From the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) comes a thoughtful rebuttal to SERC’s Black and Latino curriculum in CT schools. Here are the 9 learning objectives and essential questions; the answer by FAIR researcher Grayson Slover, is in italics.
Learning Objective 1: Understand the construct of race and why and how it was developed. Essential Question 1: RACIAL FORMATIONS — How and why was the concept of race constructed? What is its impact on African American/Black and Puerto Rican/Latino people?
Students should learn about the specific development of “scientific racism” in the West and how it was used to justify the mistreatment of non-White peoples. They should also learn that the ideas of scientific racism became popular in many societies throughout the world, not just in Europe and North America, and that prejudice based on immutable characteristics, including prejudice based on skin-color, has been an unfortunate feature of almost all societies throughout human history. Additionally, teachers should clarify that not all black and latino Americans believe that race has a significant impact on their lives today.
Learning Objective 2: Investigate the evolution and development of African American/Black and Puerto Rican/Latino identities, including intersections with Indigenous and other identities. Essential Question 2: DIASPORAS — Who and what are the diverse people, places, and time periods that African American/Black and Puerto Rican/Latino include? What are the stories of the African, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino(a) diasporas?
Students should be taught the histories of African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Latino Americans and how their stories fit within the broader American history. It is also essential for students to learn that every African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino American has a unique individual identity, and that
for many of them race is an insignificant or even irrelevant piece of that identity.
Learning Objective 3: Analyze how race, power, and privilege influence group access to citizenship, civil rights, and economic power. Essential Question 3: POWER — What do African American, Black, Puerto Rican and Latino(a) histories
reveal about the United States, its foundation, and how power is structured today?
Students should learn about the ways in which non-white Americans have historically been denied access to citizenship, civil rights, and economic power. This history should be taught in conjunction with the fact that the United States has gradually become more racially equal, and students should also be exposed to some examples of racism in other countries to contextualize what they’re learning about America. Furthermore, it should be made clear to students that scholars disagree on the extent to which racism defines America’s foundation and how much it explains racial disparities that exist today.
Learning Objective 4: Examine the scope and legacy of resistance that has been integral to African American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino(a) histories.
Essential Question 4: FREEDOM, JUSTICE, RESISTANCE — How have African American, Black, Puerto Rican and Latino(a) people fought for freedom and justice throughout history and today, and in what ways have their struggles been in solidarity with various other groups?
It is important that students learn about how African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Latino Americans have resisted racial oppression. They should also learn about how the non-violent, democratic Civil Rights movement succeeded in securing racial equality under the law for all Americans. Students should
also be exposed to stories of members of marginalized racial groups who were able to overcome racial prejudice and still succeed in America.
Learning Objective 5: ARTICULATE the integral role African American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino(a) communities have played in shaping U.S. society, economy, and culture. EQ5: SOCIETY, ECONOMY, AND CULTURE — How and in what ways have African American, Black, Puerto Rican and Latino(a) people shaped American society, economy, and culture?
African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Latino Americans have been integral in shaping American society, economy, and culture. It is important that students learn about these contributions.
Learning Objective 6: REIMAGINE new possibilities and more just futures for our country and our world drawn from the legacy of African American/Black and Puerto Rican/ Latino experiences, intellectual thought, and culture.
Students should be exposed to a wide variety of African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino American voices that are representative of the diversity of opinion in these communities. There is no single set of experiences, cultural practices, or intellectual viewpoints that is shared by all of the individuals who make up the African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino American communities. Students should understand that there are many different perspectives on which “new possibilities” are worth pursuing and on what “more just futures” would look like.
Essential Question 6: RADICAL IMAGINATIONS — What do African American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino(a) histories and cultures teach us about radically reimagining new possibilities and more just futures?
This question implies the reductionist notion that the histories and cultures of all African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Latino Americans support “radically reimagining” American society. The vast majority of individuals within these communities do not agree with radical politics and it is misleading to insinuate that they do. It is essential that students be exposed to a wide range of perspectives, including African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino American thinkers who oppose radically changing American society.
Learning Objective 7: EXPLORE local and regional African American/ Black and Puerto Rican/Latino communities and compare/contrast them with national histories. Essential Questions 7: SPACE AND PLACE — In what ways have geographies shaped history, as well as been shaped by it? What are the African American/Black and Puerto Rican/Latino histories of our region, and how do they relate to broader histories?
Students should learn that the histories of African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino Americans are all essential parts of American history.
Learning Objective 8: EXAMINE examples of African American/Black and Puerto Rican/Latino action in addressing issues impacting their communities.
Essential Question 8: AGENCY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT In what ways have African American/Black and Puerto Rican/Latino people demonstrated agency in developing organizations and strategies to address pressing issues in their communities? How can young people take informed action to address pressing issues in their own communities?
Students should learn about important issues in African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino American communities and the various views on how to address them. Students should be encouraged to form their own opinions on how to address these issues, and they should not be pressured by teachers to adopt any political perspective or take part in any political activism.
Learning Objective 9 IDENTIFY resources and opportunities for active engagement, learning, and civic responsibility.
Students should learn the importance of civic engagement and staying informed on issues in their communities. They should also learn how to productively engage on contentious issues with classmates and community members who think differently from them.
Learning Objective 10 USE the inquiry cycle to take informed action