New poll shows people think there’s a lack of teaching about African American history – NBC Connecticut
A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that most people don’t feel like they received a good education in black history in school.
The poll results were released Thursday amid Black History Month.
The poll shows that in general, American history falls short when it comes to considering the role of African Americans. 66% of respondents agree with this statement.
But here in Connecticut, the state is doing something to turn the tide.
In 2019, the General Assembly passed a law requiring every school district to offer Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino history classes, starting next fall.
Some schools have already piloted this new program and so far we are told it is a success.
“But also the students who say it’s so empowering for me, the right to see my face and and not just, obviously, in some of the issues that my ancestors went through, but also their resilience and their beauty and the contributions of all of this now bears moving forward,” said Michelle LeBrun-Griffin, consultant for the State Education Resource Center.
It’s not designed just for students of color, it’s for everyone. One of the curriculum advisers said she knows what it’s like not to know all of our country’s history.
“I didn’t take any courses or majors in ethnic studies, I certainly went to a college that was more diverse than my own home community. But it wasn’t well into adulthood that I learned part of that story,” LeBrun-Griffin mentioned.
“I think, from the beginning, our vision has been to teach the history of fabrics, right. And so for the truth to be told, even the hard story, and for us to be able to engage in honest communications and dialogues about how we can learn from our history, so that we don’t repeat our mistakes, right, because we see this divide right now in our current experience,” she continued.
And she is not alone.
This Quinnipiac poll shows that the sources have not changed over the years. In fact, younger generations are more likely to say that their educational program is insufficient compared to older generations.
The designers of the Connecticut curriculum said they hoped one day to make black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous studies just as mainstream as math and science.
“So the new three Rs, beyond our reading and writing and arithmetic, which are absolutely important in what education is, you know, support our knowledge and our skills, but the way in which we do must focus on rigor, relevance and relationships, of which I think this course is absolutely a model,” LeBrun-Griffin said.
“It’s so important that when [the students] leave this classroom in 20 years, and we asked them, “What do you remember? that they say this professor of African American, Black, Puerto Rican and Latino studies who helped me grow as a person and helped me learn more about the multiple perspectives of history,” said said Nitza Diaz, SERC consultant.
To see the full program, click here.