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W HAT DO THE TEXTBOOKS SAY? AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY OF HIGH SCHOOL AMERICAN HISTORY CURRICULUM CONTENT BY CHELSEA MONTGOMERY A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requi rements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Uzi Baram Sarasota, Florida May, 2011
ii For my friends and family, who have supported me all along the way
iii Acknowledgements I first want to say thank you to Uzi Baram, my thesis sponsor and advisor, for having faith in me and my project. I appreciate the support that you gave me throughout my career at New College, including your academic advice and all around encouragement. You pushed me to try anything and ev erything, and that helped me to get the most out of my New College experience. Thank you to my parents, for letting me make my own mistakes and always having confidence in me. Thank you to all of my friends, for making sure that my fourth year stayed fun. You helped me find a balance in life and stay sane. Thank you, especially, to Ben, Erica, and Liz.
iv Table of Contents Dedication ii Acknowledgements iii List of Tables and Figures v Abstract vi Introduction A Crisis in American Education 1 Chapter 1 A Lo calized Study of One School Variable: 16 Curriculum Content Chapter 2 Community, Societal, and Personal Forces: 38 The Dynamics of Differential Achievement Chapter 3 Curriculum Content and Stu dent 59 Disengagement: Some Academic Background Chapter 4 The American Republic Since 1877 : A 84 Representation of Race, Class, and Gender Chapter 5 Developing Multicultural Curricula 117 Bibliography 142
v List of Tables and Figures Table 1 Event dropout rates and numbers and distributions 10 of 15 through 24 year olds who dropped out of grades 10 12, by selected c haracteristics: October 2007 Figure 1.1 The cover of The American Republic Since 1877 24 Figure 1.2 The American Republic Since 1877 25 scale with a quarter ecologica l model of childrearing 45
v i WHAT DO THE TEXTBOOKS SAY? AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY OF HIGH SCHOOL AMERICAN HISTORY CURRICULUM CONTENT Chelsea Montgomery New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT Public outreach is a growing concern within anthropology, but an thropological research that focuses on what is being taught in K 12 classrooms is nearly non existent. However, this thesis lies at an intersection of anthropology, education, and public outreach. I begin by providing background information on the curren cultural ecology model (CEM). When problematized, CEM becomes a useful tool for analyzing the connection between curriculum content and student engagement. To further eluci date this connection, I looked at two recent sociological investigations of curriculum content and student engagement. From this grounding in anthropological theory and sociological literature, I examined The American Republic Since 1877, a high school Am erican history textbook approved for use in the state of Florida, and analyzed its representation of race, class, and gender. I found that the textbook frequently included the history of underrepresented groups such as African Americans, the working class and women, but that the historical significance of people from subordinate groups was often downplayed. Such depictions
vii day discrimination as well as their capacity to bec ome full democratic participants. To counteract the negative effects of exclusive histories, I suggest the adoption of multicultural curricula. The conclusion evaluates three separate ways to make curricula both more inclusive and more engaging. Dr. U zi Baram Division of Social Sciences
1 Introduction A Crisis in American Education The American public is constantly bombarded with news reports on their failing education system. From the latest surveys that detail the lack of historical knowledge of th e average high school graduate to reports of American students trailing the Chinese in scientific and mathematical achievements, it seems as though the failures of the public school system have become normalized in the public eye. But how bad is the educa tion crisis in the United States? With staggering statistics on the unequal academic achievement of racial minorities and the lower class, the problem of educational equity deserves more or at least a different type of attention than just that generat ed by sensational news stories. When No Child Left Behind increased the stakes of performance tests such as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, it also required that schools separately track the achievements of different racial or ethnic groups. T he information that was consequently gathered points to a horrendous educational disparity between whites, African Americans, and Hispanics as well between the middle and lower class. Before this achievement gap can be reduced, it must first be understoo d. To this end, I will describe the current educational inequities in the United States school system before detailing some of the many explanations of the achievement gap. I will then present a brief history of inequality in American public schools. Ta ken together, these
2 topics will provide the social and historical context of this thesis, which is a study of the relationship between curriculum content and student engagement. The State of Education: Class and Race The achievement gap refers to the u nequal academic performance of different groups of students. Often it refers to the disparities between white and non white student achievement, but it can refer to the differences between lower and middle class students, female and male students, or urb an and rural students. Because the differential performances of white and non white students are the most researched, I will focus on this inequality in the following section. It is important to note, however, that socioeconomic class divisions largely f all along racial lines. Hence, discussing the white minority achievement gap and the middle and lower class achievement gap are nearly synonymous. Literature on the achievement gap is abundant. In the following section, I have chosen to focus on one outline of the achievement gap published in 2004 by Education Week Education Week is a publication of Editorial Projects in Education, a non profit organization founded in the 1960s whose goal is to provide research on and raise awareness of current K 12 educational issues. As part of this mission, Education Week has published articles that act as overviews to hot topics such as the achievement gap. According to the 2004 article, little has been done to effectively lessen the differential academic succe ss of white and non white students since the mid 1980s. This statement is supported by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and the U.S.
