Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today announced that it is removing from its website the materials originally created for classroom use in conjunction with the ABC Television Network docudrama, “The Path to 9/ll,” scheduled to air on the ABC Television Network on September 10 and 11, 2006. A new classroom discussion guide for high school students is being created and will focus more specifically on media literacy, critical thinking, and historical background.
“After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues,” said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic. “At the same time, we believe that developing critical thinking and media literacy skills is crucial for students in today’s society in order to participate fully in our democracy and that a program such as ‘The Path to 9/11’ provides a very ‘teachable moment’ for developing these skills at the high school level. We encourage teachers not to shy away from the controversy surrounding the program, but rather to engage their students in meaningful, in-depth discussion.”
The new guide clearly states that Scholastic had no involvement with developing the ABC docudrama, and that the company is not promoting the program, but that the program can provide a springboard to discussion about the issues leading up to 9/11, terrorism and the Middle East. The guide will focus on three issues:
1. Media Literacy - what is a docudrama; how does it differ from a documentary; what are the differences between factual reporting and a dramatization?
2. Background to 9/11 - what are some of the causes of unrest in the Middle East and other parts of the world that give rise to attacks on the U.S. and other countries?
3. Geography and Culture -- there is a long history of conflict in the Middle East. How well do students understand each of the countries involved and what influences their behavior?
Scholastic has been providing free educational materials for use in the classroom in conjunction with television programs and films since the 1950’s. Classroom discussion guides have also been created in the past to support discussion of major events such as the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters, the shootings at Columbine and many others.
“As we have done with many discussion guides in the past related to major events, we encourage teachers to engage their students in these important discussions about news, media and public opinion. Understanding and evaluating media messages can be challenging for adults and young people alike and developing media literacy skills is critical for students in order for them to be well-informed participants in our democratic society,” added Robinson.
The Scholastic mission is clearly stated in its credo and editorial platform which includes the statement: “Good citizens may honestly differ on important public questions. We believe that all sides of the issues of our times should be fairly discussed – with deep respect for facts and logical thinking – in classroom magazines, books and other educational materials used in schools and homes.”
The new guide will be available on Friday, September 8 at www.scholastic.com/medialiteracy
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company's Internet site, www.scholastic.com