Twenty-two years after passing a state law that required all public schools to develop and implement a curriculum that included black history, Chicago Public Schools have complied, reports DNAinfo.com.
To date, CPS only taught students about the history of African-Americans during Black History Month in February. Yet a month-long battle with CPS officials and the Southside community group We Can Inc. has pushed to incorporate the new curriculum in classrooms across the city next fall.
“The meeting went well. [CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett] wants to be in compliance with the law, and I am encouraged by that,” said We Can Inc. president and former Chicago School Board president Florence Cox. “There is so much history about us that is not being shared with students at CPS. I cannot understand how it could have been allowed to go on this long.”
She continued, “I tried and tried to push this issue to the forefront when I served on the school board but was unsuccessful at getting other board members to get on board.”
CPS has set a target of September to introduce the new curriculum.
“While we can’t say why decisions were or were not made since passage of this state law 22 years ago, CEO Byrd-Bennett took prompt action once this was brought to her attention,” said CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler. “She believes it’s a very valid concern and should be available to children in every school. We expect that there will not be a need to file a lawsuit, as CPS is now complying with the law.”
With no word on a potential lawsuit, CPS will reportedly work with We Can Inc. to implement the curriculum, monitoring its introduction and requesting the recruitment of retired teachers for reading initiatives and programs.
“We don’t want anyone teaching our kids black history when they have a limited knowledge themselves,” Cox said. “Face it: You have teachers who do not know anything about the person the school is named after, but work there every day. How crazy is that?”