Friday, February 27, 2004

Integrating Mexican-American History and Culture into the Social Studies Classroom.

Integrating Mexican-American History and Culture into the Social Studies Classroom. This article looks at ways teachers can bring Mexican-American history into class.

From the site:

Hispanics in the United States are now the fastest growing and one of the least educated ethnic groups in the country (Estrada, 1988; Broun 1992), and Mexican-Americans make up 63 percent of the entire Hispanic population (Estrada, 1988). Over the past 25 years, educators have initiated many programs and policies with the hope of improving educational attainment among Mexican-Americans and other Hispanics. The purpose of this Digest is to discuss one such effort--the integration of Mexican-American history and culture into the social studies curriculum. The Digest will discuss why this effort is so important and how to overcome possible pitfalls. Successful strategies discussed in this Digest include: (1) selecting texts and other curriculum materials that accurately represent the Mexican-American experience in the U.S., (2) helping teachers to become more knowledgeable themselves, and (3) creating a school climate that values ethnic diversity.


Teaching such content serves multiple purposes. First, it can be important to the self-esteem of Mexican-American students. Studies suggest that positive ethnic affiliation among Mexican-Americans (and other groups) greatly influences individual development in many ways, including: lifestyle choices, values, opinions, attitudes, and approaches to learning (Gollnick & Chinn, 1990).

Yet, it is not enough for Mexican-American students--or any student--to learn only about their own cultural heritage and history. They must learn to appreciate and respect other cultural groups. This need leads to the second purpose of integrating Mexican-American history and culture into the social studies classroom: To develop "ethnic literacy" in ALL students. Ethnic literacy, as defined by Banks and Banks (1989), is a knowledge of the role and function that ethnicity plays in our daily lives, in our society, and in our transactions locally, regionally, and transnationally. Ethnic literacy allows all students to understand their uniqueness, to understand the complexities of ethnicity and culture, and to take pride in who they are as people.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Lyndon Johnson: A Brief Biography

Lyndon Johnson: A Brief Biography This is a biography of the life of President LBJ. It is by me, Miland Brown.

From the site:

Johnson was born on Aug. 27, 1908, near Johnson City, Tex., the eldest son of Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr., and Rebekah Baines Johnson. His father, a struggling farmer and cattle speculator in the hill country of Texas, provided only an uncertain income for his family. Politically active, Sam Johnson served five terms in the Texas legislature. His mother had varied cultural interests and placed high value on education; she was fiercely ambitious for her children. Johnson attended public schools in Johnson City and received a B.S. degree from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos. He then taught for a year in Houston before going to Washington in 1931 as secretary to a Democratic Texas congressman, Richard M. Kleberg. During the next 4 years Johnson developed a wide network of political contacts in Washington, D.C. On Nov. 17, 1934, he married Claudia Alta Taylor, known as "Lady Bird." A warm, intelligent, ambitious woman, she was a great asset to Johnson's career. They had two daughters, Lynda Byrd, born in 1944, and Luci Baines, born in 1947. In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt entered the White House. Johnson greatly admired the president, who named him, at age 27, to head the National Youth Administration in Texas. This job, which Johnson held from 1935 to 1937, entailed helping young people obtain employment and schooling. It confirmed Johnson's faith in the positive potential of government and won for him a group of supporters in Texas.

In 1937, Johnson sought and won a Texas seat in Congress, where he championed public works, reclamation, and public power programs. When war came to Europe he backed Roosevelt's efforts to aid the Allies. During World War II he served a brief tour of active duty with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific (1941-42) but returned to Capitol Hill when Roosevelt recalled members of Congress from active duty. Johnson continued to support Roosevelt's military and foreign-policy programs. During the 1940s, Johnson and his wife developed profitable business ventures, including a radio station, in Texas. In 1948 he ran for the U.S. Senate, winning the Democratic party primary by only 87 votes. (This was his second try; in 1941 he had run for the Senate and lost to a conservative opponent.) The opposition accused him of fraud and tagged him "Landslide Lyndon." Although challenged, unsuccessfully, in the courts, he took office in 1949.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Geography in History: A Necessary Connection in the School Curriculum.

Geography in History: A Necessary Connection in the School Curriculum. Clearly, geography is tied heavily to historical studies. Yet, some students don't get this concept...

From the site:

Geography and history are prominent subjects of the current curriculum reform agenda. Both subjects have been emphasized in high-profile curriculum reform reports produced by various organizations, such as the Bradley Commission on History in Schools, the Education for Democracy Project of the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Commission on Social Studies in the Schools. The Bradley Commission, for example, recognizes "the relationship between geography and history as a matrix of time and place, and as context for events" (1988, 9). And, according to the report of the National Commission on Social Studies in the Schools, "Because they offer the perspectives of time and place, history and geography should provide the matrix or framework for social studies" (1989, 3). Furthermore, projects were launched in 1992 to develop national standards for teaching and learning geography and history in elementary and secondary schools. Finally, geography and history are highlighted as core subjects of the school curriculum in Goal Three of a set of six National Education Goals proclaimed in February 1990 by the President and state governors (Executive Office of the President 1990).


New state-level curriculum frameworks have emphasized geography and history as core subjects of the social studies sequence of courses, from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. In 1990, for example, the Florida Commission on Social Studies Education published CONNECTIONS, CHALLENGES, CHOICES, which presents the objectives, subjects, topics, and rationale for the state of Florida's new social studies curriculum for grades K-12. This Florida curriculum document emphasizes this central theme: "We recommend the adoption of a K-12 social studies program of study that... emphasizes history and geography (1990, 3).