Celebrating the Life Work and Garn Press Books of Ken and Yetta Goodman

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“So!” Yetta Goodman says, in verbatim quotes incorporated into the dialogue in Save Our Children Save Our School, “Where do we go from here?”

“I want to talk about what we need to do together,” she says, “with parents, teachers, and concerned citizens to change what is happening in public education.”

“We need to demand that government and policy groups act on the basis of the best knowledge,” she says her voice growing louder.

“We must support classroom teachers as they resist harmful mandates,” she says. “We need to help parents support teachers, who know how to involve their students in authentic literacy experiences, as they inquire in excited ways about their learning discoveries.”

 “We can partner with parents to influence politicians concerning decisions,” she says. “We must challenge policy makers to consider knowledge over political agendas.”

Ken and Yetta Goodman have been advocates for teachers and children their entire lives. They are giants in whose footsteps we tread. They are fearless and they have never lost their passion for equity and justice in all the work they do in support of public schools.

There has never been a time when we have needed them more than we do now. They are both brilliant scholars and visionaries whose research and writing is as relevant today as it has always been.

At Garn Press we applaud them and invite you to get to know them better. Read their work, ponder the implications, and then act —

Great Women Scholars: Yetta Goodman, Maxine Greene, Louise Rosenblatt, Margaret Meek Spencer

Introduced and Edited by Denny Taylor

Women Scholars

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Garn Press Singles (ebook only)
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ASIN: B01CRB3YSY

Reading as a transactional process, reader-response, the ways texts teach, miscue analysis, kid watching, social responsibility and imagination, our existential existence, I am not yet, not yet, are all ideas that are part of who we are, but would not be without Yetta Goodman, Maxine Greene, Louise Rosenblatt, and Margaret Meek Spencer.

On Friday, September 21st 2001, ten days after 9-11, Yetta, Maxine, Louise, and Margaret spoke about their lives and work, what makes teaching sublime, and about the dark side of imagination. To keep hope alive, to continue to imagine life as it could be otherwise, and for the sake of future generations and ourselves, it is important that we read what they had to say and continue to learn from them.

The Smart One: A Grandfather’s Tale

By Ken Goodman

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Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-942146-11-7
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-942146-10-0 ($14.35 on Amazon)
eBook ISBN: 978-1-942146-09-4

The future is often foretold in stories of the past. As families flee the Debaltseve in Eastern Ukraine in 2015, Ken Goodman’s The Smart One: A Grandfather’s Tale takes us back to families fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe at the turn of the Twentieth Century. It is a compelling story of Jewish migration to America, which begins in Smorgon, now in Belarus, a former Soviet Republic, but at the time Smorgon was in Vilnius, a district of Lithuania, and a part of the Russian Empire. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with fine line drawings by Ray Martens.

The Smart One: A Grandfather’s Tale begins in 1901 and ends in 1906 and is told to us by little Duvid Mendel Gutman, who was Ken Goodman’s father. The story is filled with conflict over the political changes taking place, as well as the love and generosity of the people Duvid encounters, including the gypsies and Jews who live in the woods with their dancing bears to protect them. With Duvid to guide us we participate with his family in Sukkos, Shabbos, Chanukah, Purim, Passover and the High Holidays. By his side we witness the strike for a 12 hour day on May Day 1904 and the Revolution in Smorgon in 1905, and we feel with him and his family the heart wrenching distress at what happened to members of his family who participated in the workers’ resistance movement to the social injustice they were forced to endure.

“To understand who we are as Americans,” Ken Goodman writes, “we need to understand who we were and where we have been.”

What’s Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century?

By Ken Goodman

What's Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century?

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Print ISBN: 978-1-942146-04-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-942146-05-6

What’s Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century? includes a new introduction by Ken Goodman, commentary by Michael Rosen, and excerpts from a series of never published interviews conducted in 1992-1993 by Denny Taylor of renowned reading scholars who knew Ken and Yetta Goodman, and who spoke freely about their lives together as well as their research and teaching.

The insights of these scholars, who include Frank Smith and Jeanne Chall, are profound. They shift the political discourse of reading research and teaching young children to read. Ousting the propaganda, they shed light on what really happened to progressive educators and whole language teachers at the end of the 20th century.

The original version of Goodman’s best-selling book sold two hundred and fifty thousand copies, became a worldwide phenomenon, and was translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese. It became the handbook for the revolution for equality and justice for all children that occurred in classrooms around the world. Teachers were inspired to put aside commercial materials that were based on very limited understandings of reading and writing, and instead placed children and their very natural curiosity about language and learning at the center of classroom activity.

In the 1990’s, the agenda for public education shifted away from developmentally appropriate teaching and learning and prominently featured the goals of curriculum standardization, test-based accountability, and a reward-and-punish policy toward school performance. Although conservative ideology and the thirst for profit were factors at play, the real motive was to ensure that U.S. corporations would remain competitive in the 21st century global market. They would achieve this by turning schools into “workforce development systems” that would produce future workers with very narrowly defined literacy proficiencies and a predilection for passivity and compliance. This is the experience of most public school children today, whose lives and academic development are so negatively impacted by the Common Core.

There has never been a more critical time for teachers to read What’s Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century? It is as prescient today as it was when Goodman first wrote it.

 

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