Disney Educational Productions has compiled and designed a new DVD package for students which includes an Educator's Guide to help teachers engage in meaningful discussions and complete lesson plans relating to Abraham Lincoln's presidency and the importance of that period in America's history. It is being done in conjunction with Participant Media's Social Action Campaign called "Stand tall: Live Like Lincoln" which was announced yesterday. Under the program, the DVD package will be received by all middle and high school students in America.
It is not yet known if the educational outreach will include the unfavorable aspects of Lincoln's presidency or stick with the boilerplate movie "Lincoln" edition from DreamWorks Pictures. Abraham Lincoln was the most powerful railroad lobbyist in America, jailed Senators and news reporters as well as publishers who disagreed with his course of action - yet none of that is talked about in the movie version. This is an apparent attempt to continue the popular Lincoln legacy without delving too far into the weeds of his most unpopular and unconstitutional actions during one of the more difficult times in America's history.
Speaking for the educational outreach, director Steven Spielberg said, “As more and more people began to see the film, we received letters from teachers asking if it could be available in their classrooms. We realized that the educational value that ‘Lincoln’ could have was not only for the adult audiences—who have studied his life in history books—but for the young students in the classroom as well.”
Participant CEO Jim Berk said yesterday, “Before the film was released, we engaged Penn Schoen Berland to conduct a research study to help inform the focus of our Social Action campaign for ‘Lincoln’—this is something we do for all our campaigns. Among the findings of the study was that more than half of Americans think it’s important to learn about Lincoln, but two thirds say they know little to nothing about him. While I’m sure that’s changed thanks to the tremendous popularity of the film and all the surrounding attention, it still clearly indicated the need to better educate our students about the 16th President’s accomplishments.” (The full research report is available for download on takepart.com/lincoln/research.) We look forward to reviewing the package sent to the students and see how it compares to the true history of Lincoln's presidency.
The movie "Lincoln" has grossed over $170 million to date and has elicited controversy from politicians, educators, historians and the general public as to if it is a movie or documentary. It is clearly not a documentary, although kudos needs to go to Spielberg for his attention to detail in the visual aspects of the movie. His team reproduced the actual wallpaper in the White House, books and various other superficial aspects which lend the film an air of authenticity.
On February 12, in honor of Lincoln’s Birthday, Participant Media’s Social Action Campaign, “Stand Tall: Live Like Lincoln” brought the film to 8 U.S. towns all named Lincoln, followed in mid-March with screenings at 15 Lincoln high schools across the country in largely underserved communities. As part of that effort, each school will receive brand-new, audio-visual equipment to best experience “Lincoln” and any future films they screen at their school. The new AV equipment includes: 120” portable screen, Blu-ray and DVD player, projector and new speakers. Screenings will be followed by moderated conversations and distribution of Disney’s educational curricula.