FIRE’s High School Outreach team heads to national educator conferences

November 20, 2019

FIRE’s High School Outreach team is in the midst of a very busy fall exhibiting at numerous educator conferences, including statewide English, social studies, charter school, and counselor events. We are excited to share our First Amendment resources for teachers widely and are encouraged to find that so many educators and administrators are interested in bringing enriching First Amendment lessons into their classrooms. Many have expressed their appreciation for our attendance, and the desperate need for these types of materials, given the current pressures on open discourse within academia. 

Soon we will be exhibiting our free speech curriculum materials at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in Austin, TX, and the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in Baltimore, MD, taking place Nov. 21-24. NCSS’s 2019 Conference theme is “Informed Action: Agency, Advocacy, and Activism,” while NCTE’s theme is “Spirited Inquiry.”

Our Director of High School Outreach, Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder, D.Ed., will be speaking at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at NCSS on the topic “Building Agency in Argumentation” and sharing selected materials from our Debate Activity Kit, including “Helping Students Build Comfort with Debate,” “Switching Sides: A Debate Activity,” “The Intellectual Turing Test,” and “The Disagreement Pyramid.” The goal is to equip educators with tools and tactics to guide students grappling with learning about multiple sides of a controversy. 

In the spring, our High School Outreach team will be adding to our travel schedule by heading to conferences of independent schools, history educators, and regional homeschooling associations. Look for us in 2020 in our hometown of Philadelphia, PA; Greenville, SC; Cleveland, OH; Fort Worth, TX; Cincinnati, OH; and Ontario, CA. We never get tired of sharing our enthusiasm and appreciation for our free speech rights with educators! 

In need of First Amendment resources for teachers? The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has you covered. Our “First Things First” First Amendment textbook for college undergraduates explores the fundamentals of modern American free speech law. Meanwhile, our K-12 First Amendment curriculum modules help educators enrich and supplement their existing instruction on First Amendment and freedom of expression issues in middle and high school classrooms. Explore for even more First Amendment educational resources.