This Thursday evening, the Lincoln Legacy Lectures take place on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.
Traditionally, these have featured Lincoln historians. But with the topic “Lincoln and Education”, one of the guest speakers is a retired educator.
Paula Shotwell taught for years in District 186. She also created a living history program for 5th graders.
“I’ll be able to give the experience of working with kids for over 30 years,” she said.
Shotwell points out Lincoln often resonates less with students from the Springfield area, despite the strong ties to the former president. She lays part of the blame on budget cuts that have reduced field trips where children can see the Lincoln story up close. Also, Shotwell said the focus on test taking limits the time available for such learning.
“If we’re going to have Lincoln in our curriculum, it really does take a village in terms of resources, both monetary and volunteers,” she said. “We need our historic sites and historic volunteers, our historians, our universities, our teachers, our educators, our school districts all to be working together and communicating and pulling their resources so that together we can give our kids the best education we know how.”