I'd Rather Teach Peace
By: Colman McCarthy
“A welcome addition to the literature . . . belongs in every library."--Margaret Mary Reher in American Catholic Studies
“In 1982, popular Washington Post columnist McCarthy was asked to teach a course at Washington's School without Walls. Responding to the suggestion that he teach writing, McCarthy said, "I'd rather teach peace," and that's what he's been doing ever since in every kind of school all over the country. He teaches his students about the famous (Gandhi and King) and about those who should be famous (Dorothy Day and Jeanette Rankin). He tells them startling things (since the end of World War II, there has never been a democratically elected government as a result of U.S. military presence in a foreign country), and he encourages them to talk about what they're learning. Here he offers a kind of how-to manual, explaining how he gets kids to explore issues relating to peace and how he motivates them to think creatively. Instead of theory, he gives us practice --and a sense of the pleasure he takes from introducing his students to the joy of exploration. The book should be required reading for every educator in America. "--David Pitt, Booklist, American Library Association
When acclaimed Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy was invited to teach a course on writing at an impoverished public school in Washington, D.C., he responded, "I'd rather teach peace." Thus began the work he has passionately pursued for the past three decades: teaching courses on nonviolence, conflict management, and peace studies in high schools, colleges, and prisons.
I'd Rather Teach Peace chronicles one semester in six of these schools, as students find themselves challenged and inspired by an unconventional course and by a man who believes that if we don't teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence.
Colman McCarthy, a columnist for The Washington Post for 28 years, now directs the Center for Teaching Peace, part of the Washington Peace Center, a non-profit organization that helps schools establish peace studies programs.