The Bush Institute
Thursday, March 26, 2015
DALLAS, TX (March 26, 2015) — The Bush Institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Center today launched Freedom Matters!, a supplemental curriculum developed to help high school students connect the foundations of freedom to today’s global struggles for liberty. The curriculum combines the personal stories of dissidents and democracy advocates featured in the Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection video archive with broader, universal concepts of freedom, rule of law, limited representative government, and the protection of individual rights.
Nearly 150 educators and school administrators attended today’s curriculum launch, hearing from former First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush and Margaret Spellings, President of the Bush Center, about why the global lessons included in the Freedom Matters! curriculum are so critical for today’s students.
“Less than one third of American students in grades 4, 8 & 12 are proficient in civics, the knowledge of the American constitutional system, and the role of government in civil society in the lives of free people,” said Mrs. Laura Bush. “Our goal with Freedom Matters! is simple: to foster the next generation of Americans to care about democracy and individual liberty at home and abroad.”
The curriculum, which consists of four units of teacher-led plans and supporting materials, leverages the Freedom Collection as a unique educational tool that introduces timely, high quality, multi-media content into the classroom without cost or need for special permissions. This unique feature embraces how today’s students learn and interact with information—through traditional readings, but also through videos and interactive tools.
Educators heard first-hand from two political dissidents featured in Freedom Collection videos, Xiqiu “Bob” Fu and Ammar Abdulhamid. Fu, a pastor and advocate for religious freedom in China, and Abdulhamid, a Syrian human rights activist, have led the charge for human rights in their home countries and currently reside in the United States as political refugees. The two joined educators to share their personal testimonies and field questions over lunch.
Following the curriculum’s morning launch, educators participated in in-depth training sessions, working with subject-matter experts to explore the curriculum’s content and identify opportunities to apply the lessons and principles in the classroom.
Freedom Matters! was created in cooperation with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and with participation from leading curriculum developers and subject matter experts. Evaluators from Johns Hopkins University and Southern Methodist University facilitated independent review and field testing by educators from across Texas. The curriculum is made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
To view the Freedom Matters! curriculum, visit: www.freedomcollection.org/curriculum