Press Release

AFT, NEA and Presidential Inauguration Committee

For Release: 

Monday, January 12, 2009


Leslie Getzinger

WASHINGTON–The American Federation of Teachers, in partnership with the National Education Association and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, has created inauguration-focused lesson plans to help educators discuss with their students the historic swearing-in of Barack Obama as president of the United States. The lesson plans are available starting today at and

"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 ever could 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."

"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 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 lesson plans are designed to teach students about the history of Inauguration Day and provide information about the 2009 inaugural schedule of events as well as background on traditional inaugural ceremonies. The guides also suggest ways to supplement the lessons with discussion topics, films, books and educational Web sites. The materials are geared toward all K-12 grades.

The lesson plans are divided into three sections: "Learning History," which highlights the evolution of inaugural events beginning with George Washington's 1789 Inauguration; "Making History," which lets students follow along with President-elect Obama's swearing in on Jan. 20; and "Living History," which encourages students to continue studying American government and the presidency beyond Inauguration Day.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.