E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt is ready to rock America's middle and high schools.
Van Zandt's Rock & Roll Forever Foundation announced a partnership with Grammy Museum to launch "Rock & Roll: An American Story (RRAAS)," a education curriculum designed to teach middle and high school students about the societal influence of rock music. The curriculum -- including multimedia materials -- will be made available for free to every interested middle and high school beginning this fall.
At an event at New York University, Van Zandt aired a short film showing a pilot class in the Bronx, reports Rolling Stone. Students related Aretha Franklin's "Respect" to the Civil Rights Movement and watched The Temptations performing for an all-white audience. "The whole idea is to connect the dots using the popular music of whatever period of time to connect to what was happening historically," Van Zandt says in a promotional video posted on the foundation's website.
At the NYU event, Van Zandt recalled that when he was a kid, a school librarian impressed him by showing him the connection between Bob Dylan and the literary greats of the past, drawing him into the world of literature. "Through this simple gesture, the classroom came alive for me," Van Zandt explained. Now he hopes this program will do something similar for a new generation of American students.
Rolling Stone reports that NYU will host programs to train teachers in the curriculum this summer, and the foundation hopes to have the program in place across school districts in several major cities within three years.
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