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February 15, 2011

with Facing History and Ourselves and others in Colorado

Denver, CO: I am here for a series of conversations about civic education, youth civic engagement, and education reform in Colorado. My hosts are Facing History and Ourselves, the Colorado Legacy Foundation, and the Donnell-Kay Foundation and I look forward to seeing other proponents of civic education, old friends and new ones.

Since my main host is Facing History and Ourselves, this is an appropriate moment to introduce the program. It provides curricula, professional development, and materials related to historical examples of severe intergroup conflict, such as the Holocaust. Students are encouraged to discuss and critically evaluate their own identities and responsibilities in response to these cases. Probably the best evaluated program in the field, it has been the subject of roughly 100 published studies, including, most recently, a national randomized experiment which found strong positive academic outcomes (such as improved skills for interpreting historical evidence) and civic benefits (such as increased tolerance and belief that one can make a difference). Participating teachers were more likely to create serious, intellectually focused, ethical communities in their classrooms. These outcomes are not only important later, once students have graduated and become adults with influence in civil society; they also matter immediately, because schools in which students and teachers work tolerantly and constructively together are the best environments for learning.

February 15, 2011 7:55 AM | category: none



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