McAuliffe Scholarships Planned

By J.r. Sirkin & M. Sandra Reeves — June 24, 2019 2 min read

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers has established a new scholarship program for outstanding education majors at Bowie State College in Maryland, in memory of Sharon Christa McAuliffe, who perished last month in the space shuttle Challenger explosion.

Ms. McAuliffe received her master’s degree in education at Bowie State in 1978. She was a member of the A.F.T. while a teacher for the Prince George’s County (Md.) school system.

The National Education Association, the teachers’ union Ms. McAuliffe belonged to at the time of her death, has said it also plans to start a scholarship program to honor the New Hampshire high-school teacher. She had been president of the Bow, N.H., N.E.A. affiliate.

The A.F.T., which had planned to air a special 30-minute television broadcast on the Shuttle mission in March, now plans to dedicate the March edition of its television series, “Inside Your Schools,” to Ms. McAuliffe. The show will feature segments with outstanding teachers, A.F.T. officials said.

“Inside Your Schools” is carried on 100 Public Broadcasting Service stations, the Learning Channel Network, and 300 local cable stations, according to the A.F.T.

Bowie State, located between Baltimore and Washington, enrolls some 2,300 students, about 70 percent of whom are minority students.

The A.F.T. has asked that contributions to the scholarship fund be made payable to the “McAuliffe Scholarship/BSC Foundation,” and that they be sent to the A.F.T.'S Public Relations Department, 555 New Jersey Ave., I N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001.

Contributions are welcome from the general public as well as from A.F.T. members, a spokesman said.

In other developments related to the shuttle disaster:

  • The Board of Education of the Shawnee Mission (Kan.) School District voted Feb. 10 to name a new elementary school, now under construction, the Christa McAuliffe Elementary School. “I believe this may be the first of many school districts that will honor Mrs. McAuliffe in this manner,” said Superintendent Raj K. Chopra.
  • Films for the Humanities Inc., a Princeton, N.J., concern, is distributing “Teacher in Space,” a 50-minute film portrait of Ms. McAuliffe produced by Westinghouse Broadcasting and Cable Inc. and narrated by Burgess Meredith. The film, available in all videocassette formats, was produced before the launch and profiles Ms. McAuliffe’s life and work, presenting her in the classroom, with family and friends, and during her astronaut training.

The film is available for purchase or rental, according to the distributors, and is accompanied by a two-part discussion guide that presents both the lessons from space and suggested approaches for dealing with students’ responses to the tragedy.

For further information, write or call Films for the Humanities, Inc., P.O. Box 2053, Princeton, N.J. 08540; (609) 452-1128.

A version of this article appeared in the February 26, 1986 edition of Education Week


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