Congratulations Connecticut! But Inclusivity Needs to Start Now

September 30, 2019

The Midgard vision of bringing more inclusivity to schools across the country got a major boost from lawmakers in Connecticut this month when the State passed a law requiring high schools to teach African American and Latino history, though only as a one-credit elective.

“Everybody [other than white males] seemed to get short shrift in American history,” said Representative Edwin Vargas. “Unfortunately, religious, racial and ethnic groups, women, minorities, labor, unions — all these movements in America — they were lucky if they got one or two lines in one of our history books, a quick mention, almost as if they were insignificant.”

Another Representative, Bobby Gibson, Jr., held up a massive textbook and clipped the pages that related to black and brown people. It was less than a quarter of an inch. “[Our] history is not being taught in our schools,” he said, “and so many contributions have been given to this country, to this state, by African Americans and by Latinos.”

Representative Pat Wilson Pheanious went even further. “Some of us are consistently left out of history,” she said. “There is an appalling lack of knowledge about the value and the contributions of people of color. All children have a right to this knowledge. All children need to understand it so they can understand who they are as Americans.”

We would applaud this even more enthusiastically if Connecticut implemented teaching the full history of the United States earlier, in middle school, and not as an elective, but integrated into the default social studies program. Why start in high school and not in middle school when young people’s minds are more open to the truth?

We agree with Representative Vince Candelora, who said it would be better if black and Latino studies were incorporated into the current history and social studies curriculum, rather than offered as a separate one-credit course. “I would hope,” he said, “that we’d take a look at this again and properly incorporate it into our curriculum.”

Both Candelora and Pheanious agree with us that we need to develop “a curriculum that can uniformly be provided.”

That curriculum is here, Connecticut! You are the Constitution State, and Midgard has the books and instructional strategies you can use right now to live up to the ideals of the Constitution and implement the most inclusive and comprehensive course in American history for middle school students. Our books, American Hero and First Person American, along with day by day curriculum guides, are waiting for you.

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