9-11: Education; an update on the 13th Anniversary


From time to time items of interest come to me via a Google Alert, “9/11 Commission.” Today, the alert surfaced an education-related article, “Remembering 9/11: Teachers evolve lesson to adapt to growing history,” Leslie Parrilla, San Bernadino (California) Sun. The target school audience in this case is 10th and 11th grade classes at Rancho Cucamonga High School, students who were preschoolers or younger on that eventful day.

9/11 in Transition

The article marks  the transition of the events of 9/11 from a news event to an historical event.  As Parrilla writes, “educators have transitioned teaching from the event as a shocking, traumatic, personal occurrence to a historical, social and cultural event. Each years class brings more detachment from the event to the point that in just a few years students exposed to the curriculum will have not yet been born.

The Commission Report

Teachers are now asking students to do their own literature searches and to begin asking about the “nitty gritty,” to search and learn in depth. At least one teacher is making assignments based on the 9/11 Commission Report.

“Government teacher William Reinhart at Verdugo Hills High School in the Tujunga area of Los Angeles said he continues to teach Sept. 11 as the evolving story that it is, from watching it unfold on television that day with students in his classroom, to making more detached generations connect dots by linking 9/11 to current airport restrictions and the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“That (history) didn’t exist in the year or two, three years after,” Reinhart said. “We as a nation were in the grieving process and there were orange alerts and red alerts and you could only bring liquids here or there and there were shoe bombers. We were kind of catching our breath. All the subsequent years after that it’s changed a little.”

Now Reinhart approaches instruction about that day through history and government, through counter-terrorism policy and the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. He hands out assignments about the 9/11 Commission report.

Personal Comment

I substitute taught at Thomas Jefferson high school in Northern Virginia for two years in the early 1990’s. It was two years of pure enjoyment watching students being challenged to critique and create and responding to that challenge.  I am confident that today’s high school (and college students) will be able to sort out fact from fiction as they deal with the events of 9/11 in historical perspective.

(Note: Thomas Jefferson is consistently the highest or among the highest rated high schools in the nation.)



9/11: Education Initiative in New Jersey

The State of New Jersey is adding a 9/11-related education program to its curriculum according to a “Star Ledger” article, “N.J. to release 9/11 curriculum to help educators teach about terror.”

“Developed over three years and completed in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks, the curriculum is called “Learning from the Challenges of Our Times: Global Security, Terrorism and 9/11 in the Classroom.””

“Created by a volunteer group called the 4 Action Initiative, made up of Families of September 11, the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education and Liberty Science Center, the effort also included former Gov. Thomas Kean and dozens of New Jersey teachers who wrote and piloted lesson plans.”

9-11: Education Curriculum Nears Completion

Today, January 25, 2011, the “NJ Spotlight” carried a short article “9/1 Curriculum Nears Completion.”  The article states: “Two years after its launch as the first of its kind in the nation, New Jersey’s September 11 curriculum project is almost done.”

“Titled “Learning from the Challenges of Our Time: Global Security, Terrorism, and 9/11 in the Classroom,” the online resource will be a collection of more than 100 lesson plans and study guides that will help educators teach and incorporate the lessons of that day and all that surrounds it.”

9-11 Education: a 2010 update

On September 10, 2010, the Christian Science Monitor published a pertinent article: “September 11 in schools: How teachers are helping students understand.”  The Monitor reports that: “a coalition of 9/11 organizations has created age-appropriate lesson plans in subjects ranging from art to social studies. They’re available online at www.911dayofservice.org. More than 6,500 teachers have downloaded the plans so far.”

The lesson plans at the “daysofservice” link are available at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.

It is comforting to see a fact-based approach to 9-11 education, one suitable for all ages.

9-11: Teaching History; California, two different approaches

Today is the 8th anniversay of the 9-11 attack and it has been over five years since the Commission published its report.  Since that time (August, 2004) I have run a continuous Google Alert, “9-11 Commission,” to monitor news and commentary on events of that day. Yesterday, September 10, 2009, an alert popped up in my queue which prompted me to address the subject of teaching the history of 9-11.

In this Google alert. The author, Zach Milners, speaks to a program named the “September 11th Education Program: A National Interdisciplinary Curriculum, provid[ing] seven lesson plans, which can be taught as independent lessons or as a semester-long course of study. A website [is] devoted to the program, learnabout9-11.org.”

This morning, on the front page above the fold, the Washington Post featured an article by Eli Saslow titled; “9/11 as a Lesson, Not a Memory.”   The article also refers to the National Interdisciplinary Curriculum and lists six high schools among those across the nation piloting the curriculum.  One high school listed is Hollywood High School, Los Angeles, California.

Yesterday my Google alert also surfaced this article.  The author, Carl Herman, states he is a “teacher of high school US History courses.”  A Google search indicates he is most likely employed by La Canada Unified School District, La Canada, California.  His approach is different as the article title suggests: “Who are 9/11 Truthers? What is the 9/11 Truth Movement?”

Presumably, the California Department of Education realizes the two quite different approaches at two different California high schools and will monitor and report on the progress of each.