Leaders F (0%)
Groups F (0%)
Events F (0%)
History F (14%)
Opposition F (0%)
Tactics D (29%)
Content F (7%)
Grade levels A (100%)
Current events F (0%)
Civics F (0%)
Other movements A (100%)
Context B (50%)
Items the State Requires
History: Jim Crow. Tactics : Black Power, tactics.
GRADE F means New Mexico includes none or less than 20% of the recommended content and should significantly revise its standards.
The New Mexico Content Standards with Benchmarks and Performance Standards includes mention of the civil rights movement in elementary school and high school.
Elementary and Middle School
Grades K-4: In addition to a mention of Martin Luther King Jr. as a “United States historical event and symbol,” students are expected to “describe the cultural diversity of individuals and groups and their contributions to United States history (e.g., George Washington, Ben Franklin, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, NAACP, tribal leaders, American Indian Movement).”
U.S. History: The civil rights movement is included under the broad benchmark requiring students to “analyze and evaluate the impact of major eras, events and individuals in United States history since the Civil War and Reconstruction.” The specific performance standard—“ Analyze the development of voting and civil rights for all groups in the United States following Reconstruction,” includes:
• Intent and impact of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution;
• Segregation as enforced by Jim Crow laws following Reconstruction;
• Key court cases (e.g., Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade);
• Roles and methods of civil rights advocates (e.g., Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Russell Means and César Chávez);
• The passage and effect of the voting rights legislation on minorities (e.g., 19th Amendment, role of Arizona supreme court decision on Native Americans and their disenfranchisement under Arizona constitution and subsequent changes made in other state constitutions regarding Native American voting rights - such as New Mexico, 1962, 1964 Civil Rights Act, Voting Act of 1965, 24th Amendment);
• Impact and reaction to the efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment;
• Rise of Black Power, Brown Power, American Indian movement and United Farm Workers.
A few supplemental documents on the New Mexico Public Education Department’s website mention the civil rights movement. One is a civil rights timeline activity, presumably for younger students, that (among other tasks) asks students to identify whether Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader of the civil rights movement, a president or an astronaut. It also asks students to say whether the goal of the civil rights movement was to make Americans equal, angry or rich.
By failing to require key content and thereby giving solid direction to teachers, New Mexico’s standards do not adequately cover the civil rights movement. Even the content supplied as suggestions falls well short of a comprehensive picture of one of American history’s most important events. Optional content (not included in the state’s grade) does include a variety of significant events and groups, but does not provide the kind of rich historical context and study of opposition to the movement that students need to master understanding of the movement, apply it to knowledge of current events and enrich their own civic potential.