In an effort to expand its curriculum, Boston public schools have implemented a new policy requiring all teachers to integrate the city’s civil rights history into their lesson plans, reports The Boston Globe.
Until recently, students have learned about the Civil Rights Movement through a Southern lens. However, Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh and other city officials want to teach local students in grades 3 through 12 about the city’s own tumultuous history.
“Busing in Boston was our Selma,” former mayoral chief of staff Ira Jackson told the Globe. “This is a conversation and civics lesson that is long overdue. We still have a lot of unfinished business to do.”
In 1974, Mayor Kevin H. White and Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. were responsible for desegregating the city and allowing children to be bussed to schools outside of their neighborhoods. The ruling was met with backlash from White community members who deeply opposed the desegregation of public schools. Since then, the city’s history with school integration has been a touchy subject.
District teachers received an e-mail earlier this month asking that they include at least one lesson on the fight for desegregation in Boston. Starting next year, teachers will be required to include city history in their yearly curriculum.
Officials feel that students in the district—which is 13 percent White, 40 percent Hispanic and 25 percent Black—could benefit greatly by learning the racial divides that used to plague their hometown.
“It’s about time that we address this difficult past in the city,” said City Councilor Tito Jackson to the Globe. “It’s critical that young people learn how not to repeat the mistakes that were made in the past. It’s also an opportunity to empower our young people to forge a new path.”