Community Leaders Gather for 1st Commission on African American History Education Meeting
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - For some schools, black history is a topic taught exclusively in February, but that will change. The first meeting of the Commission on African American History Education is bringing together educators and community leaders across the commonwealth.
The task of that commission comes straight from Governor Ralph Northam - to make it clear in schools across Virginia that black history is American history.
“There are good things about our history there are things that are things that are not good,” said Northam. “We have to tell the truth. We have to know the truth and that starts with educating our children.”
Members of the commission met for the first time at the University of Virginia on Monday to figure out what steps can be taken to more fully integrate black history into schools.
“We have standards of learning already that cover K-12 our American history and our Virginia history, however there are gaps and there are holes in that history,” said Rosa Atkins, superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools and one of 34 people chosen for the commission. “We need to talk about what is the process that were going to use in order to fill in some of those gaps and to also explain and to highlight how African Americans played such a vital role in the development of that history.”
Governor Northam says education needs to start with educators. “That’s what this is about it's about you know reaching out to our classrooms looking at our curriculums look at who's doing the teaching, how they're prepared what they're teaching how they're teaching.”
Exact steps for how to do all of that will still need to be addressed, but having these discussions is a first step.
“To move towards a way to resolve that black history is important that black history must be taught, that we must talk about it and having courageous conversations,” said Atkins.
The next meeting of the Commission on African American History Education will take place on December 16 in Farmville.