As 9/11 drifts into history, Colorado has no statewide standards on teaching kids about it

Educating students about the terror attacks 20 years ago largely left up to teachers

Elizabeth Hernandez
The Denver Post
Cookies of Remember 9/11 at Fire House 35 at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado on Friday, September 10, 2021. Denver International Airport and the Denver Fire Department hosted an event to dedicate a permanent installation made of World Trade Center steel to the victims of 9/11 and first responders.
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Wagma Mommandi dreaded navigating the ninth grade as a Muslim student in Denver Public Schools in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“9/11 was the most significant thing in my life as a person whose parents are from Afghanistan,” she said. “Everything in our lives has been shaped by 9/11. We were extremely ostracized. There was a lot of Islamophobia. I remember wishing so badly people didn’t want to talk about it with me. I just wanted them to let me assimilate and try to be a wallflower even though I’m brown.”

Now, the 33-year-old Mommandi — a former teacher and current Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado Boulder’s School of Education — is helping create curriculum to educate beyond the headlines of 9/11 and teach how the terrorist attacks and their aftermath shaped the nation and world, and continue to reverberate 20 years later.

The curriculum, called “Teaching Beyond September 11,” is a project spearheaded by Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and a group of educators, scholars and community activists to help teachers deepen their students’ understanding of the horrific event and its long shadow.

Read more via The Denver Post.

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