never forget - teaching 9/11 to students who were not alive then

News station 47 abc reported a story on January 19, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland about Representative for District 37B Johnny Mautz who introduced a new bill titled "Education - Commemoration - Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001."

The bill serves to bring recognition of the 9/11 attacks to Maryland’s public schools.

In my lifetime I have not seen us as one country as one nation the way we were the days and the weeks following what happened. And that’s something that should be remembered and held up,
— Johnny Mautz

“Never forget” applies to those of us who were alive at the time of the attacks.

We can’t help but recall where we were. We were glued to television for hours and days on end. We can talk about, philosophize and commiserate with each other about the many complex issues surrounding the horrendous event. We remember. But there’s a new wave of people who weren’t alive then. It’s challenging to explain how life was before 9/11 to them, as they’ve known nothing else.

Only about 20 states include detailed 9/11 content in their high school social studies curriculum. 

Teachers have a difficult time with how and if to teach about September 11, 2001. Per an NPR article, Cheryl Duckworth, a professor of conflict resolution at Florida's Nova Southeastern University, “found that if Sept. 11 is addressed in classrooms, too often teachers don't want to tackle the complex, often ugly aftermath at home and globally: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Patriot Act and civil liberties; radical Islam and Islamophobia.”

A 2011 research paper on Civic Learning and Engagement by the Center for Information & Research highlighted the deficiencies in 9/11 curricula using material with "a startling lack of detail about what actually happened on 9/11.” The report also found that not much of the information was presented as controversial. 

Data is not currently tracked by the National Council for the Social Studies on how the 9/11 attacks are taught.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum doesn’t track it either. The museum does say requests for its professional development program have increased on the subject of 9/11 and they've offered several sessions in the past couple of years-with more planned for the future according to museum Communications Director Kate Monaghan. The museum also holds summer seminars for teachers titled "9/11 and American Memory."

Perhaps Mautz’s bill is the beginning of a much-needed push for bringing information to light on the U.S.’s most pivotal moment of our time to schools across the country. While the bill has not yet been assigned a number, it was to be read across the desk on January 22, 2018 and should be referred to the Ways and Means Committee.