Lexington High School social studies teacher Larry David was recently accepted into The National Constitution Center’s Teacher Advisory Council. The council was recently launched in response to the divided political climate in the United States in the past year. Their goal is to combat polarization and misinformation within politics through education.
While the National Constitution Center has been a long established and well-known organization, the Teacher’s Advisory Council is a fairly new addition.
“[The center] got a little freaked out from what they saw in the wake of the last election with incredible arguments about voting fraud and misrepresentation,” David said.
In response to these controversies and the spread of propaganda, the Center wanted to take action at the root of the spread of information, schools.
“They decided that what was best was maybe a return to basic focus on improving our education for civics and how our government works. So they reached out to teachers that knew of government and policies, to teach how elections work and how the Constitution works, and how the electoral college works,” David said.
David explained how he is happy to be a part of this council and his continuous admiration for the Center.
“It’s a great deal, it’s an honor to be chosen, it’s an honor to be a part of it … it’s just a great resource. Before I even joined, I took a class with them and I still visited their museum, it’s a wonderful place,” David said.
As a part of the Council, David has been taking classes to better learn how to teach students about specific topics. Determining how to use unique teaching methods helps teachers and students take risks and express messages thoughtfully.
“They have us getting involved in learning more, attending sessions with experts talking about various aspects of government, ways to teach. For example, last week, they had a seminar about political cartooning, they actually brought in a Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist by the name of Mark Fiore,” David said.
When asked about the impact of his appointment for himself and for the LHS community, he talked about the importance of learning and its appeal for him.
“It’s a reflection of my willingness to be a life-long learner. It’s allowing me to be a model for students and fellow teachers, and I think it’s important also to point out to people out there,” David said.
David continued to talk about some of the preconceived notions regarding teaching and the life-long learning process.
“A lot of people have this sense that, as a teacher, you get your job and then that’s it, and you don’t advance … and it’s a lot more than that. One of the things that is really important as a teacher is that you continue to grow and learn……. You learn new ways of teaching your subject material, you deepen your knowledge base of the content you’re teaching. Kids ask a lot of questions, and the more that you learn, the more you’re able to handle those questions,” David said.
One of the main goals of the Council is to facilitate this idea of teachers continuing to learn and better themselves. For example, one way that the Council enforces this idea is by promoting and developing a community of teachers that can collaborate on and share materials.
David emphasized the importance of teaching American history and government.
“We as a country, have, in many ways, been very ignorant of how our government works and what it does. I think we’re very distracted by a lot of things in our lives, and the other shiny toys that our culture puts in front of us to get away from this. But, one of the things I think has come up from current events is that our government is really important…the political answer is ‘should we do this,’ and the constitutional answer is ‘can we do this?’…we have to constantly grasp with the interplay between the can and the should,” David said.