At Storyboard That we believe that curriculum should examine history from all perspectives. We believe that curriculum should be actively anti-racist and culturally responsive. We believe that all students should see themselves represented in what is presented to them in school and we strive to create curriculums to help teachers do just that.
We have compiled a series of resources that focus on history and literature in order to make it easier to educate students about racial and social inequality and address systemic racism and injustice in all its forms. Our curriculum developers are working hard to continually add to our offerings with this goal in mind, to help create a more just and equitable world for our students today and in the future.
Teaching 'hard history' is as important as it is challenging. Issues surrounding fairness, equity, equality and social justice are not just in the news cycle but experienced by our own students and their families. Most teachers want to tackle the challenge of teaching about racism, social justice and the injustices of the past. It is a challenge often fraught with discomfort and can be a struggle to teach effectively. However, it is also a moral responsibility for teachers to honestly teach about our nation's hard history and the difficult stories of the past from around the globe. American investigative journalist, educator, and civil rights leader, Ida B. Wells famously said, "The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them."
There have been recent inflated controversies surrounding the complex legal theory and intellectual movement studied by law students at the university level and beyond called Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory has become a lighting rod for controversy and a fixture in the news cycle. The aim of CRT is to try and understand how race and racism has influenced institutions like the justice system and how these institutions have historically created and maintained a system of white supremacy that exploits people of color. There have been outcries from some about teaching Critical Race Theory in schools.
While CRT is taught at the university level and not K-12, why shouldn't students and teachers think critically about race and racism? Why shouldn't students examine the role of racism in our history and in our current inequities and social problems? Why shouldn't teachers acknowledge that racism is not a thing of the past but a deeply embedded problem that affects us and our students today? Why shouldn't teachers acknowledge that the tragic legacy of slavery, of segregation, and of an inequitable justice system has disproportionately affected Black Americans and people of color? Opponents of CRT have said that it will teach students that the United States is an "inherently racist or evil country" and will make white students ashamed of their skin color and that it "tries to make everything about race." In reality, the goal of an equitable education is to teach students history that is truthful and incorporates perspectives from all sides and not solely a whitewashed version of history that is disingenuous and misleading. As Ibram X. Kendi said, "The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify it and describe it—and then dismantle it."
It is daunting to incorporate the hundreds of years of institutionalized racism and violence against African Americans, Indigenous Americans and people of color and, yet, this work is essential. Teachers have a responsibility to provide our students with a balanced historical curriculum that weighs the perspectives of all parties involved equally. It is inaccurate and misleading to portray our history solely from the perspective of the white European colonizers and not include the voices of the Indigenous peoples who were here first. It is inaccurate and misleading to teach about the founding of the United States without teaching about the realities and the evils of slavery.
We are responsible for ensuring that our students understand the vast inequities, injustices and tragedies of the past and their direct connections to the issues we are facing in the present. American poet, activist and the youngest poet laureate in U.S. history, Amanda Gorman wrote "Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It's the past we step into and how we repair it." By learning the truth of our history, it empowers us to make decisions and foster understanding so we can avoid repeating the tragedies of the past and work to heal the injustices of the present.