An Interview with JMC Teacher Programs Manager Ben Boyce

An Interview with Benjamin Boyce

 

JMC Resident Historian Elliott Drago sat down with JMC Teacher Programs Manager Benjamin Boyce to discuss our mission and the importance of our Founding Civics Initiative, which gives teachers the confidence to teach primary source texts in their classrooms.

 

 

 

 

ED: Why did you decide to work for the Jack Miller Center?

I feel very fortunate to be a part of the mission of the Jack Miller Center.  Every person at the JMC is committed to the idea that Americans must remain connected to the traditions that brought us together as a nation.  As someone who has taught all over the world, I have seen first-hand what becomes of nations that focus on division, rather than what unites them. The JMC shares my passion and my duty to our nation.

ED: Why is it important that you are on the ground in your state?

Being the man on the ground, especially in Florida, is essential. The education landscape is constantly changing, and increasingly complex. We must be prepared to seize opportunities when they present themselves. We need to be here to work with people on all sides of the ongoing debate over civics and history education. Our work transcends politics; to do that, we have to cultivate personal relationships.

ED: What goals do you have for improving civics in your state? 

While I have several goals, my main focus is on helping more Florida teachers to have confidence in the material that they are teaching. JMC’s Founding Civics Initiative is dedicated to encouraging teachers to go to the original sources in civics and history—going to the source allows students to draw their own conclusions. My goal is to continue to expand our network of Florida teachers so they can bring these foundational texts to their students.

ED: Can you briefly describe, from a teacher’s perspective, what the JMC FCI programs offer K-12 teachers and why it’s important?

Teachers tell us that our programs give them strategies and tactics to allow students to draw their own conclusions about our nation’s history and its foundational documents. They return to the classroom confident in their ability to guide their students through these documents and allow them to draw their own conclusions. These teachers will be able to teach critical thinking skills, sidestep political minefields in the classroom, and create independently minded students. who will become informed and involved citizens.  Nothing could be more important to our nation.

ED: Thank you for all of your hard work!

Elliott Drago serves as the JMC’s Resident Historian and Manager of the History Initiative. He is a historian of American history and the author of Street Diplomacy: The Politics of Slavery and Freedom in Philadelphia, 1820-1850 (Johns-Hopkins University Press, 2022).

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