The aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown has been significant, and the White House seems to agree with an idea that the case should be discussed in schools.
In a recent piece for the Huffington Post, Christopher Emdin, a contributor and Professor at Columbia University Teachers College, explains why he believes teachers should talk to young students, especially young people of color, about the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Over the last few weeks students have been inundated with news on the events in Ferguson,” writes Emdin in the piece. “Even when young people are not directly looking for information about these events, updates flash across their television and computer screens hourly. These updates are shaping the ways that youth make sense of media, the police, their lives, and their future. For this reason it is imperative that teachers find a way to bring this issue into the classroom.”
Emdin went on to discuss ways in which teachers can educate students about what happened in Ferguson and why it is so important to so many people. Some of the methods Emdin suggests include asking students what they already know and what they want to know, helping students make connections between the Michael Brown case and other similar cases in recent history, asking students to write letters to politicians, activists and people directly involved in the incident, creating a classroom memorial to Michael Brown, and carrying on the theme for the remainder of the school year.
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While Emdin’s piece has been met with both praise and negativity, the Obama administration appears to agree with his views, as the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans tweeted out a link to Emdin’s Huffington Post piece after it was published.
Despite some backlash, Emdin is clear in the reasoning behind his views.
“Bringing the events in Ferguson to the classroom is not only best teaching practice,” Emdin writes, “but a way to establish powerful expectations for the academic year.”