New curriculum "Human Rights Education in Idaho"

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to be able to share with you the "Human Rights Education in
Idaho" project, which has culminated in the creation of a
scope-and-sequence for human rights education that is linked with Idaho's
Social Studies Curriculum Standards.

The Idaho Human Rights Education Center's human rights curriculum is a
collaborative project of the Center and the Idaho Department of Education.  
The curriculum is fundamentally based upon the Center's mission to promote
respect for human dignity and diversity through education. and the Dept.
of Education's mission to foster caring and competent citizens.  This
project began three years ago as part of the Center's efforts to develop
strategies for the delivery of human rights education into Idaho's K-12

Although "human rights education" is not a separate subject area within
Idaho's curriculum standards, the Center and the Dept. of Education
concluded that (1) it was possible to develop a human rights education
curriculum that will enable teachers to link human rights education to
Idaho's curriculum standards; (2) there are many existing curriculum
standards for which human rights themes are appropriate, if not required;  
and (3) that multicultural literature and other materials provide a vast
array of readily available resources that teachers can use in the
classroom for the development of the value-laden themes integral to
character development, civic education and social responsibility, all of
which have been incorporated into Idaho's Achievement Standards, as the
Idaho Legislature has mandated.

This project has been implemented on the assumption that rote memorization
and mere acquisition of facts will not suffice for teaching the concepts,
objectives, understandings and feelings that are integrated into the
definition of human rights education.  On the contrary, appreciating
feelings such as dignity, empathy, respect and responsibility (a part of
what some might call "emotional intelligence") can only be acquired
through making direct connections with other people. It is through those
connections that we learn how another person feels, reacts, thinks,
struggles, and becomes frustrated or angry, and how that person's feelings
correspond to our own.  The goal, then, has been to reach the minds and
hearts of our children.

Dr. Dan Prinzing, Curriculum Specialist for the Idaho Dept. of Education,
and Les Bock, Executive Director of the Idaho Human Rights Education
Center, conducted three days of meetings with teachers, librarians,
professional educators and national experts at the end of February, 2003.  
The purpose of these meetings was to create a preliminary draft of a scope
and sequence for human rights education that is specifically linked to
Idaho's Social Studies Curriculum Standards and relies heavily on
multicultural literature and historical stories or vignettes.

The final product reflects the idea that we can and should teach our
children stories about the similarities and differences among people and
allow our children to make a connection with the human community writ
large.  These words, different and the same, become the universal key that
unlocks the door to understanding our core values of respect, equality and
the inalienable rights and dignity of all people.

The full text of the curriculum can be found in the on-line HRE Library at
HREA's website:

Best wishes,

Les Bock
Executive Director
Idaho Human Rights Education Center
801 S. Capitol Blvd.
Suite 102
Boise, Idaho 83702

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