• We Want to Do More Than Survive

  • Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
  • By: Bettina Love
  • Narrated by: Misty Monroe
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (780 ratings)

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We Want to Do More Than Survive

By: Bettina Love
Narrated by: Misty Monroe
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award

Drawing on personal stories, research, and historical events, an esteemed educator offers a vision of educational justice inspired by the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists.

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.

©2019 Bettina Love (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A useful rejoinder, half a century on, to Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed; deserving of a broad audience among teachers and educational policymakers.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Through unflinching and daring inquiry, Dr. Bettina Love has stepped out on faith to articulate our pain, suffering, and eternal search for joy. Her words resurrect the abolitionist credo of ‘education’ over ‘school.’ Because they are two different things, the question remains: can school be the place where education happens or do we need to radically rethink what we’re doing? Dr. Love’s work suggests that if we do not choose the latter, we are complicit in our own demise.” (David Stovall, professor of African American studies and criminology, law, and justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, and co-author of Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools

“This text is helpful for gaining a better grasp of oppression and what teachers can do about it.” (Library Journal)

What listeners say about We Want to Do More Than Survive

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Must read for all parents and educators

I would have preferred this to have been read by Dr. Love but I got over that. I kept stopping the book to take notes. This may be one hat is better in hard copy. A must read. As a 20 year veteran educator, there were lots of new concepts that I hadn’t thought about. Should be included in all teacher-trainer programs.

6 people found this helpful

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Had potential...

This book is certainly speaking about an important message. My primary complaint is that I do not think that it is written in a manner that either 1) gives people already knowledgeable in the area new information, or 2) eases newcomers to the topic. The author seemed to provide details where I needed none in some places, while staying high level and/or making unsubstantiated claims in other places where details would have strengthen the argument. While I found myself getting emotional and resonating with certain parts of the book, I was ultimately confused with whom the intended audience was.

At best this book could do well in a book club-type setting where people who otherwise do not interact with each other can have a reason to gather around and talk about some important issues of this world. Incidentally, a book club is exactly why I read this book in the first place. But as someone who has read So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo, I would rather be doing a book club on that book.

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necessary read for 2020

it might take some time to digest, but this is a necessary read for 2020

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If I could go back in time

I wish I’d had this book, this teacher, this eye and mind opening words fill my preservice education-if I could go back and recraft my undergrad and grad courses. I can’t go back, so going forward I will strive be an abolitionist teacher-friend-community member-colleague. Thank you Dr. Love.

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Everything is racist

This book is just a rant that blames everything bad in education on whiteness and racism. You can acknowledge the legacy of racism in America without absolving people of personal responsibility. This author's answer for everything is racism. No tangible solutions are given for what needs to be done to fix schools.

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Every single human on this planet should read this book!

Bettina Love shares, describes, explains, debunks and educates! To my fellow educators of ALL children, and to all mothers of brown and black children, I beg you, THIS IS A MUST READ! AN ABSOLUTE MUST! Due to my teaching and grad student schedule, I put this book in the queque but my soul new better- I finally got the audiobook and I AM ABOUT TO LISTEN TO IT FOR THE SECOND WHILE while making a vegan cruelty free Thanksgiving dinner! And I know that I will go back again and listen while I read so that I can annotate, journal notes and quotes and share what I’ve learned! So I can live in deeper action for the advocacy, protection, education, and empowerment of my students, children and everyone I love! And it starts with me! On this 11/24/22, I am thankful for this land and remember their history. And I am thankful for Dr. Bettina Love!

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Great for future teachers (especially white people)

This book lays out so many complex subjects so beautifully and in such a digestible way. Love shares anecdotes as well as statistics and facts, all of which serve the narrative effectively. Would highly recommend for anyone in the education system but also for anyone who wants to confront their own biases.

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Bps…. Black people suffer

This book has confirmed why I advocate in a system that was designed never to include me. When I say me ,I mean my children and their friends and anyone that I come into contact with me want to thrive ,not just survive…. When I read this book it was a jolt of you got this as I was pondering how to deal with serration in Boston public schools(BPS) or Black people suffer;The exam schools illusion of inclusion and yet this program was designed to help , harm , or segregate at the same time. Black children are not just being killed in the street streets of Boston.(but also in classrooms of Boston ).Spirit murdering,Covid 19 exposed the inequities in communities of color., eg internet access.;housing inequities; food inequalities;job inequalities. It has always been there , magnified.My son has suffered in Boston PublicSchools from elementary and I am perplexed!!following unfair and outdated laws that don’t include people of color is an album that keeps repeating itself… systemic pressure… educational injustices .Oppression and depression continues by design. Thanks I need this!!!

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good voice meh on educational

it was a good voice you can hear her passion but the book is too much for me I geuss cause it sounds too violent to me the way she wants people to fight and yet the book is about love sounds like a bad relationship

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Absolutely Amazing

This is one of the best books I’ve read in years. As an educator, this touched me on another level.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-20

A love letter to the world of freedom in education

I liked it all especially the need and urgent gap on teachers training in cultures. There is a line at the very beginning that grabbed my attention to why this matters: ". . .to remind you how worthless human being you are".