Connecticut has become the first state in the nation to require all high schools to offer courses on African-American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino studies, according to the governor’s office.
Gov. Ned Lamont’s office said a law signed last year – Public Act 19-12 – directs all regional and local boards of education to include an elective course of studies at the high school level that provides students with a better understanding of the African-American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino contributions to United States history, society, economy and culture.
The State Board of Education last week unanimously approved the curriculum for the course. High schools could offer the course in 2021-2022 and they will be required to offer it during the school year that begins in fall 2022.
“Increasing the diversity of what we teach is critical to providing students with a better understanding of who we are as a society and where we are going,” Lamont said in a statement. “Adding this course in our high schools will be an enormous benefit not only to our Black and Latino students, but to students of all backgrounds because everyone can benefit from these studies...”
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State Representative Bobby Gibson, D-Bloomfield, said he is proud of how the state came together to make the legislation he brought forth come to fruition.
“This history is for everyone. Our nation is at a point where we must change the one-sided narrative of how we view history. Racism stems from the lack of knowledge and respect for one another. Perhaps if our children grew up knowing more about the amazing accomplishments of our people, the actions of this past summer would not have had to happen. We would be doing an injustice to our children if we didn’t do our part to help them to understand each other more,” Gibson said in a statement.
Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said 27 percent of students identify as Hispanic or Latino and 13 percent identify as Black or African-American.
“This curriculum acknowledges that by connecting the story of people of color in the U.S. to the larger story of American history. The fact is that more inclusive, culturally relevant content in classrooms leads to greater student engagement and better outcomes for all. This law passed due in large part to the strong advocacy of students from around the state and the legislative leadership of State Representative Bobby Gibson and State Senator Doug McCrory. I thank Ingrid Canady, the SERC team, and all of our partners who contributed to and drove us to this historic moment,” Cardona said.