If you’ve ever changed schools in the middle of the year, you may be able to recall minor differences in curriculum between districts. However, imagine moving from a predominately white high school in Texas, to a more diverse school in California, you may not think much about the vast ways in which the exact same material can vary depending on a pupil’s school, school district and instructional materials. Today we will examine how textbooks, authors, and state legislation, collectively “what we teach,” impacts society’s world view and understanding of history.
Textbooks are supposed to teach us a common set of facts about who we are as a nation, but the influence of religion and politics in instructional material can skew those facts. Read this article to see how history textbooks reflect America’s refusal to reckon with slavery.
Half of all school-aged children are non-white. Of children’s books published in 2013, though, only 10.5% featured a person of color. In 2016, this number doubled to 22%, but white is still the “default identity.” Read this article to consider ways in which some educators are reconstructing the canon.
Very few states require Holocaust education in their school systems and a 2018 survey showed that two-thirds of U.S. Millennials were not familiar with Auschwitz. Read this article on how one state hopes to change that statistic, during a surge of anti-Semitic hate crimes.
Create a quick list of your top 5 favorites books, that you read in high school. Keep these in the back of your mind as you move through the day’s content. After reading the content, take a look at the authors of the books on your list and answer the following questions. Is there any racial/ethnic diversity? How did the cannon affect your viewpoint as a young pupil? Now create a list of 5 books you would add to the high school canon that you feel all students should read.
Write a letter to your local school board or attend your next school board meeting and ask for books with more diverse characters be used in the curriculum.
These articles were curated by a local committee to be used as a list of resources pertinent to DEI topics. The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Committee would like to thank and give attribution to those who created the content above, which reflects their individual perspectives. We do not support nor endorse any advertisements associated with the above content.