In the United States, the notion that public schools should prepare young people for the rights and responsibilities of democratic life is both a platitude and a political lightning rod. Most Americans broadly support the idea of civic education. In a 2020 poll of more than 1000 Americans about prospects for healing national divides, both conservatives and liberals identified civic education as the single most promising solution among a range of possible options. This consensus tends to fall apart, however, when it comes to the specific goals, content and methods of civics instruction, and many efforts to improve civic education are beset by partisan controversy. These challenges are compounded by systematic under-investment: at the federal level, we spend just $0.05 per student per year on civic education, compared to $50 per student on STEM.
Amidst all of the ups and downs of 2020, we at Facing History have been proud to share a wide variety of new curricular resources, webinars, and blog posts with our educators and allies. Check out some of our top pieces of content from 2020 below:
Difficult conversations are a big part of my life. For almost nine years I’ve helped educators learn and teach about atrocities and injustices in the past and present. I should have felt prepared last year when asked to facilitate a webinar on "navigating difficult conversations" for classrooms in Baltimore City Public Schools. Instead I felt overwhelmed and hesitant.
There’s a lot of technology out there. Much of that technology makes its way into the classroom, helping teachers bring their lessons to life and helping students learn in ways they couldn’t before. Tomorrow is Digital Learning Day, a nationwide celebration that started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live. But it’s also about how educators can learn with each other through technology.
Here are four ways you can celebrate Digital Learning Day and the role technology plays in your life.
In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, we are having difficult conversations all over the world. About race. About identity. About the meaning of democracy and where we go from here. Tanya Huelett shares what she learned from leading difficult conversations as a program associate at Facing History and Ourselves. These guiding principles can help us both in and out of the classroom as we all try to navigate this latest tragedy.
Difficult conversations are a big part of my life. For almost eight years I’ve helped educators learn and teach about atrocities and injustices in the past and present. I should have felt prepared when asked to facilitate a webinar on "navigating difficult conversations" for classrooms in Baltimore City Public Schools. Instead I felt overwhelmed and hesitant.
“Aligning to the Common Core does not mean ignoring what we’re passionate about...The key is to do both: challenge our students to develop their literacy skills while examining difficult histories and issues of social justice.”
Happy back-to-school season! We hope the academic year is off to a terrific start and are excited to support you with new readings, streaming video, lesson ideas, webinars, and other opportunities for professional development.
Digital Learning Day (February 5, 2014) is an annual day designated to highlight the effective use of technology to improve education for all students. Here at Facing History, and in this blog in particular, we are excited to be in conversation with educators about how technology amplifies, as well as complicates, our notions of identity, history, and community. To this end, we are proud to support educators every day in their thoughtful use of technology in the classroom, and Digital Learning Day is a perfect opportunity to highlight this work.