Equity & Diversity

History Lessons

By Linda Jacobson — April 04, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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

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
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment:Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

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 Proposed Title IX Overhaul: Key Questions on What's Next
The U.S. Department of Education's proposed rules covering sex descrimination in education enter the public comment process.
6 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks at a White House event in April.
Susan Walsh/AP
Equity & Diversity LGBTQ Students Would Get Explicit Protection Under Title IX Proposals
But the U.S. Department of Education did not include transgender participation in sports in the latest version of revised Title IX regulations.
6 min read
People wave pride flags and hold signs during a rally in support of LGBTQ students at Ridgeline High School, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Millville, Utah. Students and school district officials in Utah are outraged after a high school student ripped down a pride flag to the cheers of other students during diversity week. A rally was held the following day in response to show support for the LGBTQ community.
People wave pride flags and hold signs during a 2021 rally in support of LGBTQ students at Ridgeline High School in Millville, Utah.
Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP
Equity & Diversity Native American Advocates Testify on Need for Recovery Efforts From Boarding School Trauma
The testimony follows an investigation that found tens of thousands of Native American children suffered abuse at government boarding schools.
3 min read
Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland visits the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, Friday, June 17, 2022. Haaland spoke of the U.S. Department of Interior's efforts to help Native American communities heal from Indian Boarding School policies during a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is keeping an intense focus on the Interior Departments investigation into abuse of Native American children in government boarding schools.
Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP
Equity & Diversity 5 Ways Title IX Transformed School Sports (and More)
On the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights law, here are five ways it transformed sports and schooling and still does.
4 min read
Monique Lopes, 16, far left, dresses with unidentified football players at Pepin High School prior to practice Monday, Sept. 27, 1999, in Pepin, Wis.
High school girls get ready for football practice at Pepin High School in Pepin, Wis., in a 1999 photo.
Steve Kinderman/The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram via AP