In a year of firsts, Connecticut has added its name to the list. This week, the state of Connecticut has announced that all high schools will be required to offer courses on Latino, Puerto Rican and Black history. High schools will have the option to offer these courses in the 2021-2022 academic year, but the schools will be required to offer these history courses beginning in the fall of 2022.
“Identities matter, especially when 27% of our students identify as Hispanic or Latino and 13% identify as Black or African American,” Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said.
“This curriculum acknowledges that by connecting the story of people of color in the U.S. to the larger story of American history. The fact is that more inclusive, culturally relevant content in classrooms leads to greater student engagement and better outcomes for all. This law passed due in large part to the strong advocacy of students from around the state and the legislative leadership of State Representative Bobby Gibson and State Senator Doug McCrory. I thank Ingrid Canady, the SERC team, and all of our partners who contributed to and drove us to this historic moment.”
Connecticut is home to some of the country's most prestigious prep schools such as Choate Rosemary Hall, the Salisbury School, Greenwich Country Day School, the Hotchkiss School and the Taft School. While these changes may be new to some top public schools and prep schools, New London’s C.B. Jennings Dual Language Elementary in Norwich has been teaching their students about different cultures for some time now. Taking a step further, schools in Norwich are looking to add courses in Middle School that will prepare students for the new courses offered in high school
“It’s great to see a standard practice as opposed to relying on teachers’ enthusiasm and passion for exposing children to Black and Latino studies,” Norwich Assistant Superintendent of Schools Tamara Gloster said.
“We’re looking to encompass and expand upon that through studying Cesar Chavez and his leadership as it relates to civil rights and how that impacts on other countries."
Ultimately, Dr. Cardona believes that the passing of Public Act 19-12 will help students learn and others feel see in a way that they may not have before.
“For me, I recall taking in college a course on Latino studies and it just made me feel seen," Cardona said.
“What we want to do is provide that opportunity for all students to learn about the contributions of Latinos and African Americans in a way that they see that they do add to the fabric of our country."
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