3 Department of Education, both of which regularly release statistics on national academic achievement. These differences between white and minority students are apparent in every step of the education process they already exist before a student enters and attending co States] scored at the proficient level or higher on the 4 th Week 2004). Research describing the achievement gap in high school paints an equally grim picture. In 2001 72 percent of white students graduated from high school on schedule, or in four years. The same could be said for only about half of African American and Hispanic students (2004). Such asymmetrical performance statistics persist in college and affect the economic opportunities open to students as adults. Unequal performance distinguishes middle and lower class students as well as white and non white students. The Department of Education found that teens whose percent (2004). Yet race and class are not isolated variables. The relationship between Study (2004), which found that children in higher socioeconomic classes performed class, the study found, often reflected race. In this particular study 34 percent and 29
4 percent of African American and Hispanic children, respectively, were represented in the lowest income bracket while only 9 percent of white children were in the same category. Hence, some of the negative educational outcomes that are attributed to race may actually be the result of class based issues and vice versa. Race and class, however, do not always work together to produce predictable academic achievements. One could assume from the above information that African American middle class students may be an exception to the bleak statistics on non white student achievement due to their cla American males in urban schools. This new research stated that poor, white males and middle or upper class, African American males perform similarly in school, when qualifications for free or reduced lunch programs are taken as a measure of poverty (Gabriel 2010). Thus, race or rather the strong social associations that race carries and the ways in which these associ ations are played out in the classroom can negatively affect the academic success of students. In fact, being African American appears to put student at risk for low academic achievement as much as being lower class. When a student is both non white and lower class the effects can be even more damaging to their education. Race and class, however, do not inherently make a student less able or willing to learn. Consequently, it is important to find out why these factors make it harder for students in the present day American public school system to succeed. If the problem is not understood it cannot be fixed, and fixing educational inequity should be a priority for
5 th eir potential, and this has far self image, and the national economy. The Bell Curve a popular but controversial book pub lished in 1994, suggested that genetic differences may be at the heart of racial achievement gaps (Education Week 2004). Yet such arguments lost favor within anthropology many decades ago (Smedley 2007). In American anthropology, race is now understood a differently not as a set of immutable characteristics that s eem to be transmitted through the genes but as a practical, active, creative response to specific social and historical socioeconomic differences that seem to naturally c ome out of racial differences become easier to question. Race is significant in America today only because of the considerable social meanings associated with it. These social meanings cause race to have substantial, and ves. The great disparities between white and non white abilities to perf orm academically but because the societal connotations of race affect the classroom environment, teach student relationships, student curriculum relationships, and more. Research aimed at explaining the white minority achievement gap explores how
6 race imp acts education and access to other socioeconomic opportunities so that these effects can be minimized and eventually cease to exist. There is much disagreement, however, on which factors contribute most to the unequal academic performance of minority grou ps. Some point to school forces as the main cause of the achievement gap. Paul classism limits the success of lower wi th their wealthier peers, poor students are more likely to attend schools that have less rigorous curriculum; and separating students into classes based on ability. Such programs disproportionately assign working class and minority students to lower level classes because teachers tend to expect less from these underrepresented students than from their white, middle c lass peers. For example, a report released by the Department of Education in 2000 indicated that while 7.5 percent of white high school students were enrolled in Advanced Placement calculus, only 3.4 and 3.7 of African American and Hispanic students, resp ectively, were enrolled in the upper level class (Education Week). Even more startling, however, is the disproportionate amount of working class and minority students that are placed in special education programs (Council for Exceptional Children 2002:1). success.
7 Schools forces, however, are not the only ones at work when it comes to the achievement gap. As mentioned earlier, socioeconomic factors such as class also p lay a part. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students from low income families are 250 percent more likely to drop out than students from middle income families and 975 percent more likely to drop out than students from high inco me families (see Table 1). Drop out statistics are very relevant to a discussion of the achievement gap because differential drop out rates are one manifestation of unequal academic success. There are several explanations, some valid and some not, for w hy class would affect student performance. To start, many working class students qualify for free or reduced lunch. For some students the meals that they receive at school through these programs are the only foods they have to eat throughout the week. It is understandable that hungry students would perform at a lower level than their well fed peers (The New York City Coalition Against Hunger 2011) because it is hard for students to focus on schoolwork when they are more concerned with when they are going to eat next. This problem can become exacerbated if students who qualify for reduced lunch miss the free breakfast offered at some schools due to a late bus or other reasons beyond their control. The social capital of students and their parents can also affect student performance. Social capital is largely associated with class; lower class students start school with less social capital than their wealthier peers. Lower class parents, similarly, have less social capital than middle or upper class pare nts. This lack of social capital hinders the ability of both lower class students and parents to meet the expectations of
8 teachers and school administrators (Lareau 1987:74 76). Working class parents usually have less leisure time due to inflexible work hours, which impacts their ability to monitor meetings (81). Compared to middle class parents, they also have less education, which can affect their ability to help th eir children with schoolwork as well as their comfort level in educational settings (78, 79). When parents are not able to meet teacher requests (such as attending meetings or reading to their children) due to class related ic achievement can be affected. It is important to remember, however, that class does not inherently limit a teacher relationship that is more easily meet by parents from middle clas s backgrounds. If these expectations were to change, it is possible that different forms of social capital would become more useful to parents and students alike. In addition to the students who perform worse in school due to class related issues, there are working class students who have even less opportunities to succeed academically because they are pushed out of school. Some have to start earning a steady income before they are able to graduate so that they can help support their families financially Others become pregnant and may be forced to leave school or find it hard to balance being a student and being a mother. Unintended pregnancies can happen to all students, but they are more common for lower class or African American teens. According to white and Hispanic females are unintended; 7 in 10 pregnancies to African American
9 reversible con traceptive methods successfully, with these females also the least likely to have the resources necessary to access family planning services and the most likely to be ju st be a reflection of larger unequal social and economic opportunities and not something that originates in the education system or in individual classrooms. To reiterate, I have described how food access and unplanned pregnancies are two social forces th at can contribute to the achievement gap. I consider these valid explanations for why lower class students nationally have lower graduation rates and are generally less academically successful when compared to their middle class and upper class peers. Ho wever, there are other popular explanations for why lower class students fail that are less anthropologically valid myth suggests that working class students have weak work ethics, come from families that (Gorski 2008:33, 34). Some of these stereotypes I will address in later chapters. For now I just want to make it clear that working class and non white students are less li kely to succeed academically because of community, school, and personal forces. They are not inherently disadvantaged by lower potential, decreased ability, or a lessened desire to succeed. All students have the potential for success, regardless of the o bstacles they may face or their statistically increased likelihood for failure.
