PROMOTING DIVERSITY ONE CLASSROOM AT A TIME
call, write, campaign for your education rights
OUR PEOPLE OUR HISTORY
There are many ways in which our education system, fails to respect diversity. When opening up a basic history textbook that has been passed around in our schools for years, or even those made in this decade, we find that the only African American history or culture that is described on the pages is about slavery, civil rights activism, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and, occasionally, poet Maya Angelou. It may be surprising to some, but there are 2000 years of black history before slavery, before segregation. In addition, other parts of history, such as the American Revolution, do not include any information about the black perspective. I believe that this is something we should be learning about in school. The history and culture that we learn in school skips many important stories, especially those of color. We should be informed about it so our education is more complete, the history we learn is more accurate, includes to more perspectives, and leads all students to succeed.
Lack of diversity in the curriculum is a serious problem that many people ignore. Children not exposed to a more complete telling of history and culture leads to ignorance. From my experience, not having the right amount of information about my history leads to feeling as though I don’t know who I truly am as a person. This is especially true when people say racist and hateful things. It is frustrating when people are not educated enough to know what they are learning in school is incomplete and lacks the perspective of another side.
Research shows that when a person of color is properly taught about their history, their academic achievement, and reported self-esteem improves. Every African American should feel blessed to be black, to love their culture, and not be embarrassed to stand up and say that they are a person of color. There are many ways that curriculum reform can help. One solution is better preparing teachers about black history and culture and helping them include it in current classes. Teachers should learn about many perspectives of history, not just the European Caucasian perspective. If it’s a WORLD history class, teachers need to know several points of view of what they’re teaching. In US history classes, teachers need to know the perspectives of many people taking part in what they’re learning just as much as the students. Teachers can not be expected to teach about the black experience if they are not provided with that information.
Being taught about African American history and culture has many pros. When I learned more about my history and culture I felt very proud and confident about myself. I was proud to be black and know the history behind me. In addition, research shows that a more inclusive curriculum results in lower drop-out rates, lower rates of discipline, and improved performance both during the time of instruction but also into secondary and post secondary education.
The time is past for curriculum to better represent and impart a more inclusive perspective. Specifically, people of color need to know more about their history and culture, not separate from “regular” classes but as an important part of the American experience. All people who want to improve race relations in our country should advocate for this change. The One Call Challenge, described below, is one way to do this. Please join the effort by taking The One Call Challenge today!
Allen, J. A. S. O. N. B. (2019, January 31). Black History Is Celebrated But It Should Be Taught in Schools. Retrieved from https://edlanta.org/2018/03/black-history-celebrated-taught-schools/
Jones, D. E. (2019, June 19). The Importance of Diversity in the K-12 Curriculum. Retrieved from https://www.deettajones.com/diversity-in-the-k-12-curriculum/
King, L. G. J. (2017, January). The Status of Black History in U.S. Schools and Society. Retrieved from https://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/publications/articles/se_810117014.pdf
Pitts, J. (2019, February 19). We Can't Teach Black History in Isolation. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2018/02/21/we-cant-teach-black-history-in-isolation.html
Sleeter, C. E. (2011). The Academic and Social Value of Ethnic Studies: A Research Review. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/NBI-2010-3-value-of-ethnic-studies.pdf
S. P. L. C. (2018). Teaching Hard History: American Slavery. Retrieved from https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/tt_hard_history_american_slavery.pdf
THE ONE CALL CHALLENGE
One of the most important things about spreading awareness is action. Without action, your voice will not be heard. Which is why you should take The One Call Challenge. The One Call Challenge your opporunity to call one elected official and one education official and tell them that you support a more accurate telling of history and culture that includes the African American perspective. Once you have made your calls (or written letters/emails), you can return to this website and tell everyone about your experience. You can also post about your experience on social media on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. using the hashtag #theonecallchallenge. Learn about the issue, take The One Call Challenge, and tell the world TODAY!
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