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High school textbooks used in the Lodi area make no mention of Sept. 11 terror attacks

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Posted: Friday, September 8, 2006 10:00 pm

Some Lodi-area high school students say they would be interested in learning about the events of Sept. 11, 2001, but their textbooks don't even mention it.

As the nation remembers Sept. 11 on Monday, some Lodi Unified School District students say they would like to know more about the tragedy.

But the subject often doesn't come up in class, teachers aren't required to teach it, students don't usually ask about it and the state doesn't have a curriculum plan for Sept. 11.

Educators acknowledge the importance of the day in American history, but most textbooks in use now were printed before the attacks even happened. California's curriculum standards say the only social science class to cover modern-day events in the United States is for 11th graders.

In 2001, Lodi Unified's Grade 11 history textbook was two years old. The state requires books to be replaced every seven years.

"A textbook is not a curriculum, a textbook is a resource," said LUSD's instructional media coordinator Anne Cecchetti. In a few months, social science educators will start reviewing textbooks from several publishers. New books will begin to be introduced next school year.

Students expressed sadness for the thousands of people who perished in the terrorist attacks but seemed misguided about its commemoration.

A Tokay High student said she and her mother were going to a cemetery Monday evening, but didn't know what they'd do there. Another said she forgot the Sept. 11 anniversary was on Monday. Some students at Liberty Continuation High School were planning to bring miniature American flags to school.

Area schools will likely follow President Bush's directive that Americans display flags at half-staff and observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. (the time the first of two airplanes hit the World Trade Center).

"It was a huge ordeal for the first couple weeks, then in school nobody ever talked about it again," said Nicholas Hill, 17, a senior at Liberty.

Ultimately, teachers decide what students learn in class about Sept. 11.

Tokay High School history department chair Steve Von Berg said he talks about current events daily. Recently, topics included al-Qaida audiotapes and World Trade Center rescue workers' reports of lung disease.

Resources on the Web

California Department of Education
Links to literature, government and library lesson plans; information from school psychologists on coping with the tragedy. http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/lb/sept11.asp
Constitutional Rights Foundation nonprofit civic education organization. Access to free lesson plans, discussion topics and research materials. http://www.crf-usa.org/Sept11/Sept11_home eLibrary.com
Lodi Unified teachers, parents and students can get a user name and ID from their schools. This site offers multimedia materials from magazines, journals, books, newspapers, radio and television. http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/
The September 11 Digital Archive
Electronic media is used to collect, preserve and present public responses to Sept. 11. Includes images, audio, a Web portal and published documents. http://911digitalarchive.org/

"There's so much in the news; people talk about it all the time. It almost seems like overkill to be teaching it in class," said Paul Shreiner, a Tokay High world history teacher.

Teachers can bring materials into class to supplement their textbooks, and the district loans items through its Instructional Media Center.

Free multimedia downloads are available from a Web site called eLibrary. The San Joaquin County Office of Education and California Department of Education have Web pages with links to online resources.

"We can't forget that many of our children were too young at the time, they may not have any recollection, said Richard Dean, LUSD Board of Trustees president.

Monday's anniversary is a "teachable moment" when educators can talk about the issues surrounding Sept. 11, said Gary Dei Rossi, San Joaquin County's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

"9/11 is more a piece of the whole picture, of terrorism, what's going on in the Middle East, religious strife," Dei Rossi said.

Contact reporter Kendyce Manguchei at kendycem@lodinews.com.

First published: Friday, September 8, 2006

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