MANY thanks to Tom Deignan for his generous mention of my part in the Great Irish Famine curriculum in his column “Beware Hunger for Government Reform” (April 27-May 4).

Credit really must go to Ann Garvey who, as president of the American Irish Teachers Association (AITA), had the idea to mark the 150th anniversary of the Great Irish Famine by teaching children about its importance. She contacted Congressman Joe Crowley about introducing legislation to make the Great Irish Famine a strand in the New York State Human Rights curriculum.

AITA advocated, Crowley took up the project, and the curriculum was on its way.  The curriculum itself is 150 lessons that run to more than 1,000 pages of interactive and interdisciplinary lessons that provide instruction framed by the New York State learning standards.

We not only teach it in New York, we have also taught its lessons in other states as well as in Ireland, Britain, Brazil, Argentina and Japan.  In 2001, the curriculum won the National Council for the Social Studies Project Excellence Award.  

Professor Maureen Murphy
Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York