We know we won’t achieve equality and justice through the courts and investigative reporting alone. The future of our great country lies in the hands of today’s young people.
That’s why we aim to put our legal work and Intelligence Project out of business: We’re reaching into schools across the nation with lessons to counter the bigotry and extremism that children hear in the media and even from people who are supposed to be role models. The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program works through educators to nurture a new generation that is more accepting of difference and more engaged in social justice than those that preceded it. We want kids to get along with each other and, just as important, see themselves as global citizens in a diverse society with the capacity to work together for a fairer world.
Since 1991, Teaching Tolerance has equipped hundreds of thousands of educators with classroom tools and resources that reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations and foster school equity. This anti-bias program creates and distributes—free of charge—award-winning content through curriculum guides, professional development materials, films, articles and blogs. Teaching Tolerance magazine is sent to 450,000 educators in all 50 states and Canada twice annually, with a Summer issue available online, and tens of thousands of educators use our free curricular kits. Teaching Tolerance provides these materials and an entire anti-bias curriculum so educators can integrate them into core classroom units, their own professional development and school culture—and across whole school districts.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day, the anchor event for Teaching Tolerance’s Mix It Up program, encourages students to do something simple yet powerful—sit next to someone new in the cafeteria. More than 6,000 schools participated in our annual Mix It Up at Lunch Day program in 2013, and more than 95 percent of Mix It Up organizers say the event prompts students to interact outside their normal social circles. Nearly 80 percent report those interactions result in new friendships across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and other divisions.
Feedback from the Teaching Tolerance audience also indicates that our resources deepen students’ understanding of human diversity, raise their awareness about social problems and increase behaviors that counteract those problems. Further, more than 90 percent of classroom teachers who read Teaching Tolerance magazine report that it helps them think more deeply about diversity issues, better meet students’ needs and better teach. Eighty-five percent use the suggested activities in their classrooms.
Teaching Tolerance has attracted considerable external recognition, including 35 honors from the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP)—including the Golden Lamp, its highest honor—two Oscars®, an Emmy® and awards from the National Education Association, among others. In 2009, AEP named Teaching Tolerance magazine Periodical of the Year in Distinguished Achievement.