From 2013-2019, I worked at a major educational publishing company assisting with photo-research and media asset tracking. I worked with editorial teams, art vendors, and photo-researchers to manange and complete art needs for textbooks. I focused on many different social studies textbook projects. What I grew to understand were the deeply problematic processes of creating educational materials that were used to influence and teach students in the United States.

In 2019, my son was attending 4th grade at Colonial Hills Elementary. While in a conference with his teacher, Kevin Acton, I noticed the social studies textbook the class was using to study that year. It was a title that I worked on as employee at the educational publishing company, so I was very familiar with the book and its contents. I asked Kevin if I could work with the students to “audit” their social studies textbook. He agreed. I made 9 newsprint copies of the textbook and students worked in groups of three. They were each given a red pen and asked to write down their opinions of content, imagery, etc. Meanwhile, Kevin and I facilitated discussions with the students about power dynamics and perception to help foster critical thinking. The project abruptly ended in the spring of 2020 when Covid-19 forced everyone into isolation.

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rebecca copper — based in the occupied Shawandassee Tula, Kaskaskia, and Myaamia lands also known as Cols. OH