Join the PAA Book Club!

PAA Book Club

For some time, PAA has been having our own discussions about poverty, race and educational opportunity. We’ve gathered a lot of very important facts and research, created some useful materials, and shared them in webinars and workshops.

We’d like more people to join us in this important conversation, and we thought that an online book club would be a good way to do that.

Much of the information we’ve been collecting has come from Dr. P. L. Thomas, a professor at Fordham University whose work was first brought to our attention by PAA Board member Nate Harris in a workshop Nate presented at our 2013 annual meeting. Dr. Thomas is a well-respected, prolific blogger and author on topics of schools and social justice.

Since then, Dr. Thomas has become a mentor to PAA, helping us define the impact of poverty, race and cultural bias on students’ education opportunity.
Diane Ravitch calls P. L. Thomas “the conscience of American education. He is our North Star.”

So, of course, the first book we’ve selected for our book club is Dr. Thomas’ newest book, “Beware the Roadbuilders: Literature as Resistance.” Dr. Thomas will be joining us for this session.

First book club date:
Tuesday, March 29 at 8 pm ET
Register here! 

We’re going to use Eventbrite for book club registration and the Zoom meeting program for the book club itself.

Once you register for this session via Eventbrite, we will send you the log-in information for the Zoom meeting.

You will need to download the free Zoom program at

Buy the book!

You can try your local library for a free copy or you can just buy the book. All Garn Press ebooks are 50% off this month, and that includes “Roadbuilders,” which is going for $4.95 on Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free app from Amazon to read a Kindle book on your phone or tablet.

About the book

Beware the Roadbuilders: Literature as Resistance was born out of blogging as an act of social justice. Over a period of about two years, many posts built the case against market-based education reform and for a critical re-imagining of public education. This book presents a coordinated series of essays based on that work, using a wide range of written and visual texts to call for the universal public education we have failed to achieve.

The central image and warning of the book—“beware the roadbuilders”—is drawn from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The book presents a compelling argument that billionaires, politicians, and self-professed education reformers are doing more harm than good—despite their public messages. The public and our students are being crushed beneath their reforms.

In the wake of Ferguson and the growing list of sacrificed young black men—Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner—the essays in this book gain an even wider resonance, seeking to examine both the larger world of inequity as well as the continued failure of educational inequity. While each chapter stands as a separate reading, the book as a whole produces a cohesive theme and argument about the power of critical literacy to read and re-read the world, and to write and re-rewrite the world (Paulo Freire).

Supporting that larger message are several key ideas and questions: What are the confrontational texts we should be inviting students to read, that anyone should read? Instead of reducing texts to the narrow expectations of New Criticism or “close reading,” how do we expand those texts into how they inform living in a free society and engaging in activism? How do traditional assumptions about what texts matter and what texts reveal support the status quo of power? And how can texts of all types assist in the ongoing pursuit of equity among free people?

Hope you can join us on the journey.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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