Facing History has a deep commitment to teachers and students in underserved urban areas, which represent over 60% of our work in schools. The problems and issues confronting urban schools are typically manifestations of larger societal problems related to social inequality, racism, and the deterioration of resource-deprived urban areas across the world.

By providing research-supported content and pedagogy that engages teachers and students and stimulates them to learn at the highest levels, Facing History works to bridge the opportunity gap that impedes success for young people in under-resourced communities.

Civic Learning Lab Videos

In 2012, with support from the Rita Allen Foundation, Facing History launched an Urban Civic Learning Lab in Memphis to continue to evaluate and communicate our extensive work in urban education.  As part of this work, last November we brought together 400 key scholars, teachers, administrators, students, and reformers to discuss the challenges facing urban schools and share solutions at “Engaging Education,” a full-day conference in Memphis.  Some of the highlights from this work are featured in the short videos below.

Conformity and Obedience

In this 8-minute video of a class at Douglass High School in Memphis, Program Director for Urban Initiatives Steven Becton uses George Orwell’s 1984 to engage students with themes of Conformity and Obedience. During the conversation, students make connections to how the issues play out in Nazi Germany and in their lives today.

Short description: Steven Becton uses George Orwell’s 1984 to engage with themes of conformity and obedience.

Stereotype Threat

In this 10-minute video, Dr. Claude Steele, social psychologist and dean of the Stanford School of Education, who keynoted Facing History’s ”Engaging Education” conference, explores the “identity contingencies” and stereotype threats that too often impact the experiences of minorities and women and affect student outcomes.

Short description: Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education and social psychologist Claude Steele describes the effects of stereotype threat in our daily lives and on our performance on cognitive tests.

Carson Schools Network

In this 6-minute video from the February 2013 Facing History Network Schools symposium, teachers and administrators talk about the value of being part of a network. The Carson Schools Network provides opportunities for educators in greater Los Angeles to share best practices and tackle some of the most challenging issues in urban education.

Short description: Teachers and administrators discuss the value of being part of The Carson Schools Network.