How often do you get the chance to shake hands with a Supreme Court icon? Someone who has their name on a landmark case that’s in all the textbooks?
That’s right. Not. Very. Often.
But today was the day. Mary Beth Tinker, yes . . . THAT Mary Beth Tinker. The Mary Beth Tinker of the 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District Supreme Court case was in Topeka speaking with teachers and students at the KSDE #KSCivics civic engagement conference.
And along with about 350 others, I got the chance to meet and then listen to Mary Beth share her thoughts on the events of 1965 and connect those events to contemporary issues. So cool!
But I also got the chance Read more
It’s February. Black History Month.
And I gotta be honest. I’m always a bit conflicted about the idea. The concept of a month specifically set aside for the study of Black History started back in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” That particular week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
In 1976, the federal government followed the lead of the Black United Students at Kent State and established the entire month of February as Black History Month. President Ford urged Americans, and especially teachers and schools, to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
The hope was that Black History Month would provide a very intentional time for all of us to remember together the struggles of African Americans to obtain the basic civil rights afforded to others, the challenges African Americans have faced for centuries, and the contributions of African Americans to who we are. But . . . the real hope was that the story of essential people, events, and places, routinely ignored, would be incorporated throughout the school year.
Recent movies such as Selma and Marshall and books such as Hidden Figures do a great job of creating a sense of a specific time period, of overt racism and violence, the need for supporting the right to vote, the courage of everyday individuals, and of the thought process behind events. The message of Black History Month remains – that the quest for equality and dignity in the United States was difficult and dangerous. And that the extraordinary work of ordinary folks such as John Lewis, Jimmie Lee Jackson, and Amelia Boynton Robinson still isn’t finished.
But I’m still a bit conflicted.
Jose Vilson, teacher and activist, Read more
January 27th marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. In 2005, the United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War.
And while you may not be teaching a class that specifically focuses on the events of 1941-1945 and earlier persecution under the Nazi government, it does provide a chance to connect those events to similar genocides both past and present. And to other acts of discrimination and persecution happening around the world and in the United States.
By remembering the Holocaust, we can honor survivors and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.
There are many resources available. You might start with these: Read more
As a poly sci junkie, I’m torn.
The 2018 government shutdown is bad for just about everybody. And it seems like it happened over something that most Americans want to see happen – protection for Dreamers. A Fox News poll says 86% of us support DACA. A CBS poll reports 87% supporting the idea.
But the shutdown does create an opportunity to jump into all sorts of conversations involving civics and procedure and policy and elections and checks and balances and three branches and media bias . . . well, you get the idea. If you haven’t already, this week might be a good time to jump ship on your scheduled curriculum and spend some time making connections to the government side of the social studies.
Need a few quick resources? Read more
There are so many things that I don’t know. I don’t know how the KC Chiefs lost a playoff game to the Tennessee Titans. I don’t know why people eat brussel sprouts. I have no idea how to tie a bowtie.
And that’s just the stuff that doesn’t really matter. There’s always tons of stuff that I should know but don’t.
Need an example? I didn’t know until today that there is an official Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. Yup. Should have known that. I do know who Fred Korematsu is. But I didn’t know there was a special day set aside just for him and civil liberties.
How cool is that? I love this. We need as many days as we can get that celebrate civil rights and the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution.
Quick review. Read more
It seems appropriate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to share a new resource highlighting the Civil Rights Movement.
Created by the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Public Broadcasting company, the Civil Rights Virtual Learning Journey transports students to a critical period of time in our history. The site is loaded with comprehensive content including 14 videos, primary source images and documents, compelling photo galleries, interactive maps, artwork, music, and more. The collection invites students into an engaging exploration of some of the most significant events of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Civil Rights Virtual Learning Journey explores seven themes and their topics: Read more