SPLC: How well does your state teach about the civil rights movement?
Surprisingly, Texas (scoring a C grade) does better in this area than almost the entire west and midwest.
If we continue to allow our schools to fail in teaching this critical piece of recent US history, have no doubt that pseudo-historians in the mold of David Barton will step in to helpfully explain what really happened.
How Do States Compare to Each Other?
In most states, the requirements for teaching about the civil rights movement are grossly inadequate to non-existent. The average score across all states and the District of Columbia was 19%, for an average grade of F.
Sixteen states require no instruction at all about the civil rights movement. A majority of states earned Ds or below, with 35 earning Fs.
Only three states, Alabama, Florida and New York, received an A. Only Georgia, Illinois and South Carolina received a B. Six states received a C for a low pass, even when a score of just 30% was required to earn a C and a score of 50% was required for a B. Four states received a D.
In awarding letter grades, we opted to scale grades to recognize the full range of standards quality, so that the states with the most rigorous standards—even if they didn’t cover more than 70% of recommended content—received A’s. In part, this was because these requirements have never been extracted and assessed before. Also, we needed a way to more effectively recognize effort on the part of lower-scoring states. There are significant qualitative differences among the states scoring less than 50% on our rubric: Arizona’s score of 22% represents requirements to learn about movement figures and landmarks such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, integration of the armed forces, Jim Crow, literacy tests, poll taxes and nonviolence. West Virginia earned its 6% score by requiring students to learn only about King and linking the civil rights movement to other movements.