Study: Education About Civil Rights Movement 'Dismal'

Just 2 percent of U.S. high school seniors in 2010 could fully answer a basic question about the historic Brown v. Board of Education case.

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NPR is reporting that nearly three-quarters of states fail at teaching the civil rights movement, according to a study released by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The study assigned 35 states a grade of "F". Only three states -- Alabama, New York and Florida -- received an "A".

Here's how the study's authors sum it up:

"Rather than recognizing the profound national significance of the civil rights movement, most states mistakenly see it as a regional matter, or a topic of interest mainly for black students. Nine of the 12 highest-scoring states are from the former Confederacy. They are joined by the states of Illinois, Maryland, and New York.

Generally speaking, the farther away from the South -- and the smaller the African-American population -- the less attention is paid to the civil rights movement. 

Imagine if children in Texas, California and Minnesota were exempted from lessons on the American Revolution -- or if students in Alaska, Hawaii and Montana got a pass on the Civil War. We all recognize that the American Revolution and the Civil War are critical events in our growth as a nation, important for all students to study. It is time to recognize that the civil rights movement, too, is one of those critical events that defines us as a nation. It is a recent and important reminder of how individual self-governing Americans can act collectively to correct grave injustice."

Hopefully the study's findings will result in a change in the curricula. No child in this country can be considered educated if he or she learns nothing about the civil rights era.

Read more at NPR.

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