Columbia Public School District Bringing the 1619 Project to Classrooms
This week at a meeting of its school board, the Columbia Public School District officially accepted a grant from the Pulitzer Center to teach aspects of the New York Times’ 1619 Project in the classroom. The Columbia Daily Tribune reports:
The 1619 Project is a central aspect of what is known as Critical Race Theory, which has been a controversial topic.
Under the program, teams of educators will receive grants of $5,000 each “to support exploration of key questions of racial justice and other pressing issues,” the agenda item reads.
District educators must manage the writing and sharing of at least one of the standards-aligned unit plans that connect students to resources from The 1619 Project as part of unit objectives. Unit plans should explore questions including under-reported stories and why they are important; the role of journalism in evaluating history; and examining contemporary under-reported issues with connections to the past.
Those following the Show-Me Curricula Project may have noticed that this was in the hopper, in light of the grant application we received from the district that it had filed with the Pulitzer Center. The memorandum of understanding, however, provides further definition to what is expected for the money. From the memorandum, which is also filed in our public database:
Network teams will develop standards-aligned units that engage their students in The 1619 Project, and other journalism and historical sources, to strengthen connections to existing curricula, practice media literacy skills, and build empathy. At least two educators from each team will then implement units with at least two classes, evaluate student outcomes, and share their projects publicly through Pulitzer Center’s lesson library and virtual professional development programs. Program details and deliverables are further outlined below. (Emphasis mine)
Keep in mind that the grant requires “at least two educators” and “at least two classes” to teach the 1619 Project. This is only the minimum required under the grant. It does not touch on what other teachers might bring into the classroom on their own. In any case, the board’s adoption of the 1619 Project appears to give a green light to bringing those resources and related resources into the classroom.