In 2011, prompted by reports showing that American students knew little about the modern civil rights movement, Teaching Tolerance launched an investigation into the social studies standards states expected teachers to teach and students to learn. We found that most states demanded little instruction in civil right education. The states with better coverage of the movement were predominantly former slave-holding states in the South.
Three years later, we saw some improvement in the message that states were sending to their teachers and students. In some cases, states modified and strengthened their standards. Some states scored better based on the quality of their civil rights teaching resources (a new evaluation criteria in 2014). Others still had a long way to go.
Over the years since we launched our Teaching the Movement initiative, we’ve captured our learning in the reports, curriculum improvement guides and webinars you’ll find on this page. We hope you’ll share these resources widely and—most importantly—teach the civil rights movement in the depth and detail this critical history deserves.
Teaching the Movement Guides