Leaders F (13%)
Groups F (0%)
Events F (0%)
History F (0%)
Opposition F (0%)
Tactics F (0%)
Content F (3%)
Grade levels F (0%)
Current events F (0%)
Civics F (0%)
Other movements A (100%)
Context D (25%)
Items the state requires
Leaders: Martin Luther King Jr.
Survey of Standards and Frameworks
West Virginia’s 21st Century Content Standards and Objectives provide guidance for inclusion of the civil rights movement.
Elementary and Middle School
Grade 5: Martin Luther King Jr. is among a list of examples of important figures that students could research. He is named again as an example for a mandate that requires students to “research significant leaders in the civil rights movement.” That list reflects a broad understanding of the civil rights movement, as it also includes John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Rosa Parks, Lyndon Johnson and Susan B. Anthony.
Grade 6: West Virginia students should “point out the key figures, philosophies and events in the civil rights movements including minority rights and the rights of women (e.g., apartheid, Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.).”
The civil rights movement receives limited coverage in West Virginia’s high school standards. One objective states that students will “research, compare and contrast the progress of civil rights in the United States with civil rights in other regions of the world and conclude what the contributions were of significant civil rights leaders,” but does not include any required or suggested details. Elsewhere the standards do require students to learn about civil disobedience as a concept, but do not link it to the civil rights movement or any other specific examples.
West Virginia is missing an opportunity to set high expectations for students to learn about one of American history’s most important events. Learning about Martin Luther King Jr. is not the same as learning about the civil rights movement, and vague requirements for students to “point out the key figures, philosophies and events” in the movement fail to provide meaningful guidance to teachers.