Giving Compass' Take:
- Jill Rosen outlines research from Johns Hopkins University that outlines the shortcomings of standard approaches to Black history education in the United States today.
- Why is it important for kids - Black and non-Black - to learn about Black History? How can you support the implementation of educational material and curricula that increase both cultural competence and empowerment among young people?
- Read about talking about race in the classroom.
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As the United States marks Black History Month this year, more K-12 schools in the United States are teaching Black history than ever before. However, ongoing analysis from Johns Hopkins University finds these efforts often fail
“Most school districts are trying, and many fall short,” says Ashley Rogers Berner, director of the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Education Policy. “They may create better representation, but often forget quality and coherence in the process. They miss the chance to create a robust picture of the African American experience.”
When it comes to teaching Black history, Berner says schools are missing an opportunity. Coursework often emphasizes negative aspects of African-American life without noting the accomplishments, achievements, and contributions of Black Americans. Lessons will typically cover slavery and the Civil Rights movement, but omit the Harlem Renaissance, the sociology of the Great Migration, and some of the most important novels of the 20th century.
A key part of the problem is that teachers aren’t getting the support and training needed to create stronger curricula, Berner says, adding that teachers report turning most often to Google, Pinterest, and an online marketplace called TeachersPayTeachers to craft lessons.
“Black History Month is designed to make sure that there is representation,” Berner says, “and the ideal is to have these lessons woven into all of the histories that we study, not necessarily a separate history.”
Read the full article about Black history in schools by Jill Rosen at Futurity.