Teaching Tolerance publishes guide for teaching the civil rights movement
In the wake of a report that found state expectations for teaching the civil rights movement remain woefully inadequate, the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project today issued a guide designed to help teachers and school leaders ensure their lessons about the movement are robust and meaningful to students.
The March Continues: Five Essential Practices for Teaching the Civil Rights Movement is a best practices guide intended to provoke thought and innovation in teaching the movement. It offers guidance and resources that help teachers talk about race, tell a complicated story and connect it to the present, among other goals. The guide is available to all teachers free of charge.
“We expect our children to become citizens who are well equipped to work together to solve problems and bring us closer to the ideals we all aspire to,” said Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance. “By teaching about this great movement for freedom, opportunity and democracy, we give them the tools to create that future and to continue the march.”
Recently, Teaching Tolerance issued Teaching the Movement 2014: The State of Civil Rights Education in the United States, a report evaluating how well each states’ standards and resources address the civil rights movement. A majority of the states received a “D” or an “F” on the importance they placed on teaching about the movement. Twenty states received grades of “F,” including five – Alaska, Iowa, Maine, Oregon and Wyoming – that neither cover the movement in their state standards nor provide resources to teach it.
The report compared the requirements in state standards to a body of knowledge that reflects what civil rights historians and educators consider core information about the movement, and explored the additional support and resources that states provide to teachers. It encourages states to take a comprehensive approach to civil rights education with their K-12 history and social studies standards.
The report also calls for a concerted effort among schools and other organizations to ensure that educators are well prepared to teach the movement. With The March Continues: Five Essential Practices for Teaching the Civil Rights Movement, teachers have a set of tools that they can put to use in their lessons.
Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children. It produces and distributes tools at no cost to teachers, including Teaching Tolerance magazine, online curricula and professional development resources, and multimedia teaching kits that introduce students to various civil rights issues.