The State of Civil Rights Education in the United States 2011 painted a fairly bleak picture of state requirements for teaching and learning about the civil rights movement. While the forest may not be in good condition overall, this report shows that many of its trees are alive and well. With some care and relatively straightforward modifications, most states can easily transform their existing standards into outstanding requirements. The four models here show different approaches that are applicable to every state.
In a world where classroom time, especially social studies instructional time, is increasingly at a premium, it is sometimes tempting to opt for breadth of coverage instead of depth. These standards show that states and teachers do not need to make that choice when it comes to one of America’s most important historical events. Small changes and attention to detail avoid overburdening teachers while setting the high expectations that our students deserve.