Assets of America: The Center for Teaching Peace
When Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy was asked in 1982 to teach a writing course at Washington, D.C. public school, he responded, "I’d rather teacher peace.” Not long after, he founded The Center for Teaching Peace as a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing information about peace education. In the following years, he has taught courses on nonviolence to more than 6,000 high school and college students in the Washington, D.C. area and traveled the country urging educators to devote more teaching time to peaceful conflict resolution.
McCarthy estimates that there are 50 million learners in American schools who are open to ideas that stress peaceful resolution instead of aggression. "Unless we teach our children peace,” he says, "someone else will teach them violence.”
The Center for Teaching Peace helps teachers, school districts, parents, students, and anyone else seeking either to begin or expand academic courses in peace education. In addition to providing assistance with curriculum development, it has also published two textbooks.
The efforts of the Center for Teaching Peace have encouraged the spread of peace studies around the country. Today, around 300 peace programs are in place, offering majors, minors and concentrations at the undergraduate and graduate levels. That is far different from 1970, when Manchester College in Indiana was the sole college with a peace program. But more needs to be done, says McCarthy. "Peace education is in its infancy.”
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