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Program: Teaching for a Bias-Free World, Edison, NJ
Contact(s): Elaine Koplow, Instructor: (732) 549-5543
Purpose: To instruct educators about their role in eliminating bias, to assist them in creating lesson plans that address bias and to provide a library of these resources

Background Program Operations Outcomes


The Edison School District has a minority student population of more than 50 percent. In an effort to eliminate racial tension and bias, the school district has implemented an initiative that focuses on character and academic development. One of the programs developed, "Teaching for a Bias-Free World" (TBFW), is meant to work with the district's teachers to eliminate prejudice and maintain an awareness of where bias exists in the schools.

Program Operations

Developed in 1997, TBFW is a 10-hour course for teachers of all subjects and grade levels in the Edison School District. The course examines the historical and psychological traits that contribute to prejudice and bias. The TBFW reviews the current situation existing at each school, as well as the role of the instructor in preventing bias and eliminating prejudice. The course is a hands-on experience for the teachers and is meant to give them new tools to integrate into their classes. Instructors review sample lesson plans ranging from health to business, and they employ activities that can be used in the classroom. Teachers are taught ways to incorporate the examples into their current lesson plans. In this way, the lessons taught in the program will directly benefit the students. Class size is kept small (approximately 15) to create an atmosphere more conducive to openness. The course serves as a forum for an exchange of ideas between teachers. The district is using the samples developed by the course and by individual teachers to create an "idea bank" of lesson plans that can be freely shared.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

In its first year, TBFW held two classes in the Edison School District, one for teachers and one for support staff. The teachers who attended the class developed 10 sample lesson plans and came into contact with more than 2,000 students. Recognizing the work of the Edison School District, the New Jersey State Principal's Conference asked the instructor of the course to teach the seminar at its recent conference.

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