10 Source: National Center for Education Statistics (2009)
11 The History of Educational Inequity The achievement gap is not a recent phenomenon, although it is more apparent in the United States t oday due to increased data collection and analysis. Some of the problems that currently exist, such as streaming, were first conceived long ago. Other inequities such as those caused by schools assuming white, middle class norms represent universal st andards of behavior also have underpinnings in the history of free education. In order to situate this thesis within the history of public education, I will provide a concise overview of some early educational inequities: streaming, education as worker preparation, unequal access to learning, and education as cultural genocide. One source from which I will draw heavily is The Applied Research Center. In justice think American education from 1647 until the end of the twentieth century. It is from this document that I took much of the following information. Streaming, or the practice of dividing s tudents into different educational tracks based on perceived ability, is common in many American high schools today. In 1779 track education program be implemented. This prog likely into vocational and academic tracks,
12 respectively. Jefferson planned on having minimal scholarships available to ensure that class students would be able to advance into the academic track. program has much in common with m odern streaming systems that are in place in many public schools in the United States. The present day systems are designed to separate students into groups based on their academic potential. The lower level groupings, however, include disproportionate n umbers of racial minorities and lower class students (Quiones 2008). Although these current systems are meant to divide students only by ability and not by race or class, they often end up doing the latter rather than the former. Not long after Jeffers on suggested two track education programs, early public schools began to open their doors in the northeastern United States. The first free school for the poor opened in Pennsylvania in 1790. This school was not intended for children from wealth families, who were typically taught by tutors. In 1805, New York also started offering free education for the lower class. The organization which ran these New York schools was founded by wealthy businessmen, and students enrolled in the school learned skills and values necessary for factory work: obedience, respect for authority, and competition (ARC 2006). This program was just one of many that the upper class supported because of the long term benefits they expected to gain from widespread education for the po or, such as better prepared workers. By the mid 1800s, public schools were becoming more typical. In 1827 Massachusetts passed a law requiring all towns composed of 500 or more families to
13 open a public high school that was free of charge for all students (Sass 2010). Twenty five years later, the same state passed the first compulsory attendance law. By 1918, all states had similar laws. One goal of attendance laws was to ensure the assimilation of immigrant children, who were growing in number. Some h oped that school would teach non the upper class, had more to gain from the current social o rder than lower class workers. Hence, while free education may have been offered to the lower class as a public service, it also served a purpose for the wealthy business owners who, as tax payers, covered most That is not to s ay, however, that the goals of early public education were noble or in the best interests of the working class. Schools are sites of social reproduction, and as such they are responsible for recreating the amount of inequality that is present within the l arger society (Bowels and Gintis 1976:11). In other words, schools reproduce current power structures and hierarchies. Because the working class does not benefit from either the current or historical distributions of power, it follows that workers have l ittle to gain from a system that helps them maintain their low socioeconomic position. While education was offered to immigrants as a way of acculturating them into the American capitalist economy and upholding the social status quo, other racial minoriti es were denied an education for similar reasons. African Americans, for instance, not only lacked access to free education; in many places they were legally denied the right to learn during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. In
14 America many people of African descendent were still enslaved at this time. Most southern states had passed laws by the 1830s making it illegal to teach any enslaved person how to read or write. Nevertheless, five percent of enslaved Africans gained these skil ls against the odds and at great personal risk. During Reconstruction, African Americans would fight for equal access to education. African American political leaders negotiated with white Republicans in order to include clauses for free education in new state constitutions. Regardless, these public schools would eventually benefit white children much more than African American youth (ARC 2006). While there were certainly reasons that the upper class benefited from the education of immigrants, the harm ful effects of free, mandated education were most clearly present in the Native American boarding schools of the 1800s. In 1864, it became illegal for Native Americans to be taught in their native language. The Bureau of Indian Affairs created off reserv ations boarding schools where children some as young as four were forcibly taken and educated against the desires of their families. According to one Research Ce nter 2006). In other words, the boarding schools created for Native American children were a site of cultural genocide. In the past, educational inequity took many forms. Today, no minority groups are denied access to education and schools no larger s erve as sites of cultural genocide. The achievement gap serves as a reminder, however, that education is still not equally available to all Americans. Previously I outlined some of the common understandings of the achievement gap. I explained that both school and community forces contribute to
15 the current inequity in educational and I challenged the idea that low student performance affect lower class and non whi historical groundings which I detailed above. Although all of the school and community factors that contribute to educational inequity in America are important, I have chosen to focus on one specific i n school variable in this thesis curriculum content. My hope is to approach a complex and controversial topic in a way that is both manageable and able to provide specific suggestions for improvement.
