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.
CEO Education Bill Resolution of Support and Advocacy
Whereas, understanding diverse cultural/ethnic groups starts in schools.
Developing how we interact with one another as humans develop throughout grades K-12.The time and the education taught informs how we see and treat one another.
We have seen the erasure of Black Americans' contributions to American society in our schools and we have seen intentional perpetuation of disrespectful and dehumanizing ideology taught instead. CEO believes in this space we need to address this issue with legislation.
Whereas we believe that teaching accurate African American history and having accurate African American representation in our K-12 curriculum is necessary to changing the environment in which Black Americans experience our daily living.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the [name of supporter] supports and advocates for the incorporation and passage of legislation by the Michigan State Congress written by Community Equity Organization (CEO) requiring accurate African American history and African American representation in K-12 curriculum.
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Sponsors & Supporters
Wayne State Radical Social Workers
State Senator Jeremy Moss
Mary Jo Durivage
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.