Teaching Tolerance Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Sep 16, 2011, 10:16 ET from Southern Poverty Law Center

Fall Issue of Teaching Tolerance Magazine Celebrates Two Decades of Anti-Bias Education

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Sept. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), celebrates its 20th anniversary in the new issue of its award-winning Teaching Tolerance magazine released today.

Over the last two decades, Teaching Tolerance has become one of the nation's leading providers of anti-bias education resources, reaching hundreds of thousands of educators and millions of students annually. These materials are provided by the SPLC to educators at no cost.

"When Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees created Teaching Tolerance 20 years ago, he hoped to provide teachers with the tools to teach students to respect differences and appreciate diversity," said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. "We're proud that Teaching Tolerance has become a trusted resource for educators across the country."

After its first 20 years of fighting hate and extremism, the SPLC recognized that teaching children to appreciate and respect diversity makes them less vulnerable to hate groups eager to recruit a following. The program that resulted was Teaching Tolerance, a pioneer in anti-bias education.

Teaching Tolerance produces a magazine for educators, online curricula and professional development resources, including multimedia teaching kits that have introduced students to various civil rights issues.

Teaching Tolerance's classroom documentaries with social justice themes have become signature products. They have been viewed by tens of millions of schoolchildren. Two of the documentaries – Mighty Times: The Children's March and A Time for Justice – have won Academy Awards in the short documentary category. A digitally restored version of A Time for Justice is being offered to schools this year.  

Teaching Tolerance also created the national Mix It Up at Lunch Day, which provides a way for students to take the lead in promoting tolerance and understanding. Students are asked to sit with someone new in the cafeteria for just one day. More than 10,000 schools participate in this annual event dedicated to breaking down social and racial barriers. 

In addition to celebrating its anniversary, the latest edition of Teaching Tolerance magazine examines an array of classroom issues. The article "Game Changer" examines how to create physical education classes that are welcoming to all students and emphasize health and fitness.

The magazine also explores the teaching of the Civil War. James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, examines Civil War myths that have crept into classrooms. Loewen refers to source documents to provide an accurate account of the war's causes and explains how a distorted view of the Civil War can shape today's attitudes about race.

Other articles examine bullying by teachers and how art programs, which are frequently the target of budget cuts, are often the reason struggling students stay focused on school. These articles and others include links to online resources with more information and lesson plans for educators.

New features also debut in this issue. "Ask Teaching Tolerance" provides a venue for educators to ask for advice on anti-bias topics. "Down the Hall" spotlights administrators making a difference. The new issue can be read at www.teachingtolerance.org.

Teaching Tolerance magazine, published twice a year by the SPLC, is the nation's leading journal serving educators on diversity issues. The magazine was named the 2009 Periodical of the Year by the Association of Educational Publishers, the fourth time it has won the honor.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, with offices in Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama, is a nonprofit civil rights organization that combats bigotry and discrimination through litigation, education and advocacy. For more information, see www.splcenter.org.

SOURCE Southern Poverty Law Center