Photo Caption: Cree students at their desks with their teacher in a classroom, All Saints Indian Residential School, Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan, March 1945 (Credit: Bud Glunz / National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / PA-134110).
“Our culture has an odd relationship with race: it structures every aspect of American social life, but in ways that can often seem invisible and undetected. Like an electrical current running through water, race has a way of filling space even as it remains invisible.”
—Dr. Eve L. Ewing, Ghosts in the Schoolyard
Since 1990, November has been National Native American Heritage Month in the United States—an opportunity to attend more deliberately to the histories, experiences, contributions, and ideas of Native American peoples. Though these experiences and archives ought to be top of mind throughout the year, the stakes this month may be even higher than usual. In this moment of national reckoning over the past and future of America, questions surrounding how we conceive of our national origins, who is included, and where we are headed are revealing profound divides. But there is a great deal of knowledge and insight that can be gained from the voices of those whose histories, ideas, and experiences are routinely pushed to the periphery.
As we await the outcome of last night’s presidential election, teachers are faced with unique challenges. Many questions surface: How do we process the diverse range of reactions that these events may provoke in our students? And how can we do it without venturing into partisan territory that may alienate, divide, and exclude? How can we process our own emotional reactions to these events while still showing up for students? The answers to these questions will continue to show themselves over the coming weeks but below are a number of resources that educators can use to navigate these demands starting today.
In these days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the ceaseless stream of conflicting information issuing from all quarters. We are living in what is literally being called a “post-truth” moment and due to the complexity of our tech-mediated lives, it has become harder than ever to determine what information is real and true. In some ways, this is a perennial question explored by figures ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Morpheus and Neo, but this is more than a matter of philosophical reflection. Despite the eternal search for truth reflected in those figures, we need shared grounds for thought and action if we are to challenge the bigotry, hate, and overlapping crises engulfing our world. Forging meaningful spaces of exchange across echo chambers and ideological divides is a challenging task, but teachers have a unique opportunity to foster critical thinking beginning in their classrooms.
Topics: media literacy
We recently sat down with Dr. Carol Anderson—professor, historian, and National Book Critics Circle Award winner—to discuss the history of the struggle for African Americans' voting rights, as well as its continuing relevance to racial justice and democracy. Dr. Anderson is the author of numerous books including One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy. Below are excerpts from our conversation with Dr. Anderson, facilitated by Facing History’s Director of International Strategy, Dr. Karen Murphy.
In a recent interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Prince Taylor, alumnus of the Facing History School in New York City and team member at Politicking—a mobile app that offers comprehensive, nonpartisan information designed to empower millennial voters to cast their ballots. In this interview, we discuss his work at Politicking, their work to counter voter suppression and/or barriers to voting, and how Facing History shaped Taylor’s professional trajectory. Formed in collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves in 2005, The Facing History School is a public high school deeply informed by Facing History pedagogy within the New York City Public Schools system.
Bullying remains one of the most intractable interpersonal problems facing young Americans across geographic, racial, and economic divides. StopBullying.gov reports that an alarming 20% of young people ages 12 to 18 experience bullying and it is for this reason that every October is National Bullying Prevention Month—a time to draw greater attention to this epidemic of interpersonal violence, what drives it, and how to stop it. Major studies from the last three years showed that most bullying targeting young people occurred in school settings—a reality that has prompted onsite intervention efforts including mapping the zones in which bullying is most likely to occur. This and other school-based strategies have offered educators, parents, and students new tools for managing the crisis, but there is more to tackle than meets the eye. As schools take on hybrid and wholly remote learning models amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of cyberbullying has reached unprecedented heights.
For an increasing number of communities around the United States, October 12th is Indigenous Peoples’ Day—a holiday dedicated to highlighting the cultures and suppressed histories of indigenous peoples. This holiday emerged in an explicit challenge to the narratives that undergird Columbus Day—the federal holiday on the same date used to celebrate Christopher Columbus’ purported “discovery of America.” Columbus is among the historical figures denounced this year as a growing movement continues to surface the interconnected legacies of racism and colonialism in the United States. However, indigenous peoples have been calling for a reexamination of how we narrate our nation’s founding for decades through efforts including the campaign for an Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
As we approach the November election in the United States, we find ourselves in a chaotic political landscape defined by an endless deluge of conflicting information and a sense of rising stakes across political camps. Amid this flurry of activity, it is easy to get lost in the unique features of this election and gloss over perennial issues that still warrant our attention. These include the long (and ongoing) fight to extend voting rights in this country, the hows and whys of casting one's ballot, and the various forces that keep people from voting. We also have an opportunity to think about the parallel roles that our young people can play in enhancing democratic processes that don't involve setting foot in the voting booth. The following five books released this year each cover important material on these themes and equip the reader with crucial information as we approach November. Below, the publisher of each book provides an overview of each title:
Topics: Reading List