Leaders B (50%)
Groups F (0%)
Events D (25%)
History F (14%)
Opposition D (25%)
Tactics C (43%)
Content D (28%)

Grade levels A (100%)
Current events A (100%)
Civics F (0%)
Other movements A (100%)
Context A (75%)

Items the state requires
Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, James Farmer, Lester Maddox. Events: 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act, Brown. History: Integration of armed forces. Opposition: George Wallace, Orval Faubus. Tactics: Black Power, nonviolence, tactics.

GRADE C means Texas includes at least 30% of the recommended content and has considerable work to do to ensure its students have a satisfactory understanding of the movement.

Survey of Standards and Frameworks
Besides the common requirement that students learn about the reasons for national holidays including Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies (TEKS) for the 2011-12 school year offers fairly substantial guidance to teachers regarding the civil rights movement.

The standards emphasize that use of the words “such as” means that content is suggested but not required. According to TEKS, use of the word “including” means that subsequent content is required and subject to state testing.

Elementary and Middle School
Grade 5:
Students are expected to:

• Analyze various issues and events of the 20th century such as industrialization, urbanization, increased use of oil and gas, the Great Depression, the world wars, the civil rights movement and military actions.

• Identify the accomplishments of notable individuals— such as Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Dwight Eisenhower, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team—who have made contributions to society in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights, military actions and politics.

Grade 7: Like many states, Texas includes state-specific civil rights movement information in its state history class. In Texas, that class is taught in seventh grade. Students are expected to:

• Describe and compare the civil rights and equal rights movements of various groups in Texas in the 20th century and identify key leaders in these movements, including James L. Farmer Jr., Hector P. Garcia, Oveta Culp Hobby, Lyndon B. Johnson, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Jane McCallum and Lulu Belle Madison White.

High School
U.S. History II:
TEKS expectations for this course begin with a set group of “traditional historical points of reference,” one of which is the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Students must:

• Explain the significance of the following years as turning points: 1898 (Spanish-American War); 1914-1918 (World War I); 1929 (the Great Depression begins); 1939-1945 (World War II); 1957 (Sputnik launch ignites U.S.-Soviet space race); 1968-1969 (Martin Luther King Jr. assassination and U.S. lands on the moon); 1991 (Cold War ends); 2001 (terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and the Pentagon); and 2008 (election of first black president, Barack Obama).

A fairly detailed set of content expectations for the civil rights movement follows, mandating that “The student understands the impact of the American civil rights movement.” Students are expected to:

• Trace the historical development of the civil rights movement in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments.

• Describe the roles of political organizations that promoted civil rights, including ones from African- American, Chicano, American Indian, women’s, and other civil rights movements.

• Identify the roles of significant leaders who supported various rights movements, including Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Hector P. Garcia, and Betty Friedan.

• Compare and contrast the approach taken by some civil rights groups such as the Black Panthers with the nonviolent approach of Martin Luther King Jr.

• Discuss the impact of the writings of Martin Luther King Jr. such as his “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on the civil rights movement.

• Describe presidential actions and congressional votes to address minority rights in the United States, including desegregation of the armed forces, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

• Describe the role of individuals such as governors George Wallace, Orval Faubus and Lester Maddox and groups, including the Congressional bloc of southern Democrats, that sought to maintain the status quo.

• Evaluate changes and events in the United States that have resulted from the civil rights movement, including increased participation of minorities in the political process.

• Describe how litigation such as the landmark cases of Brown v. Board of Education, Mendez v. Westminster, Hernandez v. Texas, Delgado v. Bastrop I.S.D., Edgewood I.S.D. v. Kirby, and Sweatt v. Painter played a role in protecting the rights of the minority during the civil rights movement.

Brown v. Board of Education is discussed again later, along with other landmark court decisions including Plessy. U.S. Government: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is mentioned (though not as required content) in the standards for the required one semester class. TEKS specifies that students should:

• Evaluate a U.S. government policy or court decision that has affected a particular racial, ethnic or religious group such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the U.S. Supreme Court cases of Hernandez v. Texas and Grutter v. Bollinger.

The civil rights movement is not mentioned in the standards for this class or for any social studies electives outlined in TEKS.

Texas’s standards are scattershot but have potential. On the one hand, the state requires students to learn about a number of personalities both within and opposed to the movement, creating rich guidelines for teachers. On the other hand, the state has entirely omitted requirements for students to learn about key movement groups (CORE, SCLC, SNCC) and key opposition groups (the Ku Klux Klan, for instance), making it seem that the movement and its opposition were more about conflicts between individuals than they were highly organized battles using often controversial strategies and tactics.

Texas would do well to try and offer a more coherent and chronological picture of the movement, rather than mixing it in with other activist endeavors in the same time period. This approach might help teachers and students better fine-tune their teaching and learning, in turn benefitting the diverse students of Texas.