Every year, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, UW–Madison’s Diana Hess and Jeremy Stoddard write a new story examining how teaching about 9/11 is changing with the times.
This year, Hess and Stoddard co-wrote a piece for Bay City News titled, “Twenty-two years since 9/11: What schools teach about that day and the war on terror.”
Hess is the dean of the School of Education and the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education. Stoddard is a professor and chair of the secondary education program in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
“The phrase ‘Never Forget’ is often associated with the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But what does this phrase mean for U.S. students who are too young to remember?” Hess and Stoddard write.
Together, they examine how teachers are educating students on the attacks, given that none were alive to experience it.
“While honoring the victims and helping a new generation understand the significance of these events are important, we believe there are inherent risks in teaching a simple nationalistic narrative of heroism and evil.”
Hess and Stoddard warn against the “risks of a simple narrative,” stating that much information is often left out, especially when teachers only spend one day discussing 9/11. They also comment on the generational differences between teachers.
“Younger teachers in particular reported different goals for their students that go beyond commemoration or a focus on the shocking nature of the events of the day. They want young people to recognize how the events and policies that followed 9/11 impacted daily life in ways they might not realize.”