16 Chapter One A Localized Study of One School Variable : Curriculum Content Introduction Recently, more and more anthropologists have become concerned with public outreach. Cultural anthropologists and archaeologists alike are trying to push their research as well as larger anthropological issues into publi c discourses. At the African Burial Ground in New York City, for instance, archaeological research has become immersed within efforts to increase public understandings of and engagement with historically significant African American sites. The African Bu rial Ground Project even includes an Office of Public Education and Interpretation that gives public lectures and distributes education packets, classroom study guides, fact sheets, and brochures. To successfully engage the public or local descendent commu nities, however, it is Research on common understandings of anthropological topics such as history could become a part of the many anthropological studies occurring at the intersection of anthropology and education. Anthropological studies of what is being taught in K 12 public schools, however, have yet to come out of the growing field that straddles anthropology and education. This thesis is an effort to close the d istance that currently exists between concerns for public outreach and academic analyses of education. It is both an attempt to understand the white minority achievement gap holistically and an
17 examination of one factor that may lead to unequal academic s uccess curriculum content in detail. Curriculum content affects student engagement and how students relate to their peers, teachers, school, and education at large. Students can feel marginalized in the classroom if their heritages, values, or pers onal experiences are not validated by or represented within classroom instructional materials (Dei et al. 1997). To see how students particularly those from underrepresented groups may be affected by the educational materials presented to them in the classroom, I analyzed one Florida approved high school American history textbook and its representation of race, class, and gender. position within a larger anthropological di foundations of this thesis. In doing so I will present my broader theoretical concerns, such as the importance of agency an d the social variables of race, class, and gender. I will then explain my choice to study history curricula, how I came to study curriculum content, and my methodology. Overview of the Field Modern Anthropology and Education Research The anthropology of education is an established sub field within American anthropology. The American Anthropological Association (AAA) has a section, or interest group, titled the Council on Anthropology and Education which is comprised of
18 professional anthropologists in terested in research related to education. This section is responsible for publishing Anthropology and Education Quarterly a peer reviewed journal that publishes articles on schooling and human learning in its social context. From reviewing past issues of this journal and attending the 2010 AAA annual conference, I have gained a sense of what themes are prevalent in anthropology of education. Common topics include bilingual education; student and teacher identify formation; the teaching of anthropology at the undergraduate and graduate level; and the intersection of race, ethnicity, and pedagogy. Less common were anthropological examinations of common educational practices and curriculum at the K 12 level. I have yet to come across an anthropologica l study similar to the one in this thesis on high school instructional materials. I did see attend presentations at the 2010 AAA conference on textbook content and presentation, but these were both concerned with college level materials. It is important, this thesis argues, to study materials adopted by the American public school system. For one, K 12 institutions are a fundamental site of socialization. Additionally, the textbook selection process at the K 12 level is often much more political and cont ested than similar choices made at universities. This is particularly true in adoption states such as Florida, where textbooks chosen by one group must fit the needs of a large and diverse population. Establishing Ethnographic Validity My belief that i t is important to study the content of K 12 curricula anthropologically has influenced my use of anthropological methods and theories in this
19 thesis. Anthropology and anthropological theory has much to offer research on education because it prominently co nsiders the experiences of individuals. Throughout this thesis I hope to keep individuals and individual agency central to my understanding of how textbooks can affect student engagement. There is no one sure way that students of any particular group wil l react to particular stimuli, and I do not wish to propose or support a grand theory that states differently. Consequently, this thesis will rely on anthropological theories such as a nuanced cultural ecology model that acknowledges the importance of per ethnographic validity. In this thesis I am treating The American Republic Since 1877 as an archaeological artifact. An artifact is an example of material culture that can, wh en studied archaeologically, provide information on the people that created and used it. The methods of archaeology are useful here because archaeology is very much entwined within the larger discipline of anthropology it studies not only the past but th e lifeways and choices of individuals in the past. That said, all anthropologists are a product of their time and place. Most anthropologists do qualitative research and as such are not concerned with creating objective data. Instead, they subjectively experience the world around them and draw inferences as well as conclusions based on their own ontological understandings of those experiences. For these reasons, I do not strive to be objectively accurate in my research but instead hope to be subjective ly valid. To meet this end I rely soundness of my work. He (1990:395) suggested that validity could be established
20 s well as the path that led me to my particular research and my methodology. Theoretical Candor Agency While I analyze curriculum content in depth, I will keep in mind the fact that student engagement is complex, dynamic, and influenced by many related va riables. Throughout this thesis I will present generalizations about how some students may relate to specific instructional materials, but I never presume to speak for all students. Although many teachers across the nation are provided with the same inst ructional cause them to present these identical materials in distinctive manners. Likewise, when the students in a specific classroom are all given similar learning ma terials in a similar fashion they may react in different ways. Student responses are conditioned by social location race, class, and gender as well as other social variables but they are also dependent on past experiences and the unique background of each student. In other words, it is important to remember that students have agency the power to make choices and effect change. Students decide how they will respond to particular n, can never be pre
21 determined by identifiable social variables alone and one must never assume to know the social and school forces at work in their communities and classrooms. Why Race, Class, and Gender? In this thesis I focus on three powerful socioeconomic variables race, class, and gender. These variables are important because they largely determin e social structures in America today. Most social structures fall along divisions of race, class, and gender, and opportunities. When taken together, these variab les can provide meaningful information other and are perceived. Even though I do not always give race, class, and gender equal consideration in this thesis, I belie ve it is important to treat them as a trivariate and never privilege some to the exclusion of others. I deal with race and class most thoroughly, but my analysis would not be as complete or as meaningful if I did not also acknowledge the large role played by gender identity and varying conceptions of gender in society, both today and in the past. My focus on these three social variables firmly situates this thesis within the realm of anthropological discourse. A Note on the Terminology of Race I want to take the time to explain why I chose to use some racial terms over
22 American or the Caribbean as well as people of African descent who have lived in the United Stat es Disengagement from School lved American is the phrase used in this thesis. social construct that has changed mea ning over the years. At the turn of the century, ze that the category I am discussing is socially constructed and does not have a basis in ancestry to a particular country or continent. By escape racial discriminat ion in America based on their perceived inclusion in the dominant group. One term that is used throughout this thesis to denote more than just racial groups such as non whites, the working class, and women. In calling these groups
23 narratives and current positions of power. I am not referring to the status of some groups as demograp hic minorities. Textbook as Artifact Previously I outlined how the approach employed in this thesis is grounded in American anthropology. The research methods that were used also have an anthropological, or rather archaeological, basis. The data of this thesis come from The American Republic Since 1877 a high school level American history textbook approved for classroom use by the Florida Department of Education. In my analysis, I treat the textbook as an artifact. In other words, I consider the textbo ok as a piece of lasting material culture that can be examined in order to gain insight into the group of people who created it, consumed it, and communicated through it (Glassie 1999). I am most concerned with the communicative function of the book; by e valuating its presentation of race, class, and gender I hope to uncover the covert cultural messages relayed to students through the text. To reiterate, textbooks are an example of the materiality of education. They are produced within a specific social and historical context and they are reflective of that context. By looking at a textbook as material culture, one can explore the assumptions and analyze how they are com municated through textbooks by studying a engagement with and experiences in school and the larger educational process.
