It takes 21 days to form a habit. 

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Week 2: Education
Today's Challenge: What We Teach
If you’ve ever changed schools in the middle of the year, you may be able to recall minor differences in curriculum between districts. However, imagine moving from a predominately white high school in Tennessee, to a more diverse school in say California, you may not think much about the vast ways in which the exact same material can vary depending on a pupil’s school, school district and instructional materials. Today, we will examine how textbooks, authors and state legislation, or collectively “what we teach,” impacts society's world view and understanding of history.
Before reading today's material, create a quick list of five books that you remember reading in high school or before. Keep these in the back of your mind as you move through today's content. After reading the content, take a look at the authors of the books on your list and answer the following questions:
  1. Is there any racial/ethnic diversity?
  2. How did the "canon" affect your viewpoint as a young pupil? 
Now create a list of 5 books you would add to the high school "canon" that you feel all students should read. Share one of those books with someone today! 

We Challenge You To Take...

Textbooks are supposed to teach us a common set of facts about who we are as a nation, but the influence of religion and politics in instructional material can skew those facts. Read this article to see how history textbooks reflect America’s refusal to reckon with slavery.
Half of all school aged children are non-white. Of children’s books published in 2013, though, only 10.5% featured a person of color. In 2016, this number doubled to 22%, but white is still the “default identity.” Read this article to consider ways in which some educators are reconstructing the canon.
Very few states require Holocaust education in their school systems and a 2018 survey showed that two-thirds of U.S. Millennials were not familiar with Auschwitz. Read this article on how one state hopes to change that statistic, as anti-Semitic hate crimes have surged in recent years.
Have some extra time today? Check out this 18-minute TED Talk with David Ikard, Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University, titled "The real history of Rosa Parks -- and why we need to confront myths about black history." 

Education Week Action Items

  • Read this brief intro on school segregation and bring together a small group of colleagues, family or friends to participate in one of 6 interactive activities. 

  • Check out this map and see which school district you are located in within Knox County. Write a letter to your  school board representative or attend your next school board meeting to bring up a big issue of concern. 

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