Students need African American history in school. Today’s unrest proves it

Students on the first day at Dolores Huerta Elementary School in Los Angeles on Aug. 14, 2018. <span class="copyright">(Los Angeles Times)</span>
Students on the first day at Dolores Huerta Elementary School in Los Angeles on Aug. 14, 2018. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am a parent to a fifth-grader at a Burbank public school. Since my daughter has been in this district, she has learned almost nothing about African American history. This is not how a student is supposed to receive a well-balanced education. (“Seven things Californians can do right now to fight structural racism,” editorial, June 4)

As we all know, education is one of the most important functions in a society. It is important for children to know about the history of this country and how it affects what’s happening today.

African American history is just as important as any other part of this country’s history. It is more than just Black History Month or something that covers a few civil rights leaders, and it needs to be more thoroughly incorporated into our curriculum year-round, regardless of the percentage of people of color in a district.

Africa Turner, Burbank

..

To the editor: Your editorial says we should fight racism with education — but what kind of education?

As budget cuts loom for education, and schools have to decide where and what to cut, let me make the case for music and art education. Traditionally, when education budgets have to be cut, music and art teachers are the first to go. But the arts are what humanize us and civilize us.

What has driven our state curriculum guidelines has been what we choose to test. We don’t test how to be a decent, caring human being. We don’t test knowledge of how to deal with bullying, racism or abuse of power. We don’t test the knowledge of what music and art teach us about our shared humanity.

The time has come to reorder our priorities. How and what we teach needs to be reevaluated. If we don’t spend our money on the best kind of education, we will be doomed to spend it responding to law enforcement abuses and protests.

Diana Wolff, Rancho Palos Verdes

The writer is a professor emerita of education at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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