About the book: The Power in the Room is an ambitious book that tries to shift the paradigm of the American educational system bottom-up, based on a simple device: Pay young people to teach their peers what they know, and do this work through youth-led community-based cooperative enterprises. Many groups and organizations, mostly outside of schools, have started to do this already, with dramatically positive results. The relationships of young people to their own learning, to each other and to the adults around them begin to shift, and these new relationships open up all kinds of educational and political possibilities. The Power in the Room is about the economic, educational and political power that emerges when young people earn money teaching each other, and about how racist and caste-based education can be challenged in this very practical way.
About the author: Jay Gillen has taught and organized in and around Baltimore City Public Schools since 1987. In 1994, after a 2-year organizing campaign, he became teacher-director of the new Stadium Middle School, the first community-controlled public school in Baltimore in many years. Working with graduates of the Stadium School, Gillen developed the peer-tutoring Baltimore Algebra Project (BAP). He is currently helping to design youth-led math research centers and to develop a peer-to-peer youth enterprise incubator. Gillen is the author of numerous articles and the book Educating for Insurgency: The Roles of Young People in Schools of Poverty.