The Power in the Room: Radical Education Through Youth Organizing and Employment

Beacon. Sept. 2019. 200p. notes. ISBN 9780807064542. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807064702. ED
Teacher and activist Gillen (Educating for Insurgency: The Roles of Young People in Schools of Poverty) discusses how peer-to-peer education and entrepreneurship can create strong bonds between young people and their communities. His central example is the Baltimore Algebra Project (BAP), a literacy program in which Baltimore students are paid to tutor their peers in math. Gillen, an adult facilitator in the program, argues that BAP has succeeded because of its employment of young people; its emphasis on advocacy, leadership, and education; and its connection and value to the community. Others seeking to replicate BAP’s efforts, says Gillen, should pay close attention to these elements. He refers to the work of BAP founder Bob Moses, who wrote the book’s foreword; Moses’s Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project would pair well with this work.
VERDICT Readers interested in the intersection of political activism, economics, community, and education will find ample food for thought in Gillen’s insightful call for action.
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