The ongoing discussions about public school education continues to be divisive and difficult. One under-explored area is how our teachers are trained in the schools of education and what resources are available for teachers who want to present a balanced and factual curriculum. This page will feature original research on teacher education, curriculums, and resources for those who want to ensure our classrooms are places of balance, respect, and sincere inquiry.
From The Top: The Impact of College-Level Indoctrination on K-12 Education
Will Flanders and Dylan Palmer
- ‘Wokeness’ overtakes ‘three R’s’ in college teacher training, Washington Examiner, August 1, 2022
- Education Schools Have Long Been Mediocre. Now They’re Woke Too, The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2022
Critical Theories vs. Human Flourishing: Alternative Social-Studies Curricula for Wisconsin Schools
Scott Niederjohn, PhD and Mark Schug, PhD
Alternative Social-Studies Curricula for Wisconsin Schools: Resources for Teachers and School Districts
There are many alternatives for teachers or school districts interested in teaching social studies with more accurate and hopeful themes than those based on Critical Race Theory or social justice. Many such curricula embrace the ideas of free people, free markets, and private enterprise in a more optimistic context for students of all backgrounds. Here is a listing of such curriculum resources:
A collection of essays, lessons, interactive simulations, reading guides, and other resources to learn about Adam Smith and classical economics.
Economics, Adam Smith
The Ashbrook Center, an independent academic center located at Ashland University, was established and named in honor of the late Congressman John M. Ashbrook, who represented Ohio’s 17th Congressional district for 21 years. President Ronald Reagan personally dedicated the Ashbrook Center on May 9, 1983. While based in north central Ohio, Ashbrook offers educational programs across the country for students, teachers, and citizens.
For over 20 years BRI has been designing classroom-ready, constitutional principles-based lessons, and supporting educators with engaging events. BTI’s website offers an educator hub, resources library, primary sources, and engaging videos.
The Common Sense Economics website, its accompanying textbook and its course package provide tools to help make economics fun. This site provides speedy electronic resource guidance, quality supplements, economic examples, quick links to cool stuff, information on a full multi-media course package and workshop announcements on how to get trained to teach a course using the package in a seated or online setting. Compared to other websites, the Common Sense Economics website offers a substantially larger quantity of field-tested economics materials that focus on experience-based learning.
Economics, Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy
Offers in-person and virtual teacher professional development workshops on economics and other social-studies-related topics.
Economics, U.S. History, Civics, Personal Finance
American Birthright teaches students to identify the ideals, institutions, and individual examples of human liberty, individualism, religious freedom, and republican self-government; assess the extent to which civilizations have fulfilled these ideals; and describe how the evolution of these ideals in different times and places has contributed to the formation of modern American ideals.
U.S. History, Civics and Government, Economic Way of Thinking
The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism describes itself as “a nonpartisan network of educators dedicated to advancing pro-human values of fairness, understanding, and shared humanity in the field of K-12 and higher education.” The group notes that teachers often feel isolated and alone in their schools. Its participants hold weekly informal “happy hours” to share experiences and concerns and to work on developing resources for use with students, administrators, and parents. “A few participants use pseudonyms to protect their identity, and that is fine with us,” the group reports.
Civil Rights, Civil Liberties
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 educational foundation and has been trusted by parents and teachers since 1946 to inspire students with sound economic principles and the entrepreneurial spirit with top-rated in-person seminars and webinars, free books and online materials for teachers and classrooms, and relevant daily online articles, podcasts, and videos.
Economics, Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy
Established in 1975, the Foundation for Teaching Economics’ mission is to introduce young individuals to an economic way of thinking about national and international issues, and to promote excellence in economic education by helping teachers of economics become more effective educators. FTE focuses its efforts on the secondary education level and provides programs and teaching resources which target primarily, but not exclusively, the social studies curriculum. FTE is known nationally for its emphasis on active learning and the engaging activities and lessons used to teach economics. All lessons and programs are correlated with both the Common Core state standards and all 50 standards in economic education. A unique feature of FTE student programs is the integration of economics content with leadership development. Participants learn to use economic reasoning skills as part of their decision-making process.
Economics, U.S. History
The Fraser Institute is a Canadian think tank that also runs education programs for teachers and students. They develop economics-based K-12 curriculum and produce the well-known Economic Freedom of the World report and lesson plans to go along with it.
Economics, Economic Freedom, Inequality
Offers no-cost, high-quality educational materials to educators: teachers, homeschoolers, parents, grandparents, scout troop leaders—to anyone interested in learning/teaching. The site reports that “Izzit offers entertaining and educational videos with tons of additional resources—Teachers’ Guides, activities, quizzes, and much more!” Izzit also offers Current Events lessons—two each school day with vocabulary words and discussion questions.
Economics, Government, Civics, Current Events
This is a concise American history text with a traditional table of contents with 22 chapters. The book is primarily a political history. While many textbooks are encyclopedic, McClay is concise, clocking in at 459 pages. America’s story, warts and all, is told without interruption. The primary audience is students in grades 9 to 12. McClay’s objective is to provide an “accurate, responsible, coherent, persuasive, and inspiring account of their own country—an account that will inform and deepen their sense of the land they inhabit and equip them for the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship.” (page xi)
Offers professional development ranging from one-hour virtual workshops to asynchronous On-Demand modules to in-depth Certification Courses. The emphasis is on building teacher content knowledge, modeling various NGPF resources, and encouraging teacher collaboration. Professional development is offered through NGPF Academy, a program that rewards and recognizes the more than 12,000 teachers who have participated in NGPF professional development over the years.
Stossel in the Classroom is committed to helping educators bring better education to our school systems. “We believe that by bringing a balanced approach to subjects like economics, government, and current events, we can help the next generation become better caretakers of society,” reports the organization’s website.
Economics, Government, Current Events
The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum is a complete collection of lesson plans for teaching American history, civics, and government to K-12 students. Students who study using this curriculum learn about American history from the colonies through the Civil War at four different times during their K-12 years, each time increasing in depth. The curriculum also includes American history since the Civil War and American government and civics for both middle and high school students. This curriculum provides teachers with guidance—not dictates—about how to plan and teach a given topic in American history or civics. This guidance includes Hillsdale College-vetted books, online courses, and other resource recommendations; lists of content topics, stories to tell, and questions to ask of students; “Keys to the Lesson” that clarify important points for teachers to keep in mind; student-ready primary sources; and sample assignments, activities, and assessments.
1776 Unites represents a nonpartisan and intellectually diverse alliance of writers, thinkers, and activists focused on solutions to our country’s greatest challenges in education, culture, and upward mobility. This project reports, “We are a project of the Woodson Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1981 by Robert L. Woodson, Sr. We are in no way affiliated with any other “1776” group, commission, organization, or association.”
An organization the scholarship, teaching and study of the central ideas and themes of American history and the broader traditions of Western Civilization.
How to Educate an American, a book of essays by conservative thinkers about the future of education in America.
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Will Flanders, PHD