Richard Dreyfuss’s Opus

The other day I thought about Richard Dreyfuss and wondered what he’s been up to since his visit to my school last year.  You may remember that I was less than impressed with his method of engaging students as well as his overall message [and here].  Well, it looks like he finally has a website up, but if you take some time to explore its contents you will notice that it is void of any curricular materials or much of anything at all to assist teachers and students in the teaching of civics.  From what I can tell Dreyfuss has done little more than continue his whirlwind tour of America’s classrooms where he has impressed upon students the importance of understanding the Constitution and the importance of rational debate.  Who would disagree with that?

This past week Dreyfuss was honored with the 2010 Empire State Archives and History Award.  I don’t know anything about this award, but it seems to me that this is a sign of what’s wrong with our society and education.  As much as I applaud Dreyfuss for bringing attention to this issue there are people who work day after day in the trenches teaching this material.  Organizations promoting the teaching of civics are a dime a dozen and there are already more than enough curricular materials for the classroom. Can someone please tell me what Mr. Dreyfuss has done to deserve an award?  We give these people awards as a quick fix rather than taking the time to acknowledge the deeper problems within our education system.

In the meantime may I suggest that Mr. Dreyfuss find a more appropriate outfit to wear in the classroom.  Some of us consider ourselves to be professionals when we walk into our classrooms.

CraterThanks for reading this post. Scroll down, leave a comment and join the conversation if you are so inclined. Follow me on Twitter and join the Civil War Memory Facebook group for continuous updates and additional links to newsworthy items from around the interwebs. Stay up to date by subscribing to this blog’s feed. You can also check out my recently published book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.

7 comments… add one

  • Michaela Oct 12, 2010

    He and Mr. Tony Danza should start a school: the Actor’s School of Excellence… or the imaginary world of education. I also am waiting for Mandy Patinkin to start a hospital and be the chief of Emergency Medicine.

  • MississippiLawyer Oct 12, 2010

    Duh Kevin, he got the award because he is freaking Matt Hooper.

  • Amos Humiston Oct 12, 2010

    I caught Dreyfuss’s act at Gettysburg’s Remembrance Week 2009. His speech on Dedication Day at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery was a well-intentioned mess: a string of cliches about “civics,” delivered in a scolding tone, with very little in the way of actual ideas or useful suggestions. Embarrassing, really.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 13, 2010

      The “scolding tone” or Dreyfuss sounds very familiar. That was the tone he used with our students and probably did more damage than good.

  • Larry Cebula Oct 12, 2010

    Wow–he appears to believe he is making a difference but is in fact doing nothing at all.

  • Nat Turners Son Oct 13, 2010

    Kevin why did your school allow such a doofus to come on campus to speak??

  • Gordon Belt Oct 14, 2010

    Funny you should mention this. Dreyfuss was in Nashville this week to talk about civics and had lunch with by boss the FAC…

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20101012/NEWS01/101012076/-1/WORKAROUND01

    Luckily, mashed potatoes were not on the menu…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqhE7ieH2R8

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