Good morning, Columbus!
I hope you didn't sleep through your alarms or had any dreams about failing that math exam. Thanks for again tuning into our new education newsletter.
Before today's stories, a quick intro about me to round out your Dispatch education team: I'm Sheridan Hendrix and I cover higher education. My job's main focus is Ohio's colleges and universities, as well as all the issues affecting students like college debt, hazing and mental health. If you're a big newsletter fan, you might also know me from our Mobile Newsroom newsletter, which I also write every Wednesday. The kitchen is my happy place, I love crocheting and trivia, and I'm usually daydreaming about my next vacation.
A lot of Ohio students are back in the classroom after spring break last week, so let's get caught up on some education news.
Review session: In a little K-12/higher ed crossover, my colleague Michael Lee has been reporting on a new textbook aimed at helping middle and high school teachers provide lessons that address issues of historical inequity and inequality – that also meet the state's potentially shifting standards.
Ohio Wesleyan University education professor Sarah Kaka recently edited a book titled "Hollywood or History? An Inquiry-Based Strategy for Using Film to Teach About Inequality and Inequity Throughout History," which published earlier this year.
The book includes dozens of one- to two-day lesson plans for students grades 6-12 where teachers show students clips from movies, then ask students to analyze them based on how accurate their portrayal is of various topics such as slavery, gender inequality, LGBTQ+ rights, racial inequity and Native American rights.
(For what it's worth, I would've loved history lessons like this as a kid. Two of my favorite college classes — Media, Law and Ethics, and Holocaust Movies and Literature — used films as the main class material!)
The goal, among others things, is to work students' critical-thinking skills, said Kaka, who’s also director of OWU's middle childhood, adolescence to young adult, and multi-age licensure program.
This new book isn't just a fun approach to lesson planning. It's one way educators are trying to help others still teach difficult topics in U.S. history as two bills in the Ohio House bills aim to prevent such discussions in the classroom.
Conversations surrounding critical race theory continue percolate in the state legislature, and educators are looking for ways to prepare curriculum that would fall within the parameters of anti-CRT legislation in the event it passes.
Fourteen states have passed legislation that bans teaching "divisive" issues in schools, which include racism, sexism, white privilege, and sexuality, Kaka said. Twenty-two others, including Ohio, are considering similar legislation.
Kaka said she doesn't believe this book violates any current or potential future laws, but she worries that if the two House bills are passed, teachers generally won’t know what they can teach without running into problems.
“It’s taking away their academic freedom, it’s taking away their curricular autonomy, which I think, you’re taking away the teachers' love and passion for what they’re able to do,” Kaka said.
Make sure you don't miss Michael's full story, coming out soon, and stay with The Dispatch as we continue tackling this important issue.
Most Ohio colleges have lifted their mask mandates — has yours? Here's which greater Columbus colleges are ending their indoor mask mandates. (Will colleges see a spike in new cases as students return from spring break? We'll know for sure in the coming weeks.)
Even as COVID cases around the Greater Columbus area decrease, you can keep tracking how many COVID-19 cases your school district has reported.
It's been two years since Ohio reported its first COVID-19 case. How has life changed?
Denison University students and alumni are rallying in support of Karen Powell Sears, a Black female professor who was denied tenure late last year. Students say the university should grant her tenure, and this isn't the first time this has happened.
Olentangy Schools, one of Greater Columbus' fastest-growing school districts, has selected Nathan Davis as the principal for Berlin Middle School. The district’s newest middle school will open in August 2023.
On top of its $20 billion semiconductor operation, Intel announced Thursday that it is investing $50 million in grants directly to Ohio higher education institutions to start training its future workforce.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Inclusive lesson plans in controversial times, STEM grants to colleges and a new principal