24 It is important to note that the typical inclusion exclusion approach is not as useful when analyzing high school history textbooks. The inclusion exclusion approach would examine what information the book gives and what information it omits. These textbooks, however, have grown to mammoth proportions over the years. The one I consider, The American Republic Since 1877 is over 1000 pages long (see Figures 1.1 and 1.2). As such, it is improbable that students will remember much of the dates and facts presented to them within the text. To include additional information would only overwhelm students more, and that is not a solution for which I would advocate. It is more relevant to analyze what information is empha sized and what is not. It may involve more work to change the emphasis in a textbook than to merely add a paragraph here and there about racial minorities, the working class, or women; but it would do more good to students who are already bombarded with o ver information. Examining emphasis over inclusion has other advantages as well. For instance, it history is added to the dominant history in a way that emphasize s its marginal place. Including additive histories does not create a well rounded, multicultural curriculum because these histories are not holistic. They may examine the participation of one Figure 1. 1: The cover of The American Republic Since 1877
25 particular underrepresented group in history, but they do not consistently depict society as diverse in regards to race, class, or gender. Why History? In all anthropological endeavors, it is useful for researchers lay out some of their own assumptions when they are presenting their studies and findings. One of my assumptions that act as a grounding for this thesis is that learning history is important. I the sciences, mathematics, and reading. Instead, I hope to convey how history prepares students for life by showing them how their world came to be the way it is. History has the ability to teach students about diversity, the social and economic forces which work on and affect their communities, and the global wo rld as well as their place in it. Students can also learn about racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination in the past and present through inclusive and holistic history curricula. By learning about prejudice in the past, student become better able to identify and combat discrimination in their own world. By learning how the government operates at the federal, state, and local level, students can come to better understand their roles as democratic participants. With that comes an increa sed awareness of how to advocate for Figure 1. 2: The American Republic Since 1877 size shown with a quarter as scale.
26 large. Additionally, learning about the social and economic forces that affect the lives of students and their peers allows students to more fully grasp how social location influences opportunities for advancement. Such knowledge positions students to become advocates for equality and positive change. All of these lessons which history has to teach, however, can only be realized when history is taught in an inclusive and holistic manner. When students are taught exclusive or additive histories, they benefit much less in the long and short run. Hence it is important for white and non white; lower class, middle class, and upper class; as well as male and female students to be exposed to multi cultural, inclusive histories. History that strays from the conventional narrative of Eurocentrism has something to offer to everyone and should consequently be available to all students within Am 12 public school system. some of the assumptions and theories from which I am working, I have explored the scholarly foundations of this thesis. I also wish to outline my methodology and personal background. I want to share my process of reading and analyzing this textbook, but first I must begin with both how I came to study textbook content and how I came to choose The American Republic Since 1877 as the data for this thesis. Earlier I mentioned the value of anthropological researchers being reflexive about their methods, theories, and
27 beginning assumptions. By discussing my background and my interests, I hope to disclose my position i n relation to issues of textbook content and student disengagement as well as increase my own reflexivity of my approach and unique social and personal location. In the spring of 2010 I joined with the Galilee Cemetery survey headed by Professor Uzi Bar am (2011). The Galilee Cemetery is a historically African American cemetery in Sarasota, Florida. It opened in the early 1930s because at that time Sarasota cemeteries were spatially segregated African Americans were not permitted to be buried within t he local white Rosemary Cemetery. The discrimination that led to the creation of the Galilee Cemetery has been manifested at the cemetery itself through its history. Throughout the second half of the 1900s neither Rosemary Cemetery nor Galilee were wel l maintained. Near the turn of the century, however, seperate community groups organized got together and began to clean up and care for the two cemeteries. The Rosemary Committee was created, followed by the Woodland/Galilee Restoration Task Force Galil ee Task Force. One of the many issues that the Task Force confronted was the spatial changes that had occurred at Galilee over the years. The layout of the cemetery had changed multiple times, and the funeral homes had not done an adequate job keeping up with the burial records as these changes took place. As a result, the funeral homes did not know where previous graves had been dug and they often disturbed older burials when digging new graves (Cox 2010).
