If you’ve ever changed schools in the middle of the year, you may have noticed minor differences in curriculum between districts. However, imagine moving from a predominately white high school in Texas, to a more diverse school in California.

You may not think much about the vast ways in which the exact same material can vary depending on a pupil’s school, district and instructional materials. Today we will examine how textbooks, authors and state legislation, collectively “what we teach,” impacts our world view and understanding of history. 


Textbooks are supposed to teach us a common set of facts about who we are as a nation, but the influence of religion and politics in instructional material can skew those facts. Read this article to see how history textbooks reflect America’s refusal to reckon with slavery.
Half of all school-aged children are non-white, however, only 10.5 percent of the children’s books published in 2013 featured a person of color. In 2016, this number doubled to 22 percent, but white is still the “default identity.” Read this article to consider ways in which some educators are reconstructing this literature.
Very few states require Holocaust education in their school systems, and a 2018 survey showed that two-thirds of U.S. Millennials were not familiar with Auschwitz. Read this article on how one state hopes to change that statistic, during this surge of Anti-Semitic hate crimes.

LEVEL 1 : Read this brief intro on school segregation and bring together a small group of colleagues, family or friends to participate in one of 6 interactive activities. 

LEVEL 2 Create a list of your top 5 favorites books, that you read in high school. Keep these in the back of your mind as you move through tomorrow's content. After reading the content, take a look at the authors of the books on your list and answer the following questions:

  • Is there any racial/ethnic diversity?
  • How did the list affect your viewpoint as a young pupil?
  • Create a list of 5 books you would add to the high school list that you feel all students should read.

LEVEL 3 : Write a letter to your local school board or attend your next school board meeting to bring up a big issue of concern. 

DID YOU KNOW? Only 9 percent of Foundation grants are allocated to communities of color.

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