April 20, 2007

Symposium on K-12 labor studies curriculum planned for May 19 in Albany

Source: NYSUT News Wire

The American Labor Studies Center (ALSC), in cooperation with the New York State Labor History Association (NYSLHA) and a wide variety of other organizations, will hold its first statewide conference "Integrating Labor Studies into the K-12 Curriculum" at the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) headquarters in Albany on Saturday, May 19, 2007. It will run from 10:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with an optional tour of the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy at 4:00 PM.

The conference is designed for elementary and secondary teachers. While primarily for Social Studies teachers, resources and curriculum materials for English, art and music will be shared.

Paul F. Cole, Executive Director of the ALSC, will open the conference with a presentation entitled Resources and Strategies for Integrating Labor Studies into the K-12 Curriculum. The presentation will review the wide variety of excellent resources available to teachers on the ALSC Web site www.labor-studies.org. They include classroom simulations on organizing a union and bargaining a contract, biographies, a bibliography, glossary of labor terms, labor quotes, filmography, photos, labor songs, labor policy issues, child labor as well as a collection of lesson plans, courses and online curriculum materials.

Workshops are planned to focus on a standards-based thematic unit "Hardball and Handshakes" that uses the history of labor relations in Major League Baseball to learn about unions by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown; an in-depth look at resources and activities on child labor; using the arts and music to teach labor history; and using the Kate Mullany story as a case study for using local history to teach students about the efforts of workers to organize. The workshops will be offered twice.

A special feature of the conference will be a fascinating portrayal of Mary Harris "Mother" Jones by Peggy Orner. "Mother" Jones was one of the most colorful personalities in labor history and Orner's portrayal is a moving as well as enlightening presentation.

The New York State Board of Regents has a policy statement supporting the conference goals. It states: "The Board of Regents calls upon all members of the education community to recognize and include the contributions of the American Labor movement as an integral part of the school curriculum."

Registration is free and teachers will be eligible for professional development hours through the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center.