Equity & Diversity

History Lessons

By Linda Jacobson — April 04, 2006 1 min read

Mississippi students in kindergarten through 12th grade soon will have the opportunity to learn about the rocky and often violent struggles for civil rights in and beyond their state as part of their history lessons.

Last week, Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, signed into law a bill that helps school districts to cover civil rights and human rights as part of the regular curriculum.

BRIC ARCHIVE

The law, which passed easily and will take effect July 1, sets up a 15-member Civil Rights Education Commission to help districts develop the curriculum and find money to cover implementation.

Schools will not be required to teach the lessons, however.

Still, Susan Glisson, the director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, based at the University of Mississippi, said she’s excited that children will be learning about that era of U.S. and state history. Founded in 1999, the institute distributes information on models of cooperation, and conducts outreach projects focusing on civil rights in local communities.

“We’re delighted that the leadership of the state recognizes the importance of expanding understanding of civil rights history for Mississippi children,” said Ms. Glisson, who spearheaded the legislation. “The examples of grassroots leadership and courage offer models for the work of democracy that we all need to do today.”

One purpose of the lessons, Ms. Glisson said, will be to take children’s understanding of the civil rights movement beyond well-known figures such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and show them that ordinary people can also make changes.

The bill, patterned after those covering lessons on the Holocaust, was inspired by Ms. Glisson’s conversations with Mississippi history teachers who attended workshops on civil rights sponsored by the institute.

“It grew from local teachers, who wanted to make it a priority in schools, but who were having difficulty in the midst of ‘teaching to the test,’ ” Ms. Glisson said.

Joy Milam, a senior assistant to state schools Superintendent Hank M. Bounds, said the state education agency would “work quickly” to make resources available to schools, such as names of volunteers who can speak to students about their experiences and lists of memorials and exhibits.

A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2006 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Spotlight Spotlight on Critical Race Theory
In this Spotlight, learn what critical race theory is, what it isn't, and how it's a practice, not a curriculum.
Illustrations.
Mary Hassdyk for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Interactive Map: Where Critical Race Theory Is Under Attack
This national map tracks where state legislatures are attempting to limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism in the classroom.
2 min read
Equity & Diversity Opinion I Am an Indian American Man. I Had Anti-Racist Work to Do
When adults reflect on who they are and where they come from, their awareness leads to better learning outcomes for their students.
Anil Hurkadli
5 min read
Abstract drawing of the profile of a head, clouds of thoughts and radiance from the eyes.
Elena Medvedeva/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Equity & Diversity American Indian Mascots Will Soon Be Banned in Colorado Public Schools
Colorado would become the fifth state to get rid of derogatory mascots.
Saja Hindi, The Denver Post
2 min read
Students walk into Loveland High School, past a sign at the entrance bearing the image of the school mascot, a Native American, in Loveland, Colo. on Sept. 11, 2014.
Students walk into Loveland High School, past a sign at the entrance bearing the image of the school mascot, a Native American, in Loveland, Colo.
Brennan Linsley/AP