How Texas school districts are teaching students about the Biden inauguration

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — School districts across Texas have developed lesson plans to teach and showcase President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Many districts have given the authority to individual principals and teachers to develop the lesson plans, and only a few have said they have put restrictions in place.

Teaching about the inauguration is an important part of understanding how the government works and considering the roles, responsibilities, and challenges of the presidency. It is an opportunity for students to reflect on what the transfer of power looks like. It also helps students understand the current reality of the nation and the President’s goals and message.

Austin Independent School District

In the Austin Independent School District, some school principals encouraged remote families to tune in to a special broadcast that’s made for kids. Dr. Jill Biden, the first lady and lifelong educator, also promoted the recording, calling it a product “made especially for students and families.”

“As today is a historic event in American History with the installment and inauguration of the 46th president and vice president of the United States, here is a live-streaming site for teachers and students that has been designed specifically for students and youth to partake in today’s event,” the Kealing Middle School administration team wrote.

In addition to showing the full ceremony, the special broadcast included presidential trivia and fun commentary from cartoon figures.

AISD mom Sharon Cohan watched it with her two daughters, one in elementary school, the other in high school. She said they all soaked up the moment together, finding the special broadcast as invigorating as it was informational.

“When I was growing up, it didn’t occur to me that a woman could be vice president or president, and it hit me really hard with a lot of tears this morning that my youngest will never grow up thinking any different,” Cohan said. “For her, everything is going to be a possibility. Whether it is being president or vice president or singing for the president. Whatever she wants to do, there will never be a limit.”

In the Leander Independent School District, the social studies curriculum team curated specific resources for teachers to use when guiding students through the event. School officials said the lesson designs were cultivated with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills in mind.

However, some school districts in Texas are taking a stricter approach to covering the historic event.

After the deadly attack on the capitol on Jan. 6, the Plano Independent School District did not allow students to watch the inauguration.

A teacher in the Keller Independent School District shared a letter from her principal, which said the inauguration “will be taped so the district has gone through it and edited it down to just the swearing in.” Keller ISD told us parents will be able to opt their children out of seeing it altogether, which is a protocol it has had in past inaugurations.

Child psychologists say it’s important for children to witness and discuss current events.

“You can have an open conversation about how to appropriately handle how to disagree and handle conflicts. I think that’s a great opportunity for educators,” said Anastasia Taylor with the Alliance Child and Family Solutions. “Being able to see conflict and discuss how if we disagree or not, agree with how the conflict was handled, and how they’re voicing their disagreements.”

Resources for learning about the inauguration

School districts provided some trusted resources for learning and talking about the presidential inauguration with kids. Below you can find the links some schools are using.

Resources for K-5

Resources for 6-12

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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