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Archive for Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Topeka NAACP criticizes how black history is taught in Kansas

April 13, 2011

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— The Kansas State Board of Education has been asked by leaders of Topeka's black community to change the way black history is taught in the state's elementary and secondary schools.

The Rev. Ben Scott, head of the Topeka chapter of the NAACP, told the Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday that the current curriculum doesn't tell the entire story of how African-Americans helped to build the country, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

"We want more inclusion about the contributions of African-Americans about what this nation was built upon," Scott said. "As it's taught now, black history doesn't cover the totality of the experiences brought by African-Americans in Kansas and in the United States. It's not enough, and it's not sufficient."

Kansas law requires the state's history, government and social studies standards be reviewed every seven years. The review is set to begin this fall, but the revised standards won't likely be implemented until the 2014-15 school year.

Board member Carolyn Campbell said she wants the board to discuss the topic during its May meeting.

"We've waited so long, and I want it done now," Campbell said. "But I understand the process."

She said she wants Paul Adams, a Topeka High School history and government teacher for 23 years, and James Boyer, a professor emeritus of ethnic studies at Kansas State University, to be on a committee that would forward any history, government and social studies recommendations to the education board.

"Those are people who understand, who have walked the walk, and would be a great asset," Campbell said.

Other ethnic groups who want to improve the information taught about their group's contributions to society will have to be considered, said Don Gifford, a program consultant with the Kansas State Department of Education.

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