Petitioning Department of Education

Make African American History a Graduation Requirement

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In January of 2017, a student at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville, Florida staged a sit-in demanding that African American History be offered as a yearlong course. I decided to extend what she did and request that the course be yearlong, a graduation requirement, and an Advanced Placement class in high school.

I'm currently a senior in high school, so although this won't affect me, I believe that future generations will gain a lot from taking this course. African American history is very rich and diverse and exposes us to a culture that most do not understand. Many Black people today don't know their own history, which creates a disadvantage to one's own self. There is so much more than slavery and the Civil Rights Movement which is taught in U.S History, or World History. Also, U.S History and World History are offered as yearlong courses, as well as A.P., and Honors. European History is even offered as an A.P. course, but these advantages are not offered to the African American History course. It is important that we teach to future generations that their words matters, and if they have a problem with any societal issue, they speak up about it. Huey P. Newton once said, "The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution." We must continue to fight for our own rights and our education.

According to Florida State Law, an African American History class is supposed to be offered at schools with appropriate textbooks. Many schools in the state of Florida are not offering this course, which means that schools are in violation of Florida State Laws and students are being denied a proper education.

We are demanding that African American History be offered as a yearlong course, and also that it be a graduation requirement in Duval County, and in the future, the state of Florida. This petition will be sent to the Florida Department of Education so that all Florida schools can become compliant with the statute cited below for African American studies. In the near future, the petition will also be used for other states in making the course be offered and required. The petition will also be sent to the College Board, so we can also make an AP course dedicated to African American History. 

In summary we are demanding that:

  •    African American History be offered as a yearlong course;
  •    African American History be a graduation requirement and as a social studies credit;
  •    Florida schools abide by current state law and offer African American History on all school campuses.

Fla. Stat. §1003.42(2) Members of the instructional staff of the public schools, subject to the rules of the State Board of Education and the district school board, shall teach efficiently and faithfully, using the books and materials required that meet the highest standards for professionalism and historic accuracy, following the prescribed courses of study, and employing approved methods of instruction, the following:

(h) The history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, and the contributions of African Americans to society. Instructional materials shall include the contributions of African Americans to American society.

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