Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.


Drawing on her life’s work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex.

To dismantle the educational survival complex and to achieve educational freedom—not merely reform—teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the imagination, determination, boldness, and urgency of an abolitionist. Following in the tradition of activists like Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, and Fannie Lou Hamer, We Want to Do More Than Survive introduces an alternative to traditional modes of educational reform and expands our ideas of civic engagement and intersectional justice.


How would differentiate education that focuses on survival from that that focuses on freedom?

Love critiques Teach for America and other short residency programs in under resourced schools. What do you think about this critique, especially since many members of the equity movement have participated in the program?

Love talks about her life, background, and struggles in school. How familiar are you with the stories of our students and their families? What helps or prohibits you from this closeness with students and families?