28 The community members that make up the Task Fo rce decided to act in response to the disrespectful practices of both the funeral homes and the city. In additional to the keeping, the Task Force had to worry about the large number of burials that had been destroyed in prev ious years when parts of the cemetery has been reapportioned. The cemetery is now one third smaller than its original size due to the expansion of US 301, which borders the cemetery to the west, and the two adjacent commercial properties. This means that have been permanently removed. All of these disrespectful practices are unheard of at the historically white Rosemary Cemetery. Because Galilee Cemetery had typically been used by racial minorities and the working class, however, disrespectful practices remained in place for decades before they were successfully challenged. new graves are to be dug there and an archaeological s urvey of all visible graves was launched. Previously purchased plots are allowed to be used, but no new plots are supposed to be sold. Regardless, the local funeral homes continued to bury several people in newly purchased lots even after the moratorium was put into place. The Task Force and local funeral homes are currently in litigation surrounding these unethical and illegal practices. For my research project in conjunction with the survey, I sought to organize local Booker High School students to p articipate in the survey and learn about the history of race and class relations in Sarasota. Booker High School is located within the predominantly African American community of Newtown, and it has the highest
29 percentage of minority students out of all S arasota County public high schools. In 2009 American and Hispanic (Schooldigger.com 2010). Because Galilee Cemetery was created to serve the Newtown community, Booker High is al so the closest high school to the cemetery. I thought that it was important for Booker High students in particular to learn about the history of race relations and class dynamics in Sarasota. In addition to having the highest percentage of minority stude nts, this high school also has the highest percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch out of all public Sarasota high schools. Commonly used as a measurement of poverty, 52% of Booker High students qualify for this program (Schooldigger. student population being non white and/or lower class, learning about the importance of race and class in the past has particular relevance to their daily life. Before I had even begun research for this thesis, I wa s already influenced by the work of James W. Loewen. I first read his book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (1996) in the summer of 2005. I was assigned to read any book about American history and write a short report on it in preparation for my Advanced Placement United States History class. The cover of Lies My Teacher Told Me o plan my independent project around the Galilee Cemetery survey. From his work I knew that issues of race and class were largely ignored in the classroom, especially in the context of American history. I thought that the lived experiences of low income or non white
30 students would not align with the ideal meritocracy Loewen said was espoused by American history textbooks. Consequently, I feared that this disconnect would encourage non white or working class students to become less interested in history b ecause they could, rightfully, come to view it as irrelevant to their lives. By teaching about the forces of race and class within the context of the Galilee Cemetery, however, I the present. Additionally, by allowing students to contribute to the project and help conduct the survey I wanted them to feel confident in their ability to contribute to meaningful, positive ventures within their communities. I thought that learning ab out class dynamics would be especially relevant to Book High students because their communities are within Sarasota County. A great amount of median family income was $ This per capita income was the sixty ninth highest in the United States. Although Sarasota is home to such wealth, it also has a relatively high rate of poverty. In 2000, es lived in poverty while 19.4% of families with a single, female householder had poverty status (U.S. Bureau of the Census 2000). These poverty rates, however, have risen dramatically in the past ten years. From 2007 to 2009, the percentage of people li ving under the poverty line in Sarasota rose from 9.2% to 13.7%; this 50% increase is more than what any other similarly sized city in the United States experienced (Barry 2011). Because lower class and non white Sarasotans can witness
31 such disparities in income in their own county, they are more likely to understand the importance of class in shaping historical and present day communities. But when having high school students participate in the survey became impractical, I turned to creating teaching mate rials about the cemetery and Sarasota race relations for fourth graders at the suggestion of Professor Baram. I created worksheets about the history of Galilee and about how archaeology could be used to study and alleviate the problems taking place at the cemetery. With the help of another student I also made suggestions for local teachers on how they could introduce their students to Galilee Cemetery through field trips. I wanted to make sure, however, that my instructional materials would align with wh at students were already learning. I became curious about how topics such as race relations, segregation, racism, and class were taught in public schools. I wanted to know if I needed to start from the ground up when making my materials or if I could assu me that students possessed some previous knowledge on these subjects. For instance, did I need to define racism? If so, what would be an age appropriate definition? To answer these questions, I started researching Florida public school social studies a nd history curricula. I wanted to find out what textbooks specific schools used, so that I could customize my materials to fit within the local curricula. I examined the websites of the Florida Department of Education, the Sarasota School Board, and indi vidual schools but found little about curriculum content and nothing on what textbooks were used in particular classrooms. I called public schools in an attempt to ask
32 principals about curriculum content and textbook use, but I never got past the secretar ies who directed me back to the websites I had already searched. In the end, I discussed curriculum content with Bernadette Bennet, the Social Studies Program Specialist for Sarasota County Schools. She told me the focuses of the social studies curricula for each grade: fourth graders learn Florida history; fifth graders learn early American history, starting with European explorers; eighth graders also learn early American history, ending with the Civil War; and eleventh graders learn about modern United States history from the Civil War onward. It followed that the topics I was most interested in early twentieth century race relations and class dynamics were likely only covered in eleventh grade. I decided, then, to focus on American history as it w as taught at the high school level. As far as finding out which specific textbooks were used, however, Bennet was as helpful as the secretaries I had called and the websites I had referenced. The wide spread unwillingness to disclose the titles of textb ooks used in Sarasota likely stemmed from a controversy over the portrayal of Islam in world history textbooks that erupted in the spring of 2010. One local conservative, Dr. Richard Swier, filed a complaint with the Sarasota School Board asking that Worl d History: Patterns of Interaction no longer be used in the classroom. He believed that it positively portrayed Islam while negatively portraying Christianity, Judaism, Western civilization, and capitalism. The book, however, is still being used the Sc hool Board voted to keep it in instance shows that textbook content can be a political issue and that textbook adoption,
33 or the decision to use certain textbooks in certain states or districts, is often surrounded by controversy. With no other ideas on how to find out what specific books were purchased by Sarasota County, I decided to turn to the Florida Department of Education. The Florida Department of Education is respon sible for approving all textbooks used in Florida public which is updated annually in January. The 2010 list included eight textbooks intended for used in standard lev el high school American history courses. This could lead one to assume that any given school board had eight different options from which to choose when adopting a textbook for use within its schools. In reality, however, the catalogue of approved materi als included four books, each of which was available in two versions one that attempted to teach American history from colonial times to present and another that took on the slightly smaller herculean task of teaching American history since Reconstructio n. I choose to study one of the latter books because I thought they would more closely reflect the Sarasota high school American history curriculum, which focuses on the post Civil War period and more modern history. Specifically, I selected The American Republic Since 1877 as the focus of my analysis. This textbook was originally published in 2003 but was then updated in 2005. It was co written by six authors five of whom have Ph.D.s while the sixth (and only one specifically cited in the catalogue of state adopted instructional material) is National Geographic.
