‘Controversial to some’: DC schools look to change social studies curriculum

D.C. is looking to make changes to what students are taught in the classroom, specifically when it comes to social studies.

At its April public meeting, the D.C. State Board of Education held a panel to discuss the importance of updating social studies education in the District.

“We live in a time now where there’s an effort to re-center our history, and it’s controversial to some,” said D.C. State Superintendent of Education Christina Grant.

The social studies standards in D.C. were last revised in 2006, “and yet we find ourselves in a 2022 that’s unlike any other,” Grant said.

“So as our nation and communities grapple with historic inequities, it’s important that we have standards that students will learn that are honest and inclusive and represent the diverse backgrounds in our society,” she added.

Harvard professor Danielle Allen also spoke to the D.C. State Board of Education on Wednesday, saying, “It is possible for us to celebrate accomplishments of our history, even while we are also honest and critical about admissions and errors and sins and wrongs done over time.”

According to the State Board of Education website, “the revision process presents an opportunity for the District’s social studies standards to be culturally responsive, anti-racist, to impart important social studies content in the early grades, strengthen student knowledge of democratic principles and values, and promote civic engagement.”

The D.C. State Board of Education is not a school board and does not make day-to-day decisions for public schools, according to its website. Instead, it provides “policy leadership, support, advocacy, and oversight of public education.”

Maryland has also seen a push to amend social studies teachings to include more about those who have been historically marginalized.

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John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP.

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