Leaders F (0%)
Groups F (0%)
Events F (0%)
History F (0%)
Opposition F (0%)
Tactics F (0%)
Content F (0%)

Grade levels F (0%)
Current events F (0%)
Civics F (0%)
Other movements F (0%)
Context F (0%)

GRADE F means Kentucky includes none or less than 20% of the recommended content and should significantly revise its standards.

Survey of Standards and Frameworks
Kentucky’s Core Content for Social Studies Assessment (Version 4.1), released in 2006, selects from among the standards in Kentucky’s Program of Studies for Grades Primary-12 to highlight those that will be assessed on state tests. According to the Kentucky Department of Education, the Core Content document:

Represents the social studies content from Kentucky’s Academic Expectations and Program of Studies that is essential for all students to know and the content that is eligible for inclusion on the state assessment.

While the Core Content standards contain a handful of civil rights movement-related references, these are entirely in lists prefaced by “e.g.,” According to the Kentucky Department of Education, items in parentheses preceded by an “e.g.” are “meant to be just that, examples and may be on the state assessment. Other examples not included may also be on the state assessment.” Since the examples are designated as “essential” and officially subject to testing, they were coded as required for the purpose of this study.

Elementary and Middle School
End of Primary [Grade 3]:
Students will identify significant patriotic and historical songs, symbols, monuments/ landmarks (e.g., The Star-Spangled Banner, the Underground Railroad, the Statue of Liberty) and patriotic holidays (e.g., Veteran’s Day, Martin Luther King’s birthday, Fourth of July) and explain their historical significance.

Grade 5: Students will identify historical documents, selected readings and speeches (e.g., Mayflower Compact, Emancipation Proclamation, Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream”) and explain their historical significance.

High School
U.S. History:
Students will explain and give examples of how after World War II, America experienced economic growth (e.g., suburban growth), struggles for racial and gender equality (e.g., civil rights movement), the extension of civil liberties (e.g., desegregation, Civil Rights Acts) and conflict over political issues (e.g., McCarthyism, U.S. involvement in Vietnam).

Additional Documents
The 2008 Kentucky Social Studies Teacher Network Curriculum Framework for United States History suggests a unit called “Civil Rights and Cultural Transformations.” This is not an official state document, but an advisory one created in partnership with the state’s Department of Education. The unit’s suggested length is six blocks (12 traditional class periods). Its key concepts are listed as follows:

• Segregation (de facto, de jure)

• Civil Liberties

• 24th Amendment

• Robert Kennedy

• Stereotype

• Rosa Parks

• Prejudice

• Martin Luther King Jr.

• Watts Riots

• Discrimination

• Malcolm X

• Push/pull factors of immigration

• Jackie Robinson

• Ethnicity

• Gandhi

• Race

• Lyndon Baines Johnson

• Equality

• John Fitzgerald Kennedy

• Suffrage

• Medgar Evers

• Civil Disobedience

• Woodstock

• Civil Rights Act of 1964

• Miranda v. Arizona

Brown v. Board of Education

• Counter-culture

• Sexual revolution (e.g. Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem)

• Roe v. Wade

Kentucky’s standards do not, strictly speaking, require students to learn about the civil rights movement. Even in its status as an optional “e.g.,” the civil rights movement is not a force in its own right, filled with diverse personalities, internal and external conflicts, facing intractable opposition; rather, it is something that “America experienced.” That it is presented as one of many post-War changes is disappointing.

The Department of Education’s suggested unit plan provides a good introductory course for the civil rights movement. Kentucky would do well to exert practical and symbolic leadership by integrating this unit’s expectations into its own formal requirements.