Current woes raise students' interest in Great Depression

High school students in Fort Worth are connecting with the worried expression of a young mother photographed in a migrant camp more than 75 years ago. Middle-schoolers in Colleyville shudder at the thought of a wall of black dust descending on hungry farmers during the 1930s.

These are especially tough lessons in lean times, but North Texas teachers are using the renewed interest in their units on the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl as an opportunity to help students understand the economic and social forces that are shaping their world today.

"With all the things that are in the news and everything that’s happening, kids invariably come up with lots of questions," said Keith Olmsted, who teaches U.S. history to juniors at Carter-Riverside High School in Fort Worth.

Among the students, everyone knows someone who is out of work, and many hear their parents talking about cutting back. It all sounds a bit like last week’s history class.

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