Florida gets A for civil rights education
Florida is one of only three states to earn an A in civil rights education (though on a very generous curve), according to a report released this morning by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Alabama and New York were the other two. Thirty-five states earned F's. New York Times story on the report here.
The center looked at state standards and curriculum requirements related to study of the civil rights movement. It said this about Florida:
Florida has a strong set of civil rights-related history standards that could be improved with a few modifications. The standards do not shy away from setting out core knowledge when it comes to key personalities in the civil rights movement, including a mix of state and national figures. The events selection is weaker, missing important events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and failing to mention the 1964 Civil Rights Act by name. The standards are weakest when talking about resistance to the movement. Although Florida requires students to learn about the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow when studying Reconstruction, the 20th century standards do not mention segregation laws, poll taxes, literacy tests, Jim Crow or any other episodes of white resistance and racism. This has the unfortunate effect of making the movement seem one-sided and its success inevitable. Overall, the state is moving in the right direction. Florida is setting high expectations and following through with end-of-course exams matched to those expectations. With a few changes, the state could have model standards for teaching the civil rights movement.
The report notes Florida fourth graders are required to learn about Harry T. Moore and Harriette V. Moore, pictured above. Harry Moore was a Florida NAACP leader in 1951 when he and his were murdered by a bombing of their Brevard County home. (Image from thesdotfiles.myblogspot.com)