Schools need better education on black history

Brea Jones/ Contributing Writer

Black History Month is the time to honor and celebrate all the accomplishments of African Americans and how far we have come in society. Because of this, it is very tragic that school systems are failing to educate student on all that has happened throughout history.

Only getting one month to learn about black history seems nearly impossible, which I can agree with. However, it is as if the lesson plans teachers utilize don’t even attempt to teach anything but the basics during Black History Month.

The typical school routine is to play the movie ‘Our Friend Martin’ every year. I have seen this same movie on 5 different occasions in the classroom. While this is a decent movie, schools need to add variety in what they expose children to.

Teachers need to introduce students to other black legends such as Madame C.J. Walker, George Washington Carver, or Bessie Coleman. Showing the range of different fields black people have had success in will inspire other black children.

The system is neglecting to educate students on everything that is black history. Making students read the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and calling it a day is a terrible way to honor all the accomplishments of black people. There is so much more for students to learn. Black history is more than slavery and MLK.

Not only is the education system failing to expand on the all aspects of black history, they are also trying to rewrite it. School boards are essentially beginning to lie about black history.

In 2015, a parent noticed that her 15 year old son’s textbook said that “the Atlantic slave trade ‘brought millions of workers from Africa to southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.” The McGraw-Hill Education textbook painted the gruesome truth of slavery as something peaceful and pleasant.

In fall 2015, Texas’ school board introduced new social studies textbooks to five million public schools. The problem with these books is that they didn’t mention racial segregation.  A board member, Pat Hardy, attempted to justify this by saying that race was a side issue to the civil war. Whether you believe that is true or not slavery, racial segregation all happened. It is wrong for board members to ‘edit’ that out of history because of their personal beliefs.

Schools are depriving all students of an education and history that they deserve to know.

Parents are often left to pick up the slack of the schools. Black parents are aware of pathetic lesson plans that teachers have because they experienced it themself. The true knowledge and history of black people is often passed down from generation to generation. If it wasn’t for my mother’s investment in my sister and my education about our history I wouldn’t know most of the things I know today.

But because majority of white parents don’t know black history, their child never gets to learn true black history. Having a proper schooling about black history is important and beneficial to all students. Teaching black history and other cultures can get rid of xenophobia and racism.

The first thing school needs to do to improve the education of black history is to utilize all of the months in a school year to teach black history. The excuse of there is not enough time is inaccurate and no longer acceptable. There are a lot of simple solutions to this. It could be something as simple as taking 5 minutes to tell a fact about black history.

Schools must take on the responsibility and monitor what they teach to students. Checking textbooks and other materials that schools use to make sure they are not showing an flawed version of the truth.  

Not all the blame belongs on schools. Some parents are also at fault. Parents need to become more involved in their child’s education. Although school is the ideal place for learning, at home should be one too. Parents should be a child’s first teacher.

The famous philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So in order for us to progress in the future we have to teach about the past.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.

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