The movements against racial injustice and police brutality that sparked the death of George Floyd earlier this year have created new conversations about race relations in the U.S. This week, the state of Connecticut announced that all high schools must include Black and Latinx studies within the curriculum.
Governor Ned Lamont unveiled the new law which comes as a result of the Public Act 19-12 he signed in 2019 which directs all regional and local boards of education to provide an elective course for students to learn about Black, Puerto Rican and Latino contributions to the country’s history as well as culture.
“Increasing the diversity of what we teach is critical to providing students with a better understanding of who we are as a society and where we are going,” Governor Lamont said in a press statement.
“Adding this course in our high schools will be an enormous benefit not only to our Black and Latino students but to students of all backgrounds because everyone can benefit from these studies. This is a step that is long overdue, and I applaud the work of the General Assembly, State Board of Education, and everyone at the State Education Resource Center whose collaborative work helped get this done.”
High schools across the state are said to begin offering the course as a requirement by 2022.
“Identities matter, especially when 27 percent of our students identify as Hispanic or Latino and 13 percent identify as Black or African-American. This curriculum acknowledges that by connecting the story of people of color in the U.S. to the larger story of American history,” said Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, in the statement. 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.”