8 episodes

Talking about race and class in America has never been easy. The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina provides an opportunity to renew the American conversation on this subject—a challenging agenda for our society today. “It’s very hard to pierce through the public consciousness and to do a sustained public education campaign in the absence of some great conflict,” President Clinton observed when launching his Panel on Race. Hurricane Katrina pierced public consciousness in ways that, however painful and disturbing, provide an opening for dialogues central to democratic citizenship. This curriculum, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and created by educators from Teachers College, Columbia University, takes the HBO Documentary Film Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke, as both impetus, touchstone and text for democratic dialogues in schools, colleges, and community organizations. The images and voices in Lee’s film, some from news coverage of the hurricane, may be hard to reconcile with many Americans’ ideas of their nation. These voices and images compel us to ask: “What kind of country are we? What kind of country do we want to be?”

Teaching The Levees Curriculum Project Teachers College, Columbia University

    • Science

Talking about race and class in America has never been easy. The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina provides an opportunity to renew the American conversation on this subject—a challenging agenda for our society today. “It’s very hard to pierce through the public consciousness and to do a sustained public education campaign in the absence of some great conflict,” President Clinton observed when launching his Panel on Race. Hurricane Katrina pierced public consciousness in ways that, however painful and disturbing, provide an opening for dialogues central to democratic citizenship. This curriculum, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and created by educators from Teachers College, Columbia University, takes the HBO Documentary Film Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke, as both impetus, touchstone and text for democratic dialogues in schools, colleges, and community organizations. The images and voices in Lee’s film, some from news coverage of the hurricane, may be hard to reconcile with many Americans’ ideas of their nation. These voices and images compel us to ask: “What kind of country are we? What kind of country do we want to be?”

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