african american history curriculum bill

This bill requires all Michigan public elementary schools and high schools to include a unit of instruction, at each grade level (K-12) in their curriculum, studying the events of African American history.

Why do we need an African American History Curriculum?

  • To address long-standing erasure of African American history in schools. 

Our education system has historically excluded the experiences and influence of African Americans when teaching American History. When they are included, it is often framed from white perspectives positioning African Americans as "the Other," and focusing on collective traumas that white people have inflicted on African Americans such as chattel slavery and Jim Crow. The African American erasure in current curriculum leaves significant gaps in learners' understanding of American History as a whole, and this can't continue.

  • To prepare all students for success in the world.

By ensuring that African American history is taught in our schools, we lay the foundation for the future, providing a framework for all students to better understand African American communities, experiences, contribution to the building and flourishing of America and histories. This improves cross-cultural education for all students in Michigan so they're prepared to thrive in diverse communities and advance racial equity in society.

  • To provide culturally-responsive & culturally-affirming curriculum.

For African American students, it is a chance to learn stories that reflect their individual experiences and those of their ancestors. Education researchers have studied Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) and have learned that these approaches result in benefits to students' academic, social, cultural, and personal development (*Gay, 2018).

  • So that our youth are civically engaged members of a culturally diverse, democratic society who can make informed decisions for the public good.

To do that, they need a foundational understanding of the people who live in this society, and African Americans have played and continue to play a leading role in our democracy.


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Stay tuned for information as we gather support and work with legislators to pass this bill!


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Further Information on Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Burnham, Kristin. "5 Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies". Northeastern University, July 2020.


Byrd, Christy M. “Does Culturally Relevant Teaching Work? An Examination From Student Perspectives.” SAGE Open, July 2016, doi:10.1177/2158244016660744.

*Gay, Geneva. Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice. United Kingdom, Teachers College Press, 2018.