This Scope and Sequence for Human Rights Education began as a collaborative project of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights and the Idaho State Department of Education in 2003. The classroom resource is fundamentally based upon the mission of the Center: The mission of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights is to promote respect for human dignity and diversity through education and to foster individual responsibility to work for justice and peace. The project began as part of the Center’s efforts to develop strategies for the delivery of human rights education into Idaho’s K-12 classrooms.
To this end, the Center formed a “Blue Ribbon Advisory Task Force” consisting of professional educators, professors from Boise State University and community leaders. The Task Force developed several positions and conclusions over the course of one year:
The Task Force agreed upon a working definition for “human rights education” and, as so defined, human rights education is important to the education of children in Idaho’s school system.
Trends in Idaho will make it extremely difficult to establish human rights education as a separate subject area for which distinct curriculum standards would be appropriate.
Although “human rights education” is not a separate subject area within Idaho’s curriculum standards, it is possible to develop a human rights education curriculum that will enable teachers to link human rights education to Idaho’s content standards.
There are many existing content goals for Social Studies and Language Arts for which human rights themes are appropriate, if not required.
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 that have been incorporated into Idaho’s Content Standards as Idaho’s Legislature has mandated.
This project was developed 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, is to reach the minds and hearts of our children.
The only core program of its kind in the nation, the document features lessons developed by Idaho teachers for use in K-12 social studies, language arts, and visual arts courses. Each lesson is correlated to the Common Core standards.
Copies of the full document are available for $15.
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