More than 65 percent of the School District's students are African American. Yet despite the predominance of African American students in the classroom, a comprehensive curriculum reflective of their heritage has been lacking.
A resolution adopted by the School Reform Commission (SRC) last February has begun to shake up this status quo.
The most talked-about element of the SRC resolution is the new requirement that all Philadelphia high school students complete an African American history class, starting with the graduating class of 2009.
Good professional development for teachers is vital to the success of the School District's new mandated high school course in African American history.
“We have numerous teachers whose educational experience didn't include African American history as preparation for teaching history and social studies,” stated Nancy Hopkins-Evans, the School District's high school curriculum specialist, explaining the thinking behind the District's professional development strategy.
Academic, political and civic leaders both locally and nationally have weighed in on the Philadelphia School District's mandated high school course in African American history. Here are some of the public statements made on the topic in recent months.
Nicholas Torres, President, Congreso de Latinos Unidos