HUMAN RIGHTS: The Struggle for Freedom, Dignity, and Equality Teacher Resource Guide: Connecticut State Board of Education-1998

Human Rights Manual Human Rights Manual Created for State of Connecticut

Every human being has the right to live in freedom and dignity. The United States Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948, and many other documents throughout the world describe these rights in detail and affirm them with clarity and force.

Yet human rights violations continue worldwide.

Elie Wiesel, author, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner, noted: Just as memory preserves the past, so does it ensure the future. And our dedication is to both. This guide is offered in that spirit.

During 1985-1986 a study funded by the Jewish Foundation of Greater Hartford Inc. was undertaken by a team from the University of Connecticut to determine the effects of education about human rights on students. Nine-hundred and twenty students in nine Connecticut school districts were involved in the research, which consisted of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The students, in Grades 7-12, came from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and academic ability levels. The results of the study were:

  • Significantly increases sensitivity, concern and a sense of responsibility toward one’s fellow human beings
  • Promotes students’ abilities to think on their own, using many higher-level thinking skills.
  • Encourages spirited discussion, without the usual competitive aspects, which results in greater trust among students, as well as between students and teachers; and increases teachers’ energy and enthusiasm for the profession.

These conclusions hold true for multiage classrooms and those practicing inclusion, as well as those that are more traditionally grouped.

Eve Soumerai, human rights educator and Holocaust survivor and Carol Schulz are the principal authors of this study guide.