Leaders F (13%)
Groups F (0%)
Events C (33%)
History F (0%)
Opposition F (0%)
Tactics F (0%)
Content F (9%)
Grade levels F (0%)
Current events F (0%)
Civics F (0%)
Other movements F (0%)
Context F (0%)
Items the State Requires
Leaders: Martin Luther King Jr. Events: Brown, Little Rock, Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1965 Voting Rights Act.
GRADE F means Kansas includes none or less than 20% of the recommended content and should significantly revise its standards.
The Kansas Standards for History and Government; Economics and Geography (2004) give limited direction for teaching about the civil rights movement.
Elementary and Middle School
Grade 1: Martin Luther King Jr. Day is among the suggested holidays that first graders should identify.
U.S. History: The standards say that a successful high school history student “examines the struggle for racial and gender equality and for the extension of civil rights (e.g., Brown vs. Board of Education, Little Rock Nine, Martin Luther King, Jr., Montgomery Bus Boycott, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Betty Friedan, NOW, ERA, Title IX).”
Although Kansas’ examples are normally only suggested content, a delta mark next to this indicator classifies these examples as tested. For this reason, they were coded as required content.
In addition, history students are expected to engage in historical thinking skills and this instruction is suggested:
• Analyze the civil rights movement. Discuss: Have minority groups (women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, etc.) achieved equality? Why or why not?
Civics-Government: These standards include as an instructional suggestion that students should “read ‘Letter from Birmingham City Jail’ by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and discuss civil disobedience.”
Although Kansas does require students to learn about the civil rights movement, its specified content occupies a very limited range. The “e.g” list contains no groups, no history, no accounting for white resistance, no civic learning opportunities as regards debates over strategy and tactics—in short, it offers at best superficial treatment of one of the most important events in American history.
Kansas can do better. The state whose segregation policies brought Brown v. Board of Education to the Supreme Court and changed a nation owes it to its citizens to set higher expectations