US school row over black history
Sunday 17 July 2005
From September Philadelphia will become the first major US city to require its students to take such a course. Officials say the course will not only benefit black children by teaching them more about their history and culture but will also provide insights to their non-black classmates.
But critics say the new measure will further polarise the city by drawing attention to just one race and by not dealing with other racial and ethnic groups.
John Perzel, the Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives, has asked the city's school board to make the course optional. Motivated partly by the comments of some of his mainly white constituents, Mr Perzel wrote that the plan "will divide, rather than unite the city and thereby erode the positive learning environment".
He said schools would do better to concentrate on "basic reading, writing and arithmetic". Once we have them down pat, I don't care what they teach. Students should understand basic American history before we go into African-American history."
The plan to teach black history in Philadelphia has been a long time coming. As far back as the 1960s, the city, which is two-thirds black, experienced demonstrations and appeals by parents to include more black history in the curriculum.
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...