CPS will teach more African American studies in the fall

March 5, 2013

(We Can Inc./Chinta Strausberg)
Florence Cox

Chicago Public Schools will teach African-American history classes year-round and system-wide beginning this fall.

The decision comes after months of meetings between local leaders and district officials.

The complaint is that public schools teach Black history only during February or Black History Month.

Florence Cox is a former CPS board president. She is also the president of We Can Inc., the community group heading the dialogue.

She said her group found CPS was not in compliance with a state law mandating districts integrate black history into the curriculum.

“Based upon the law, a unit on black history should be taught from elementary school all the way through high school. That unit should focus on the development of African descent in the United States of America,” Cox said.

According to Cox, her group sent a Freedom of Information Act request to find out whether schools in the city were required to develop educational content on black history and culture all year-round.

“We found that black history was taught sporadically, on an individual basis, and more subjectively than anything else throughout the history of CPS,” Cox said.

Cox said she would like to see all schools develop curriculum that teaches black history from a cultural and a political perspective.

CPS said it will launch its new social science framework in the beginning of the next school year. Meantime, it will work with teachers to adapt content focused on black history in each grade level.

“CPS has been hard at work developing a new social science framework that incorporates African American History,” said Robyn Ziegler, director of media affairs for CPS in a statement.

CPS said the social science framework will also include more education about other cultures and women’s fight for equality.