The Choices Blog

History and Current Issues for the Classroom

Month: December 2011

Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empiricism

There’s a good read at Foreign Policy about the misperceptions that contribute to the debate about Afghanistan. It has a list of the limited number of Afghanistan experts in the United States. Several of these scholars helped Choices with its curriculum unit The United States in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan will continue to be a topic of debate in U.S. foreign policy, and will likely garner extra attention because of the presidential election. Our curriculum materials are a good way to bring the expertise of those few scholars of Afghanistan into classrooms and then on into the hands of students. Watch the video clip to get a sense of what they have to offer and some the issues raised in the unit.

YouTube for Schools

Google has just launched YouTube for Schools, a network setting that school administrators can turn on to grant access only to the educational content from YouTube EDU. Teachers can choose from the hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube EDU created by more than 600 partners like the Smithsonian, TED, Steve Spangler Science, Khan Academy and Numberphile.

They’ve also worked with teachers to put together more than 300 playlists broken out by subject and by grade level. You can find them listed out at

Events in Syria Bear Watching

The situation in Syria continues to worsen. A UN sponsored commission, led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, has just issued a report on the deteriorating conditions there and the suffering of civilians. Pinheiro, who collaborated with Choices on its human rights curriculum, testified today (12.2.11) in an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission, “The extreme suffering of the population inside and outside Syria must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Victims expect nothing less from the United Nations and its member states.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called for urgent measures by the international community.

In this video Pinheiro describes the role of UN in protecting human rights.

We at Choices plan to release a Teaching with the News on the latest developments on the Arab Spring in about ten days. An updated version of Shifting Sands: Balancing U.S. Interests in the Middle East is schedule for release in late 2011.

Here are a few interesting sources on current events in Syria:

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