Isidor Starr decided that the law was a great foundation to teach civics to high school students. As a teacher and law student, he decided to use legal lessons to get his students thinking about social studies and the American justice system. He influenced generations of students until his death in February 2018.
Instead of having students simply listen to a lecture, he wanted to make students evaluate the political system. He explained how things are in society and then asked students if it should be that way. He said it was a great way to help students understand concepts and become active participants in their society.
Because of Starr’s efforts, law became a part of social studies on all educational levels. He began using the law in his civics classes at Brooklyn Technical High School in 1934. At the time he was a student himself at St. John’s University’s law school.
Legal experts say that Starr’s methods changed the environment in the classroom. Instead of sitting in their seats, the students became engaged. They raised their hands and had opinions.
Starr branched from teaching into studying and advocating for legal-based education. He went on to earn advanced degrees on the topic. Colleagues also say that Starr had a sharp sense of humor.
Starr says that it’s important for lawyers to work with educators. He says that individuals can respect the rule of law when they understand it. He says that when students are interested and inspired, they have a greater appreciation for the rule of law. They can also help think of ways to make the legal system better.
Legal experts say that Starr’s influence is behind the American Bar Association’s efforts to educate the public on topics of law. They maintain a website with legal primers and popular interest articles. They say Starr influenced education and the legal profession for the better.