We Are Kindling Schist because in U.S. education, "it was always burning." Read. Comment. Submit.

ANGER’S PLACE by Your Co-Editors

Debbie:  When you and I first began We Are Kindling Schist, my primary motivation was anger. I was angry at what I was facing at the school where I worked at the time, and I was trying to make sense of it all, to decipher how this professional anger reflected other events in my life, […]

GETTING OUT By Elizabeth Stapleton

At the alternative high school in a midwestern city where I’d been working for five years, I had developed a unit on social activism through letter writing, introducing my students to various issues in the U.S. and around the world in which I’d hoped they’d take an interest and feel moved to speak out. Each […]

TWOS By Debbie Franks

  At every faculty meeting we discuss: how to get the Twos to Three? That’s what it comes down to in AYP. We hardly even whisper any more: it’s all a bunch of crap. It’s meaningless. By 2014 every public school in the country will have Failed, not having moved a large enough percentage (100) […]


The boy was so irritating to me. He was often sent to me in my role as disciplinarian. Last year it seemed that only I could calm him down, reason enough with him to get him to go back to class, and get him to focus at least minimally. This year, his behavior was better, […]

LEARNING 1 By Debbie Franks

    One recent night my teenaged daughter, her friend, and my friend and I attended a talk at our local church by a Professor of Religion from Marlboro College. Our welcoming pastor, my neighbor, was enthusiastic as she introduced him. This young man then spoke for well over an hour about the history of […]

MIRANDA SPEAKS by Miranda Ryther

I’m eighteen years old and…” sfmush, ptpsss sounded fingers, lips, teeth and gums. Bloody fists won’t bode well for my plea of innocence. I was just so sick of this kid flappin’ her tongue every day with her nonsense. Now for a couple more slapping cracks to that slack jaw of hers and I really […]


A recent encounter with a young bank teller reminded me of what an enigma I am. I have put my stipend check each month in this same bank for over two years. I’ll explain stipend later, for I do realize that is an ambiguous term for many. This young man has often received my deposit. […]

PARENTS AND BABIES by Elizabeth Stapleton

Typical of the graduates from the alternative high school where I taught for a handful of years were Calvin and Sondra, who visited many times after graduating, seeming to have few other places to go. In his second year as a senior, after years of our cajoling him through his fear of the future or […]