04/11/2005

Re-released teaching kit valuable to educators

With the help of Center supporters, Teaching Tolerance recently released a newly redesigned version of America's Civil Rights Movement, one of its most popular curriculum kits. The popular teaching tool tells the story of the struggle to end official apartheid in the United States.

Not only does the kit provide valuable insight into one of the most turbulent times in modern American history, it also inspires children to change the world themselves by showing that they too can make a difference and stand up for justice.

The re-released kit includes the Academy Award® winning film A Time for Justice, the book Free At Last and a new standards-based teacher's guide. The book was redesigned with a fresh new look and its text revised to reflect new information since it was initially published.

Feedback from education professionals indicates America's Civil Rights Movement is having an overwhelmingly positive impact in the nation's classrooms.

Hundreds of educators completed evaluations during the first three months of the kit's fall 2004 re-release. Nearly all said the kit was achieving goals, including increasing student understanding of the Civil Rights Movement and appreciation for those who are different from oneself.

"The materials are wonderful. They moved the students way beyond anything I had anticipated," said one teacher from Allen, TX.

"Our students left the classroom still discussing the biographies of civil rights leaders who were killed and, on another day, talking about the injustices shown in the video," wrote another educator from Schaumburg, Ill. "Thanks for developing great educational materials."

Specific, objective findings of the evaluations were also encouraging.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said the kit increased students' awareness that they can be advocates for social justice, and 93 percent said the kit increased student understanding of civil rights history.

The average recipient reached 125 students with the kit, and nearly 100 percent reported that they plan to use the kit again in future years.

"Teaching Tolerance has long sought to instill the lessons of respect and understanding through its film projects," said Center senior adviser Jennifer Holladay. "This feedback from educators using America's Civil Rights Movement indicates we're meeting that goal."

America's Civil Rights Movement joins two other award-winning teaching kits, Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks, and Mighty Times: The Children's March to form a complete curriculum on the Civil Rights Movement. The Children's March was recently honored with the Best Documentary Short Subject Academy Award®.

Thanks to the generous support of Center donors, America's Civil Rights Movement, like all of the Center's educational resources, is available at no charge to schools, houses of worship and community groups. To date, more than 100,000 free copies have been distributed to educators across the country.