North Carolina outperforms most states when it comes to teaching civil rights education to K-12 classrooms, according to a new study by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project.
The center assigned A-through-F grades to each state based on their education standards and resources available to teachers. North Carolina scored a “B,” a drastic improvement from the “F” it received in a similar report from 2011.
Twenty states received “F’s,” while 14 received “D’s.” The study notes that twelve states require no teaching of the civil rights movement at all.
“A lot of states talk about the movement as being some kind of triumph without truly understanding the kind of oppression and real violence that African Americans suffered in the period after the civil war,” says Maureen Costello, director of the Teaching Tolerance project.
She says North Carolina improved its instruction after the state adopted new standards in 2012, which takes into account major documents and supporting resources that guide teachers.
North Carolina also shows a “genuine interest in placing the movement in the arc of history and connecting it across grade levels and historical eras,” according to the report.
The report also shows that southern states typically offer stronger civil rights education, as well as states that include large populations of African-American students.