The Mississippi fight against integration and civil rights was the most organized, defiant, and violent of anywhere in the country. But until 2011, civil-rights history was not part of the required curriculum in Mississippi public schools.
“Before then, it was up to the discretion of the teacher if the civil-rights movement was taught at all inside a classroom,” according to the reporter Sierra Mannie.
In 2011, the Mississippi Department of Education issued a new set of standards requiring lessons on civil-rights history.
Mannie, who grew up in Mississippi, wanted to know if the new standards were being taught. She looked at textbooks used in social-studies classes in Mississippi public schools. Her analysis for The Hechinger Report and Reveal showed that, for at least some grades, all of the state’s 148 school districts relied on textbooks published before the new standards were put in place.
The analysis found:
- No fourth-grade classrooms —when students first learn Mississippi history ——used a social-studies textbook published more recently than 2006.
- At least 40 districts relied on books published before 2011 for the study of U.S. history after Reconstruction, usually taught in 11th grade.
- Some school districts were using textbooks with copyrights as early as 1995.