Letter to the Writers: Randy Roberts responds to recent piece about current events in Blake’s curriculum

Randy Roberts, Blake Social Studies Teacher

Hi Annelise and Brianna,

Thanks for your recent opinion column in The Spectrum (titled “Changing world necessitates dedicated current events class” in the 29 May issue).

I enthusiastically endorse and commend your efforts to publicly promote a better understanding of current issues and the need for Blake students to work hard at becoming better informed, more globally aware citizens.  This is indeed a vitally important mission of our school.
After reading your article, I could not help but wonder if you’ve looked carefully at the Blake Upper School Course Catalog and other activities at our school.  For example, I have taught a course at Blake for the past 14 years, titled Global Community, which addresses precisely the main points of your article.
As a sample of what I mean, here’s the Global Community class synopsis as it appears in the 2012-13 Course Catalog:
Global Community: A Current Events Model
First Semester Course
Would you like to understand better what is happening in the world today? This course is a rigorous examination of contemporary international issues and events. A classroom simulation of the United Nations will give students first-hand experience in proposing resolutions to pressing problems in the world today. This is a student- directed course with ample opportunities to discuss and debate. Guest speakers will share insights about current international organizations and activities.
Other Social Studies Dept. international courses deal with current issues and events in their historical context in various regions of the world, such as South Asia, East Asia, and various Latin American countries.  Many elective classes, such as “Political Science CIS”, “Moral Issues”, “Gender Studies”, and “Class and Race”, offer in-depth studies of timely, specific current issues and events.
In addition, Blake offers extra-curricular programs, such as Model United Nations, which delve into the ideas raised by your article.

Those of us who teach about topical issues at Blake are pleased that your educational motivations correspond well with many of our curricular goals and objectives.  We look forward to your enrollment and active participation in some of these courses.

Mr. R. Roberts