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FIRE presenting at national K-12 social studies teachers conference

As part of FIRE’s Speech, Outreach, Advocacy, and Research (SOAR) Project, FIRE Vice President of Programs Peter Bonilla and I will be in San Francisco this week to present and exhibit at the National Council for the Social Studies’ Annual Convention for K-12 teachers.

This year’s conference theme is “Expanding Visions and Bridging Traditions” and will bring together more than 3,000 teachers from across the country to listen to guest speakers, gather information, participate in workshops, and attend presentations by accomplished educators, scholars, and public figures.

Billed as the world’s largest and most comprehensive social studies development conference and held at the city’s largest convention center, the Moscone Center, NCSS will also feature hundreds of exhibitors — from textbook publishers to youth activity programs, educational travel companies, and government agencies. FIRE is excited to be exhibiting for the first time at this premier event, as a means of expanding our outreach to the secondary school level. We believe that the sooner we can expose students to the principles underlying their free speech rights, the better we will be able to prevent misunderstandings and infringements at the college level.

FIRE is honored to have been selected to present Friday on the timely topic, “Teaching Free Speech: What Students and Educators Need to Know.” Presentations at NCSS are awarded on a competitive basis through a blind review process; over 1,200 presenters vied for a limited number of spots.

During the presentation, attendees will hear about our forthcoming teaching materials, which will provide teachers with a wealth of material on the history, philosophy, law, and current issues regarding freedom of speech. These will include PowerPoint presentations, handouts, critical thinking prompts, in-class activity kits, and a wide range of reading selections and short videos. All of these materials will be made available to teachers free of charge, and we look forward to sharing them widely in the weeks and months to come.

FIRE also has a variety of other First Amendment resources for teachers available on our website.

For those attending the conference, we hope you will join us. (See below for time and location.)

We look forward to interacting with many committed professionals at NCSS. We are very interested to hear honest and frank perspectives from teachers confronted with the challenges of teaching controversial topics in class while trying to foster an atmosphere of civil debate. We’re also eager to solicit feedback on the class materials we are developing. Teachers interested in learning more are encouraged to email us at

Date: Friday, Nov. 17, 1:00-1:30 pm

Session: “Teaching Free Speech: What Students and Educators Need to Know.”

Presenter: Bonnie Snyder - Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Location: Moscone Center West
800 Howard Street
Room Alcove A, 2nd Floor

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 Free Speech 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.

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