34 My selection of The American Republic Since 1877 was also influenced by my desire to go beyond the research of James Loewen which was recounted in the second edition of Lies My Teacher Told M e analysis of 14 high school American history textbooks, and it will be described in depth in Chapter 3. I was interested in examining a book which Loewen had not included in this research. Of the eight Florida approved textbooks, The American Republic Since 1877 was the only one that met this requirement. Or so I thought. Upon reading a description of The American Republic Since 1877 I discovered that it was merely an altered version of The American V ision another textbook also published by Glencoe/McGraw instructional material. The American Vision means that more or less all of the textbook review. It is odd, however, that The American Republic Since 1877 would be an altered version of The American Vision since there is another textbook (not adopted in Florida) more obviously based on The American Vision called The American Vision: Modern Times Both The American Vision: Modern Times and The American Republic Since 1877 then, are adaptations of The American Vision that emphasis more recent history. The covers of all three books are adorned with Joyce Appleby, Alan Brinkley, Albert S. Broussard, James M. McPherson, Donald A. Ritchie, and National Geographic.
35 Fieldnote Evidence, or Methodology Above I have detailed the beginnings of this thesis and how I came t o read The American Republic Since 1877 received a copy of the textbook. The following, then, are my fieldnotes or a description of how I approached my research. As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, I was at first overwhelmed by the textbook I chose to analyze. Reading the book from front to back seemed more daunting than anything else, so I tried to approach the book in pieces. My work on the Galilee Cemetery instructional materials taught me the difficulty of defining words such as racism and race, so I started in the glossary to see how this specific book approached those issues. I was initially p leased to see that racism and feminism were defined, although after I finished reading the book I would think that racism was mentioned far too late. Racism was indirectly discussed in several places, and in the index under racism many sections where refe renced that described racism but did not openly call acts of discrimination racism. In Chapter 24 the term was finally defined in a section which described how the civil rights legislation had not been able to eradicate racism. I also looked for definiti ons of discrimination, prejudice, class, socioeconomic status, wealth, sexism, minority, and race; but I did not find any. Originally, I was interested in whether equal coverage was given female or non white historical figures. One way I approached this issue was by examining one of the 20
36 persons highlighted in this feature throughout the text. I found that 17 of the 42 profiles highlighted females and 20 featur ed whites or recent European immigrants. Eventually I realized, however, that the only holistic way of analyzing the text was to systematically read it in its entirety. I started with Unit 1 on page 8 and read through until page 966, where the supplementa l information ends and the glossaries and index begins. While reading, I kept organized notes. Since I was most interested in issues of race, class, and gender, I had separate places in my notes to record information related to these topics. I also had a more general section for information that I thought was interesting or relevant. For almost everything in my notes, I recorded the page number from which the information had come. I also kept headnotes, where I logged general trends that I saw and ques tions that I had. I drew from these notes as well as the textbook itself when I analyzed the presentation of race, class, and gender in The American Republic Since 1877 in Chapter 4. Conclusion My examination of race, class, and gender within a state a pproved textbook is the foundation of my larger argument for the national need to adopt multicultural, inclusive curricula for high school American history and all other K 12 public school courses. Inclusive histories are needed in the classroom to ensure that students can both become engaged with the instructional material and learn the skills necessary to be productive and active participants in a global world. In Chapter 2, I lay the foundations for my argument by outlining the cultural ecology model o f John Ogbu, which theorized on the dynamic
37 in order to better account for individual student experience by drawing on Kevin Michael In Chapter 3 I review the works of James W. Loewen and George Sefa Dei et al. to show scholarly support for the correlation between curriculum content and minority student disengagement. In Chapter 4 I move on to analyze the contents of The American Re public Since 1877 representation of race, class, and gender in order to make conclusions on how students from different backgrounds may relate to the text. To conclude I evaluate three possible ways to improve the inclusivity of both high school American history curricula and all K 12 educational programs in Florida and across the United States.
38 Chapter Two Community, Societal, and Personal Forces: The Dynamics of Differential Achievement Introduction John U. Ogbu, a Nigerian American anthropologist, is a prominent contributor to the discourse on the white minority achievement gap in the United States. For 35 years he researched and published on the differential academic success of African Americans and sought explanations for contribution to anthropology is his cultural ecological model. This theory connects societal and school discrimination with community forces (such as theories for success and normative attitudes, behavi ors, and values) in order to explain the unequal success of differences and individual agency. I will outline the cultural ecological model below along with its anth Looking Criticism: Critiques and Enhancements for the Next Generation of the Cultural suggestions for problematizing the cultural ecology model so that it became more useful to present textbook content a nd grounding for my conclusions on how instruction material can
39 has been part of anthropo logical discourse since the 1930s. During that decade, the anthropologist Julian Steward began conducting innovative research studying the relationship between culture and environment. Steward believed that other popular models, such as the cultural hist orical explanations favored by Franz Boas, ignored the large role that environment played in the development of culture. He argued that culture developed in order to solve problems posed by the environment. Because the available solutions to these everyda y problems, such as how to procure food, depended on the surrounding environment it followed that societies living in similar environments could develop similar solutions even without contact (Moore 2004:193 201). Steward believed that similarities among cultures who occupied similar natural landscapes in different parts of the world pointed to the importance of environment in the development of culture. culture and environment mor e than other models of the early twentieth century. Steward, however, meant much more than nature and natural forces when he discussed social and natural context of various natural and social forces influenced culture (Steward 2006:100, 101). When ecology model and his
40 notion that social environment matters as much as natural environment would become minority achievement gap. Ecological ecological model, or CEM. He developed CEM because he thought many of the other theories designed to explain the achievement gap lacked sensitivity to cultural differences. Specifically, he saw the other models as ethnocentric because they took white, middle class child rearing techniques to be the standard. Researchers using these models would identif y skills that led to school success in certain groups, such as white, middle class children, and then seek out the equivalents to these skills in lower achievement groups, such as African Americans. When it was found that parents in under performing group s were not teaching skills conducive to the academic success of their children, it was assumed that parenting techniques were the cause of low academic success. Consequentially, programs were set up to teach African American, working but these programs did not work (Ogbu 1981:413 416). Why? For Ogbu (1981) the programs did not succeed because they failed to recognize that white, middle class child rearing techniques were not universal, nor were they the goal to which non white or working class groups aspired. Indeed, child rearing techniques vary greatly between different groups and for good reason. These differences
