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.

 

Won’t You Join the Fight? 5 Ways You Can Help!

It is so important that we work together as Black Americans and allies from diverse cultural ethnic groups. Regardless of our backgrounds, we all deeply love our kids and are willing to fight for them and for the ability for our children to be seen, to learn accurate American history in a culturally responsive environment.  We need each and every one of us to get this bill passed. Your help is needed. It is crucial to reach out to your communities and build as diverse a coalition as possible so that we have maximum reach and power.

  • Help us connect to and get more legislative co-sponsors to support the bill. We are aiming to get 51% of the legislators needed to pass the bill.

  • Write letters to legislators and their chief of staff/legislative director of the legislators in support of this bill - template provided at www.community-equity.org. Including the key legislators that are responsible to move the bill forward: Chairs of Senate and Assembly Education Committee, Senate President, Speaker of the Assembly, Governor.

  • Circulate our social media and online support messaging for the bill within your groups.

  • Help us connect with more organizations to ally with us in getting support for the bill. Including ethnic groups, civil rights groups, antiracist groups, educator groups and unions, curriculum advocacy groups, school boards, school boards association, school principals association, school superintendent associations, lobbyists in education legislation.

  • Find the key legislators that are responsible to move the bill forward. Including Chairs of Senate and Assembly Education Committee, Senate President, Speaker of the Assembly, Governor.

 
 

Bill Updates

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Sponsors & Supporters

 
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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.