Education

North Carolina scores on civil rights education

Posted March 6, 2014

On Feb. 1, 1960, four black students sat at the all-white lunch counter at Woolworth's Department Store in Greensboro and asked for a cup of coffee. The answer was no, but the action helped catapult the Civil Rights Movement across the South. Eight artists honored their act of bravery with sculptures of coffee cups throughout downtown Greensboro, which were unveiled Wednesday.

North Carolina outperforms most states when it comes to teaching civil rights education to K-12 classrooms, according to a new study by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project.

The center assigned A-through-F grades to each state based on their education standards and resources available to teachers. North Carolina scored a “B,” a drastic improvement from the “F” it received in a similar report from 2011.

Twenty states received “F’s,” while 14 received “D’s.” The study notes that twelve states require no teaching of the civil rights movement at all.

“A lot of states talk about the movement as being some kind of triumph without truly understanding the kind of oppression and real violence that African Americans suffered in the period after the civil war,” says Maureen Costello, director of the Teaching Tolerance project.

She says North Carolina improved its instruction after the state adopted new standards in 2012, which takes into account major documents and supporting resources that guide teachers.

North Carolina also shows a “genuine interest in placing the movement in the arc of history and connecting it across grade levels and historical eras,” according to the report.

The report also shows that southern states typically offer stronger civil rights education, as well as states that include large populations of African-American students.


This report first appeared on WUNC/North Carolina Public Radio as part of their <a href="external_link-1">education coverage</a>.

Reema Khrais is the 2014 Fletcher Fellow focused on Education Policy Reporting. The Fletcher Fellowship is a partnership between WUNC
and UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication funded in part by the Fletcher Foundation.

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  • Ty Shrake Mar 7, 2014

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    Here are the Southern Democrat votes on the 1964 CRA:

    From the House:
    (For/Against)
    Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%)

    From the Senate:
    (For/Against)
    Southern Democrats: 1–20

    Yep.... those Southern Democrats were all 'civil rightsy', weren't they? Just ask George Wallace!

  • dollibug Mar 7, 2014

    Everyone should know what their *RIGHTS* are. It seems there is a lack of communication, training and interpretation of what exactly our rights are supposed to be. IF these were studied throughout the school years, then perhaps there were be less problems with everyone understanding our *U.S. Constitutional Rights* and what they all mean or not.

  • Terry Watts Mar 7, 2014

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    Leave it to the GOP to view the expansion of every American's Rights as a bad thing...

  • disgusted2010 Mar 7, 2014

    Wood Chipper Mar 7, 1:08 p.m.

    "Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it."

    That's the problem. US History begins and ends these days with the civil rights movement. The rest of history is no longer taught as it might offend someone.

  • Terry Watts Mar 7, 2014

    WayneBoyd: "I wouldn't give a $1.00 food stamp for a civil right."

    Stunned that people are so willing to give up their Rights: the CRA'64 and its protections apply to you as well as any "minority"...

  • Billy the Kid Mar 7, 2014

    Democrats have put on a friendlier face. They are very much for holding people down, but now it's under the guise of helping you with government programs. Keep voting for us and we'll keep giving you stuff that will never help you get ahead for yourself.

  • Terry Watts Mar 7, 2014

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    "A Constitutional Right is a right granted to all humanity by their Creator and is inherent, meaning it cannot be taken from him by any rule of law.

    A civil right is a right created by law and the enjoyment of that right is regulated entirely by the law that created it."

    In terms of US Law, a "Constitutional Right" is a "Civil Right" that is enforced/protected by the USCon.

    A "Civil Right" is a is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. "Freedom of Speech" is an example of a Civil Right that is also a Constitutional Right (ie protected by the USCon).

  • Terry Watts Mar 7, 2014

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    Quite. Senator Byrd was the only one out of 46 Northern Democrats to vote against CRA'64.

  • Ty Shrake Mar 7, 2014

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    Robert Byrd. He never apologized and Democrats never kicked him out, even though they are 'for minorities'...

  • Joseph Shepard Mar 7, 2014

    Oh how quickly history is forgotten--can anybody name the US Senator from West Va, a very senior Senator at that, who was a life long Democrat and was also a Grand Dragon of the KKK?

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