Titled: The Past is Our Present
To fight racism in their schools, districts turn to history
Education leaders across the country, including two former National Teachers of the Year, are rethinking how they teach U.S. history, incorporating relevant lessons and encouraging students to think critically.
Jason Kamras and Rodney Robinson share a bond that goes beyond their work as educators. The two former National Teachers of the Year are working together to eliminate racial inequities for students of color in the former capital of the Confederacy. “The very painful history of Richmond casts a long shadow over just about everything we’re doing,” says Kamras, superintendent of the 24,000-student, 90 percent minority Virginia district. “History looms large here
How schools across the U.S. teach history—especially around topics of race—also looms large amid a cultural and political divide fueled by a summer and fall of protests over injustice and police misconduct. The “good, bad, and ugly” approach to history has long been controversial. However, the blowback is particularly fierce now among traditionalists angered by the tearing down of monuments and uncomfortable with the prospect of a curriculum that does not put Christopher Columbus, the Mayflower, and the Founding Fathers front and center.
“There have been efforts to change and transform the history curriculum for as long as we’ve had the curriculum,” says Keffrelyn D. Brown, co-founder and co-director of the Center for Innovation in Race, Teaching, and Curriculum at the University of Texas. “But to change the curriculum means you must accept that what exists is not the full story, and that’s hard. It’s difficult in a country that has a narrative of progress, of freedom, of liberty.”
Sorting through these issues, especially during a period of major racial and societal upheaval that evolves daily, is challenging for school boards, administrators, and teachers. The history curriculum has long been a flashpoint, but educators involved in this work say not having courageous conversations in any class with students means you risk losing their trust.
Jesse Hagopian, a teacher at Seattle’s Garfield High School “It’s imperative because our students are talking about Black Lives Matter whether we are teaching it or not,” says Jesse Hagopian, a teacher at Seattle’s Garfield High School and co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives. “They’re talking about it on the school bus, in the cafeteria, in the hallways. We have to find a way to scaffold those conversations and help them find a safe place for the videos they’re seeing and the articles they’re reading, or we will just make the curriculum irrelevant to their lives.”
Unbiased my BUTT!
Read the rest at: FAKE history