Should We Know More About the Civil Rights Movement?

Browsing through the New York Times, I came upon an article about the fact that today’s students are learning less and less about the Civil Rights Movement in history classes across the nation.  Is this due to NCLB testing that focuses on writing and math?  Is this a result of apathy?  Fear? I’m not sure what the specific roots of this growing ignorance is, but it feels like this will impact students’ understanding and ability to become actively engaged in social change on a larger scale.  Without a knowledge of how change happens or the history of change in our country, will students become more and more complacent?

At the end of each of my Capstone classes, we generally conclude that massive political change is one of the only things that would impact schools positively on a larger scale.  Without changing systems of racism or poverty, how can we change the education system, my students often ask.  I think this is why the NYT article struck me.  Students may know how necessary change is but not have the background/context to think about how to make that change.


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