NIH gives $647K to project teaching middle schoolers 'anti-Racism and Cultural Equity'

The project draws on curriculum designed for both primary and secondary school education.

A University of Michigan professor received over $600,000 for his 'YES for Engaging Youth for anti-Racism And Cultural Equity' project.

The National Institutes of Health gave $647,851 to a University of Michigan professor for a study teaching middle school students anti-racism as a way to prevent bullying.

Public health professor Marc Zimmerman leads the project, titled “YES for Engaging Youth for anti-Racism And Cultural Equity.” 

Per the proposal, the specific study will integrate the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Teaching Tolerance curriculum and the Youth Empowerment Solutions Curriculum, which is made by the University of Michigan.

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The project chooses to focus on middle school students due that age being a “developmental period when independence from parents begin.” 

One SPLC lesson targeted to high school students asks them to use “basic news reporting skills to explore the impact of environmental racism.” For that lesson, students will create a “mock news broadcast to cover an instance of environmental racism.”                      

The Teaching Tolerance curriculum also contains exercises for primary school, encouraging those teachers to educate their students on “White Anti-Racist Biographies.”

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”For young white students, explorations of fair and unfair, just and unjust, can go a long way in advancing anti-racist white identity,” the curriculum states.

Additionally, for grades 3-5, the curriculum features a Halloween-themed activity, where students explore “stereotypes and biases in visual media promoting Halloween costumes.”

The exercise also encourages teachers to tell students that some Halloween costumes can hurt others.

”Halloween costumes are designed for fun, but some costumes perpetuate stereotypes or reinforce limited and/or hurtful ways of thinking about people,” the lesson states.