

Today The Guardian US announces the Teacher Takeover, a 3-day editorial series to highlight the teachers and issues at the heart of the teacher activism that has spread across the country since the spring.

The project is a collaboration with a team of teachers from across the country, who have helped commission stories and photography projects, and written first person essays and opinion pieces.

Guardian editors first met with a team of over a dozen teachers at the American Federation of Teachers convention in Pittsburgh in early July. Teachers shared stories from their classrooms —and helped Guardian editors develop themes for the project and story ideas around the biggest challenges they face as educators. The Guardian also received suggestions for the project from over 100 additional teachers through a combination of interviews and online callouts.

In addition to multiple pieces of original reporting The Guardian US will be inviting teachers to contribute their own stories to help build a manifesto for change: What we want – the things they need to solve the crisis in schools. The Guardian will be soliciting contributions and publishing them in real time on a special live blog and will present the final document to President Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Each day of the project will focus on a different theme, including teacher pay, wage stagnation, school funding, classroom poverty and teacher activism.

A selection of stories launching on day one of the project include:

  • Obama’s ed secretary: How weak schools serve Trump’s agenda by Arne Duncan
  • New data released by The Guardian from the Brookings Institution shows that even as teacher pay has declined by nearly 5% since 2009, teachers are more qualified and better educated than ever before
  • How I Survive: Teachers and their second jobs. Photo essay: The oyster farmer, the Uber driver, the Barnes and Noble bookseller – the things teachers do to pay the bills
  • The job Americans Won’t Take: Teaching: Amid escalating teacher shortages, school districts are recruiting teachers from the Philippines. Report from the Arizona district where teacher shortages cut deep and they are employing Filipinos to fill the gap.
  • Sarah Smarsh, award-winning author, on the Kansas teacher who changed the course of her life – and why school underfunding means working-class kids will never get that opportunity again. Smarsh and the teacher will soon meet for the first time in 30 years —running Thursday

The Guardian US will also collaborate with publishing partners from four of the states where teachers are paid the least. Partners include Oklahoma Watch (Oklahoma), Charleston Gazette-Mail (West Virginia), The Phoenix New Times (Arizona) and The Jackson Advocate (Mississippi). Partners will co-publish selections from the series.

John Mulholland, editor, Guardian US said:

“It’s unfathomable that some American teachers depend on food pantries because a teaching salary can’t support their family—and that they have to dip into their own pockets to fund basic supplies for their classes and schools. America seems not to value the people charged with educating its children.”

We wanted to tell the story of shockingly low teacher pay and the chronic underfunding of US education through the eyes of the teachers living it every day—and explain how it has led to this powerful wave of teacher activism that’s sweeping the country.

Leave a Reply