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NEA, AFT and Presidential Inaugural Committee Bring Obama Inauguration to the Classroom

Inauguration Instructional Activities Now Available on NEA Website

WASHINGTON - January 12, 2009 -

At the request of the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) worked together to create a series of instructional guides and activities to help teachers across the country bring the 56th Presidential Inauguration to life in their classrooms.   The guides are now available at: and

“It is crucial that our students understand that we are not only living history and making history with this inauguration, but also carrying forward the historical contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his influence on our incoming 44th president,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “These important lesson plans will help students understand President-elect Obama's message of a 'sense of unity and shared purpose' into the next four years and beyond.”

The instructional guides, developed jointly by a team of curriculum experts from AFT and NEA, are designed to teach students about the history of Inauguration Day and other historical connections to this particular inauguration. They include information about the 2009 Inaugural schedule of events and background on traditional Inaugural ceremonies. The guides also provide suggestions for supplementing the lessons with discussion topics, films, books and other educational websites.

“The American presidential inauguration is a transformational moment that brings together our collective past and present and our hopes for the future,” said AFT president Randi Weingarten. “It reminds us more clearly than mere words could ever say that power in this country truly rests with the American people. These lesson plans are intended as tools to help teachers and their students live our rich history and build our brighter future. The AFT is proud to have been part of this important project and this historic moment,” Weingarten said.

The lesson guides are divided into three sections: “Learning History," which highlights the evolution of Inaugural events beginning with George Washington’s Inauguration in 1789, “Making History," which lets students follow along with President-elect Obama's swearing in on January 20, and “Living History," which encourages students to continue studying the American Government and the Presidency beyond Inauguration Day. The materials are geared toward students from elementary school to high school, and offer lesson modifications based on the students’ ages.

“We are thrilled to partner with the AFT and NEA to make these lesson plans available to teachers across the country,” said PIC Executive Director Emmett S. Beliveau. “Inauguration Day is rich with tradition and speaks to both our common history and our shared future. We hope that these resources will help inspire students to learn more about this historic day.”

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has committed to making Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Inauguration the most accessible and inclusive in history, and these lesson plans are just one more way that communities across the country can become involved in this historic event. These lesson plans will help students of all ages feel part of this historic moment in our country.

For more information on NEA’s inaugural activities, please go to:

For the latest information on the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, please visit

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2  million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson
 (202) 822-7823,