Text Study: Skipwith v. New York City Board of Education

  1. Explain to your students that as a class we will be examining another very significant civil rights case. As you read the documents and discuss them, think about how this case is similar to and/or different from the cases that are already on our timeline.
  2. Using the introductory essay, briefly explain the story of the Skipwith case to your students and provide some background on Judge Justine Wise Polier.
  3. Hand out copies of the document study "Ruling on Skipwith v. New York City Board of Education" to your students. Have a couple of students take turns reading out loud the excerpts from Justine Wise Polier's Skipwith ruling. You may want to stop the student occasionally to clarify terms and make sure your students understand the arguments being made.
  4. After reading the document, use some of the discussion questions found at the end of the document study "Ruling on Skipwith v. New York City Board of Education" to analyze the ruling with your students. (Be sure to print out an extra copy for yourself, so you can read the questions aloud.)
  5. When you're ready to move on, tell your students:
    After her ruling on the Skipwith case, Justice Polier received many letters about the case from people she knew as well as from strangers. Newspaper columnists also wrote about it. To better understand this case and its impact, we're going to examine some of those letters and articles.
  6. Have your students return to the same groups as at the beginning of class. Provide each group with a copy of the document study "Ruling on Skipwith v. New York City Board of Education," and ask them to review the documents and discuss the questions that follow each document.
  7. When the groups have finished their discussions, place the Skipwith v. New York City Board of Education timeline card on the timeline. Provide a pad of post-its to each group and have them write their responses to the following questions on separate post-its:
    • What do you think is the importance of this case (use similar criteria as in the introduction)?
    • What do you think was the Jewish influence on this case, if any?
  8. Each group should place their post-its on the Skipwith Timeline card as they finish writing them.
  9. After each group has placed its post-its, you can review them and group similar ideas together. Then share the main points written on the post-its with your class.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Text Study: Skipwith v. New York City Board of Education." (Viewed on May 22, 2024) <http://jwa.org/node/11835>.