Black History Month

New Poll Shows That People Think There's a Lack of Teaching in African-American History

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A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that most people don't feel they got a good Black history education in school.

The poll's findings were released Thursday amid Black history month.

The poll shows that in general, American history falls short when taking into account the role of African-Americans. 66% of people surveyed agree with that statement.

But here in Connecticut, the state is doing something to turn that around.

Back in 2019, the General Assembly passed a law requiring every school district to offer Black, Puerto Rican and Latino history courses, starting this coming fall.

Some schools have already piloted this new curriculum and so far, we're told it's a success.

"But also students saying this is so empowering for me, right to see my face and and not only in, obviously, some of the plight that my ancestors have experienced, but also their resilience and beauty and the contributions of all of it now carry moving forward," said Michelle LeBrun-Griffin, State Education Resource Center consultant.

It isn't designed just for students of color, it's for everybody. One of the consultants for the curriculum said she knows what it's like to not get the full history of our country.

"I did not take coursework or major in ethnic studies, I certainly went to a more diverse college than my own home community. But it wasn't well into adulthood that I've been learning about some of this history," LeBrun-Griffin said.

"I think, from the onset, our vision has been for tissue history to be taught, right. And so for truth to be told, even hard history, and for us to be able to engage in honest communications and dialogues about how we can learn from our history, so we're not replicating our mistakes, right, because we're seeing that divide right now in our current experience," she continued.

And she's not alone.

That Quinnipiac poll shows that sources haven't changed over the years. In fact, younger generations are more likely to say their curriculum fell short compared to older generations.

The designers of the Connecticut curriculum said they hope one day that Black, Latino, Asian and indigenous studies are just as common as math and science.

"So the new three R's, beyond our reading, writing and arithmetic, which are absolutely important in what education is, you know, supporting our knowledge and skill in, but how we do that needs to focus on rigor, relevance and relationships, of which I think this course is absolutely a model of," LeBrun-Griffin said.

"It is so important that when [the students] leave that classroom 20 years from now, and we asked them, 'what do you remember?' that they say that African-American, Black, Puerto Rican, Latino studies teacher who helped me grow as a person and helped me learn about multiple perspectives in history," said Nitza Diaz, SERC consultant.

To view the full curriculum, click here.

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