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September 10, 2003

youth and the history of desegregation

School desegregation is a public issue that involves and affects youth. It’s a vital contemporary matter that requires historical background to understand. It continues to provoke debates among reasonable and well-intentioned people, who disagree about both goals and solutions. In all these respects, it is an ideal topic for sustained work in schools as a key component of civic education.

Last fall, we worked with students at a local high school in Maryland to create an interactive, deliberative website about the epic history of desegregation in their own district. ("We" means the Democracy Collaborative and the Institute for Philosophy & Public Policy, both at the University of Maryland.) We have now collaborated with NABRE, the Network of Alliances Bridging Race and Ethnicity (pronounced “neighbor”), to develop a plan for a replicating the same project in many school districts. This year is the 50th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, the first of a series of 50th anniversaries of events in the Civil Rights Era. Coming to understand the difficult choices made in one's own community seems both a good way to commemorate this history and an excellent foundation for making choices today.

Posted by peterlevine at September 10, 2003 12:16 PM


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