Schools are changing curriculum due to Black Lives Matter movement with more focus on black history and inclusion
SCHOOLS across the US are revamping curriculums in response to Black Lives Matter as a survey shows more than 81 percent of educators support the movement.
Following a summer of protests calling for racial justice and police reform, many school districts are updating their lessons with a renewed focus on black history and telling black stories.
In the weeks following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, support for Black Lives Matter skyrocketed across the US.
A Pew Research Center poll conducted in June found that 67 percent of Americans said they either somewhat or strongly supported the movement.
An EdWeek Research Center poll conducted around the same time among the nation's educators – which included teachers, principals, and district leaders – showed a whopping 81 percent support for the movement.
Whether they return to school virtually or in-person, many students across the country will be learning about US history from new perspectives this year.
John Marshall, the chief diversity officer in Kentucky's Jefferson County Public School system, where Breonna Taylor attended high school, has been leading the district's efforts to revamp teaching materials and practices, according to Reuters.
Marshall keeps a photo of Taylor – who was shot dead by police officers when they entered her home with a no-knock warrant – on his desk as a reminder of the need for changes in the US education system, he told the outlet.
Criminal charges have yet to be brought against the officers who killed Taylor, which has upset many in the Kentucky district, and across the country.
The deaths of Taylor, Floyd, and other black Americans at the hands of police led to a national uprising, months of protests and, for educators, an urgency to give black history a more solid place in lesson planning.
"We're not just talking about a couple of lesson changes," Marshall said.
"We're getting to the quintessential work of trying to put race, equity and inclusion inside of our curriculum."
Rather than focusing on completely new material, some of the changes will focus on discussing the same historical events from different perspectives.
For example, in Jefferson County teachers will still discuss the Space Race of the 1960s, but plan to do it with a new focus on the black women mathematicians whose work was so crucial to modern rocket science.
The National School Boards Association, which advises school districts when it comes to curriculum changes, said it received double the normal number of requests for advice on how to craft racially diverse educational materials this summer.
"They're making sure teachers are teaching the right history in their classrooms," Executive Director Anna Maria Chavez said.
Scholastic Corp, which publishes educational material, said there has been a major surge in demand for books that focus on diversity and equality.
"Schools are wanting to have these more difficult conversations about race and social justice," said Michael Haggen, Scholastic’s chief academic officer.
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