As Red States Target Black History Lessons, Blue States Embrace Them
The lessons schoolchildren receive diverge based on where they live
Even as lessons on Black history draw complaints from Republican governors, who argue the instruction is ideological, several blue states are moving in the opposite direction — mandating classes in African American, Latino and Puerto Rican studies — and setting up a uniquely American division over how we teach our past.
Since 2019, partly in response to the murder of George Floyd, at least four reliably Democratic states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine and Rhode Island — have passed laws requiring instruction on Black history, according to a database maintained by the research agency Education Commission of the States. Connecticut's law says African American, Puerto Rican and Latino studies must be included in the social studies component of all public school curriculums. Delaware's mandates that school districts offer instruction on Black history. Maine's says that African American studies and the history of genocide must be included in state testing standards. And Rhode Island's orders schools to include a unit on African History and Heritage.
In the past three years, an additional seven states have passed laws establishing K-12 courses in ethnic studies or on Native American, Asian American or Filipino history, per the Education Commission's database.
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