Character & Citizenship
How do you teach kids to be active participants in government? Or to tell the difference between real news and fake news?
They came from all over Virginia, battling gray weather and buckets of rain, to see the faces of a student-driven movement that shows few signs of stopping.
They came by the hundreds, young people and older ones—at least a third of the attendees were parents, judging by a show of hands—to hear first-person testimonies from the survivors of the mass shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. They came to learn how they might be involved in ending gun violence. In a few cases, they came to protest.
Now, with the release this summer of a new paperback version of Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen contends that his bestselling book has “new significance … owing to detrimental developments in America’s recent public discourse.” By providing students an inadequate history education, Loewen argues, America’s schools breed adults who tend to conflate empirical fact and opinion, and who lack the media literacy necessary to navigate conflicting information.
Fake news. Record-low voting turnout. Frequent and false claims from elected officials. Vitriol in many corners of political debate.
These are symptoms we hear of all the time that our democracy is not so healthy.
And those factors might be why many states are turning to the traditional — and obvious — place where people learn how government is supposed to work: schools. More than half of the states in their last legislative sessions — 27 to be exact — have considered bills or other proposals to expand the teaching of civics.
As they progress through school, students are getting better at believing they can master challenging subjects, but they are getting worse at managing their behavior and empathizing with others.
Those are highlights of a recent study of nearly 400,000 California students in some of the state’s largest school districts, which have collaborated over the past several years to teach and measure a common set of social-emotional learning skills.
It’s not your imagination, or mere nostalgia for the good ol’ days: Today’s children and teens have more mental-health problems than earlier generations.
The reason is a mix of social, environmental and even dietary factors, but the problem is growing, said experts speaking Wednesday to the Columbus Metropolitan Club.
It’s just after 7 on a Thursday morning and Mamaroneck High School is empty — except for about 30 freshmen who are already seated in their classroom, laptops in front of them.
They are finishing the first year of a new initiative: a four-year program called Original Civic Research and Action, which requires them to immerse themselves in the workings of their town of Mamaroneck — just north of New York City — and find a useful solution to an ongoing problem.
After a brutal 2016 presidential election, pundits predicted that, if nothing else, the election of Donald J. Trump as president would serve as a “Sputnik moment” for civics education. Americans of all political stripes, they said, had realized politics matter and that voting – or not – has real consequences.
In 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite into space, interest in science education skyrocketed. Soon, Americans were landing astronauts on the moon.
During first period English last Friday at Capital high school in Helena, student Noah Whitehorn, felt his phone buzz with a notification; 10 people were dead following a school shooting in a small town just outside of Houston, Texas.
“I almost cried in the middle of English class. How is this still happening? After all that we’ve done in the past few months you’d think that at least something would have been accomplished.”
While some students, teachers and families are thinking what’s next — what’s the next lesson, what’s the next competition, what’s after graduation — others are losing sleep over an increasingly common question: Who’s next to die?
Education journalists from across the nation gathered here this week with a focus on diversity in their profession, recent activism by teachers, and the scourge of school violence, among other topics.
The Education Writers Association’s top award for education reporting went to John Woodrow Cox of The Washington Post for a compelling three-part series on children and gun violence, which was published last June.
The Ins and Outs of ‘Restorative Justice’ in Schools
What is it? Does it work as an alternative to traditional student discipline?
When students misbehave at school, traditional approaches to discipline say you should punish them to deter future offenses.
But a growing movement toward “restorative” approaches to discipline focuses more on repairing the damage rather than suspending or expelling students.
Though details vary from school to school, so-called “restorative justice” programs instead encourage students to reflect on their transgressions and their root causes, talk about them – usually with the victims of the behavior – and try to make amends.
Schools in New Orleans are looking for alternatives to suspension. At some schools, that alternative is called restorative practices — students and teachers sit down together, talk it out, and come up with a plan to prevent future conflicts. Cornelius Dukes runs restorative practices at Abramson Sci Academy.
Getting heartfelt, personally revealing comments from teenage boys is difficult enough for parents. So reporters Kavitha Cardoza and Cory Turner had to take a few creative risks to get good audio for their National Public Radio series on an all-boys public high school in Washington D.C. last year.
Building character is an everyday event, woven into the fabric of how school is done on every level, educators and students told journalists during a conference in New Orleans on educating for character and citizenship.
A key goal is creating a community of trust among students and faculty, said educators at several schools that put character development at the center. During the panel discussion, they used words like “love” and “team” to describe their schools, emphasizing the mutual respect that they work to cultivate between students and teachers.
Student Voices Take Spotlight in Walkout Coverage
The #Enough movement pushes for stricter gun control measures, more funding for mental health
On Wednesday, students across the country joined forces to call for stricter gun control laws, better mental health services in public schools, and to draw attention to concerns about violence in their own communities.
Push for Media Literacy Takes on Urgency Amid Rise of ‘Fake News’
Some states act to spark schools' focus on teaching subject
The advent of “fake news” was the worst-best thing to happen to media literacy in schools.
That’s according to Sherri Hope Culver, the director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy at Temple University.
In years past, it was tough work convincing legislators and reporters the importance of paying attention to the issue of teaching children how to analyze and evaluate media, Culver said during a recent Education Writers Association seminar in New Orleans.They’d ask what made the issue timely.
A few weeks ago, we loaded up the truck and attended a two-day seminar on character education. The event took place in New Orleans, so of course one of the people I met and talked to is doing their work in New York City.
Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll introduce you to The Urban Assembly.
It’s an education topic that prompts more questions than answers, and it’s expected to spur debate for years to come.
Character education: What is it? What does it look like? Can it be measured?
Experts in education and journalists gathered in New Orleans last month quickly agreed there are numerous terms, definitions, philosophies and methods to explain character education.
One day last fall, teachers sauntered past a wall in W.A. Pattillo Middle School in Tarboro, N.C., as if they were studying works of art. Really, they were looking at the names of all 265 of their students, each written neatly on an index card.
They contemplated which students they had meaningful relationships with, and placed dots next to those students’ names.