Books Are Now FREE for Educators!

All Dream of a Nation resources are available open-source and free online. But holding an illustrated book like Dream, with over 450 pages of compelling solutions, stories, graphics, and images, does help the content come alive. Over 15,000 educators from around the country are using and interacting with the resources and the program is committed to getting the last remaining few thousand books in the hands of the right people.

So if this is you, (or you know a teacher who might be interested!)  then choose what’s best for you and please consider supporting what we do through a small donation as this program operates on a shoestring.

You can ordfree_booker a copy or two here online, or e-mail for classroom sets.



Back to School! Exploring the Dream of a Nation Education Resources

Hello Educators!

We are sending our well wishes to you all as you head back to school this week! We hope you've had the opportunity to explore the education platform, and that you’ve discovered exciting ways you might integrate the resources into your classroom. The lesson plans and modules are designed to empower young people with knowledge, solutions, and inspiration to be actively informed and engaged across a range of critical civic issues. The book and materials are being used in higher ed. to support coursework in environmental studies, sociology, service learning, art and activism, teacher licensure, political science, and more. In secondary schools, teachers are using in English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Civics, Government, History, and more.

Educators in over 500 secondary schools and higher learning institutions are using the resources and if you find the materials useful, we hope that you will help to spread the word!

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to access and use the Dream materials, which is why they are all free for download! But we also want to offer you the hard copy of the book at a special reduced educator price. If you are interested in a set of books for your classroom, we would like to offer them to you at cost for $5/book (+ shipping). Just e-mail me,, for more information.

We welcome any questions or comments, as we are always looking to improve our resources and truly appreciate feedback!

Again, good luck to you as you head back to school. We thank you for your work in the world!

Empowering students to be our future's changemakers

Warm wishes,



Kelly Spitzner

YES! Recommends: Dream of a Nation

From YES! Magazine for teachers:
A Powerful Free Resource for Teachers and Professors

Dream of a Nation reaches across political party lines and religious beliefs and focuses on what we have in common, what is possible.It is comprised of a book and an initiative, with special focus on providing educators with hands-on, standards based, spot on lesson modules. Essays, video clips, and guides are designed to flip the switch from toe-dipper to full-on, change-the-world citizens.

The book’s 12 chapters explores contemporary problems, new ideas, and successful models. Its stellar collection of essays and illustrations are authored by more than 60 individuals and organizations, such as YES! Magazine, Veterans for Peace, and Green for All.

Dream of a Nation is proud to create and offer an array of free, downloadable materials for educators, including:

The book’s 12 chapters explores contemporary problems, new ideas, and successful models. Over 60 individuals and organizations, including YES! Magazine, Veterans for Peace, and Green for All, authored this stellar collection of essays and illustrations.
You may download the book in its entirety or individual chapters here

Four lesson modules with 18 lesson plans take your students from becoming issue experts to being active in their communities. In addition, robust questions for each chapter of the book are offered. Your students will debate, connect problems with solutions, discover opposing points of view, and hatch their own plans to take action on the issues they care about. No sitting on the sidelines, here!

For each of the 12 overarching issues (chapters), at least four related issues are identified and explored. Essays authored by partner organizations about their efforts to address the challenge help connect your student with the real world. “What If?” and “What Can I Do?” questions deepen understanding and inspire students to action. Explore solutions here.

Dream of a Nation isn’t a textbook. It focuses on real-world examples and content to support goals and standards that students are required to master, and teachers are required to teach.

The book and all curriculum materials align with Common Core Standards, National Council for the Social Studies Curriculum Standards, as well as standards requirements as described by state education agencies. Visit standards alignment here

Additional Resources

Educators :: Home page for entire collection of free, downloadable curriculum resources.

Secondary Education Portal ::  Access to all downloads, forums, blogs, and action center.

Higher Education Portal ::  Access to downloads, forums, blogs, and action center.



Getting Extreme Profits Out of Healthcare

With the choice of Representative Paul Ryan Healthcare and Medicare have been thrust back into the headlines, and rightfully so. Healthcare consumes 17 percent of our gross domestic product, about $7,100 per person. This is nearly twice as much money per capita on healthcare as other developed nations, yet the metrics show that Americans end up with worse care and poorer health.

The Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction, but only a minor one. By the time it is fully implemented in 2014, it will have increased access to healthcare for millions of Americans, but it will have done little to rein in costs. In theory, cost controls should be a goal that Republicans and Democrats can agree on, yet it will be an even bigger political battle than the previous one over access. That’s because to rein in costs it will not be possible to tinker around the edges of a broken system, as the 2010 healthcare reform did. It will be necessary to fundamentally overhaul the system in ways that powerful special interests will fight.

What’s driving up the cost? Extreme profits. In virtually every other health system, health insurance companies are non-profits – they have no incentive to drive up costs – and they use negotiate standard fees for various procedures. As healthcare costs continue to spiral out of control, it’s clear that we can no longer stand to be the exception to the rule to protect the profits of a handful of individuals.

It’s difficult to fathom why insurance premiums continue to rise and coverage shrinks, while some CEOs take home many millions of dollars a year.

One glimmer of hope is the announcement by Blue Shield of California, a non-profit and one of the top ten health insurance providers. After public outcries about premiums and executive compensation, the organization promised to refund $167 million to customers and cap future profits.

Other insurance companies will be required to follow suit. The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of their revenue on medical care, leaving 20 percent for administrative costs, including salaries and profits. Insurers that don’t meet that target will be required to issue refunds to policyholders.

This is tiny piece of the puzzle, but one of the many pieces being lost in the current heated debate.  It’s not easy debating complicated issues, but we as the American people need to be diligent about talking about what’s really at stake.  Learn more about how other countries are getting it right and scalable solutions from Stephen Hill’s essay Getting Extreme Profits Out of Healthcare.

Getting Money Out of Politics

With the elections just around the corner, it’s hard not to see just how powerful a role that money plays in politics. Fortunately there are organizations and others working to tackle this important issue and a light at the end of the tunnel.

Too often federal elections end up as fundraising contests, instead of a conversation about the issues our country faces. 9 out of 10 campaigns are won by the candidate who spends the most, which drives candidates to focus more on fundraising and large donors than on mobilizing voters around ideas and issues.

Under one half of 1% (0.36%) of the American population currently donates over $200 to political campaigns. This small, wealthy minority provides around 90% of the money that funds political campaigns. This extreme imbalance of influence inhibits the idea of government as being accessible to all people.

At times it feels like the money-fueled system is impossible to change, especially with the effects of Citizen United and the Super PACs that were born of it blaring from all directions. Fortunately, several states and local communities have discovered a solution by reforming campaign finance with the Fair Elections model. In 2008, Connecticut became the first state to have Fair Elections public financing passed by the legislature. Within just a couple years, 81 percent of the Connecticut legislature was made up of politicians who used the system. Current Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, sought and won Arizona’s governorship twice using a Fair Elections– style public finance system.

Voters like public funding because it makes elected officials more accountable to them, reduces conflicts of interest and gives them more choice at the polls. Though a small step, this is one solution to a problem that the American people are increasingly getting fed up with. It’s time to get money out of politics, and get back to focusing on people and the fundamentals of good governance.

Read more about the problem and solutions here in Common Cause’s essay from Dream of a Nation“Getting Money Out of Politics: Putting the Public First.”