New Social Justice Curriculum Honors RFK

December 9, 2008 11:19:29 AM PST
Chancellor Joel Klein is introducing new lesson plans for New York City public school students about the life and legacy of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The announcement took place Tuesday at Robert F. Kennedy Community High School in Queens.

Last month, several members of the Kennedy family gathered for a ceremony renaming the Triborough Bridge in honor of the slain senator and U.S. attorney general.

Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The lesson plans, which are aligned to the state social studies curriculum, will highlight Kennedy's commitment to social justice for 4th, 8th, and 11th-grade students in New York City and across the State. The lesson plans were developed collaboratively by the Robert F. Kennedy Center, New York State Governor David Paterson, the State Education Department (SED), and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).

American Federation of Teachers President Weingarten and NYSUT President Iannuzzi led a class of 11th grade students through one of the new lessons at the Robert F. Kennedy Community High School in Flushing.

"Robert F. Kennedy dedicated his life to advancing civil rights and social justice, both as U.S. Attorney General and as a senator from New York," Chancellor Klein said. "I can think of no better way to commemorate his values and achievements than by providing students the opportunity to learn from?his legacy of public service."

"As teachers share the lessons, students across New York State will be inspired to recognize courage in themselves," said Kerry Kennedy, the seventh of Kennedy's 11 children. "Robert F. Kennedy's legacy lives on in countless individuals who fight for justice around the world -and in every child who is inspired by his legacy to 'speak up, speak out.'"

The lesson plans, which are voluntary, have been distributed to 21,000 teachers, principals, superintendents, and other educators in New York, and are aligned with the New York State social studies standards and curriculum. The lesson plans are entitled "Speak Up, Speak Out" and are available, along with related materials, at http://www.nysut.org/rfk.

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Web produced by Lila Corn (The AP also contributed to this article)

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