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Broadway Musical ‘Hamilton’ Revitalizes Civic Education

Broadway Musical ‘Hamilton’ Revitalizes Civic Education

Not only is Broadway musical "Hamilton" receiving praise and accolades for being a well-written piece of work with the only soundtrack to receive a five-star Billboard review, it’s also being praised for its revitalization of interest in civic education.

Presently, “the decline of civic education and students’ knowledge of US history is alarming. One recent survey found that only 43 percent of the nation’s 17-year-olds were able to place the Civil War within the correct 50-year time period,” said director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Charles Sahm in his article for The New York Post

Just two months ago, even, the non-profit Essentials in Education partnered with several other organizations to launch a national campaign to help teach students constitutional literacy in response to an influx of research that indicated today’s students are extremely unfamiliar with practical knowledge of the historical documents. 

Little did they know that a Broadway musical would make their job a whole lot easier—"Hamilton" "tells the story of the nation’s founding in a historically accurate and compelling manner. It’s all there: the Enlightenment ideals, the major battles of the Revolution, our original sin of slavery, the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers, Hamilton’s financial system, the French Revolution,” The New York Post said.

And history and English teachers should be taking note. Last week, "Hamilton" partnered with both The Rockefeller Foundation and NYC Department of Education officials to announce a program that will provide 20,000 NYC students with access to the show for just $10 a student beginning in April 2016.

In addition to providing access to the show, the groups will also develop and provide education programming to students and teachers. “The Hamilton Study and Performance Guide,” according to TheBroadwayBlog.com, will provide classes with an "online ‘Hamilton’ portal for students and teachers, and printed classroom materials that will offer students a creative platform for developing and producing their own original performances of poetry, rap, songs, scenes and other art expressions.””

The first round of students to be selected through the New York City Department of Education will be largely students who are eligible for free/reduced lunch.

Says Sahm: 

“I wrote some notes at the beginning,' Hamilton sings near the end of the musical, for 'America, you great unfinished symphony.'"

"If educators and philanthropists work together to make sure every high-school student in America is exposed to the brilliance and beauty of "Hamilton," that symphony will be ever more harmonious and resonant.”

Read more about "Hamilton" here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/01/2015

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