MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2023
The way one state's mandate works: As we noted this morning, the College Board's new Advanced Placement course won't affect all public school kids.
By definition, advanced placement courses are mainly designed for higher-performing kids. Last week, the Washington Post's Hannah Natanson penned a report about a certain number of states who are requiring the teaching of African American history to all their public school kids.
Full disclosure! What actually happens in various classrooms may not always match what state law requires. That said, here's the way Natanson's report began, invidious headline included:
As red states target Black history lessons, blue states embrace them
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...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.
It's odd to think that these reliably blue states had to wait for George Floyd's death to create such mandates. But then, as Abraham Lincoln said, let's judge not lest we be judged.
Stating the obvious and the important, black history is American history. To the extent that such mandates are followed, all the public school kids in those states will be given the type of instruction described.
We're tempted now to show you the mandates which were recently adumbrated by one of our better-known states. That said, doing so would involve us in a type of snark we've never indulged in before.
In the end, this topic is too important to be packaged in snark. That said, we'll show you the statewide mandate in question before the week is done.
For today, we'll tell you this:
Black history is American history. So is Native American history, dating back to the years before European contact.
Every child should get a chance to take this vast history in. At question is the way that vast history will be taught to all those kids.
Also at question is the extent to which our modern-day warring tribes are able to speak to each other. Please don't assume that it's only the Others who may have some blind spots there.