41 arise in part because the goal of child rearing is to teach children the skills the y need in order to grow up into socially, economically, and politically successful adults. What constitutes a successful adult, however, is determined by the community in which one lives (1981:422). Communities, according to Ogbu (1981), decide what kin ds of success are considered desirable and what character traits are needed to obtain those kinds of success. The community as a whole then adopts a set of child rearing techniques that can teach etencies can also be understood as a form of cultural capital, or a non financial social resource. Once a child has mastered these competencies, or acquired the necessary cultural capital, they have the ability to be a successful adult in the eyes of their community. Communities, along with understandings of success, vary along lines of race and class. What success entails money, power, social credit, self esteem is the same for communities across the United States, but African Americans living in the urban ghetto and white, middle class Americans living in suburbia get these things in very different ways. Consequently, competencies also vary along lines of race and class (1981:423). It would be inaccurate to say that communities naturally contain pe ople of only one race, but socio geographic forces exist that encourage homogenous communities in the United States. influence the child rearing techniques used within that comm unity because they determine the goal of child rearing. This casual relationship is opposite from what many, particularly the ethnocentric research mentioned earlier, assume that child rearing
42 practices determine character and achievement. Instead, a co success and valued competencies determine child rearing techniques (1981). The question of why some minority communities would favor competencies that are not inductive to academic success is an important subject which will be expl ored soon. Almost all community forces vary depending on what group one is studying, and valued competencies are not the only community forces that affect child rearing techniques. Indeed, there are multiple reasons why teaching non white, working class g roups the parenting techniques of middle class whites does not lead to improvement in youth school performance. Intergroup differences in social organization are one such reason. Ogbu (1981) stated that many African American, working class parents were u nable to teach their children using white, middle class methods even when they try not because they do not understand how but because socioeconomic differences limit their ability to do so. Child parent, particularly child mother, relationships are centr al to white, middle class child rearing techniques. Yet African Americans, according to Ogbu, have by necessity a more communal method of child rearing. Fathers are virtually nonexistent in African American homes because of long work hours and mothers ar e frequently out of the house working as well (1981:424). For these reasons, African American children are often looked after by siblings, extended family members, or friends. Such social dynamics limit the type of child rearing techniques that parents are able to adopt (1981:425). Because white, middle class competencies cannot be appropriately applied to minority groups in order to understand their child rearing practices and particular
43 competences, it is necessary to use a cultural ecological model. CEM avoids ethnocentrism by seeking to understand the competencies of any group which it studies in environment of communities depended on the race and class of community m embers, he thought that child rearing techniques could not be discussed cross culturally, or between minority and majority groups, without substantial research. Hence he argued that extensive contextualized studies were needed before one could engage in i ntergroup, comparative research (1981:413 423). and class. But why is it that people that come from different backgrounds need to learn different skill sets to be productive and successful adults? As briefly touched upon before, Ogbu saw child rearing practices and hence the competencies taught to children guardians, or care givers saw people in their own community who they considered successful and then taught their children the skills necessary to reproduce that success. by class and race and likely many other factors, that child rearing techniques and competencies likewise vary (1981). Theories of success vary along these lines because they do not develop in isolation. They are inherently related to the larger society i n which a group or community lives and to the opportunities that are available to a group within the larger economy. The relationship between perceived economic opportunities and theories of
44 success can shed light on why African American groups might not value schooling as much as their white or immigrant counterparts. A chart depicting the interconnectedness 2.1). As illustrated in Figure 2.1, the effective environmen t directly affects cultural tasks of subsistence which in turn affects social organization, theories of success, and dominant adult categories as well as instrumental competencies. What Ogbu termed the effective environment can also be referred to as soci etal forces. These factors are outside the control of the group or community being studied and include the economic opportunities made available to that group. One of the foundational assumptions of the cultural ecological model is that the economic opp ortunities available to African Americans are different from those available to white Americans. When Ogbu was writing in the late 1970s as well as in the late 1990s, he noted glass ceilings and hiring discrimination that limited the amount of success Afr ican Americans were able to achieve within white dominated domains. Even African Americans with the necessary educational background were less likely than whites to get hired for any and all positions, and if they were hired they were less likely to get p romoted simply due to racial discrimination. African Americans could go to school and graduate alongside their white peers, but that did not mean that they had the same chances of finding employment (Ogbu and Simons 1998:157). It followed that African Am ericans were likely to benefit less from an education than white Americans because of societal discrimination.
45 Figure 2.1 ecological model of childrearing (1981: 422)
46 In this way, societal discrimination affected and continues to affect the cultural tasks, or ways of earning a living, available to African s Americans. Entry level jobs are much more available than management or higher paying positions. Especially during economic downturns, earning a living on the street or as part of the underground economy can be more accessible than entry level positions Ogbu argued that because education offered fewer opportunities to African Americans, it became less valued in African American communities (1981). Voluntary and Involuntary Minorities Ogbu (1981) acknowledged the importance of social context and des cribed how varying social contexts affected the cultures of different minority groups. So far (Ogbu and Simons 1998:165, 166; Ogbu 1978:23). African Americans not including recent immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean, but referring to descendents of enslaved Africans forcibly brought to America are involuntary minorities because they did not make the choice to live in America (Ogbu and Simons 1998). They are caste minorities because they are seen by the dominant social group (whites) as inferior. Ogbu said that sirable roles on the basis of their individual training and abilities. The least desirable roles they are forced to play are generally used to demonstrate that they are naturally suited for their low position in society. Thus their political subordinatio n is reinforced by economic
47 faced by African Americans and the connection of economic, societal, and political discrimination. The prejudice encountered by many immigrant, or voluntary, minorities is and was the same as that faced by caste minorities, yet according to Ogbu these groups react very differently. The differences in these reactions underlie the differing academic success of voluntary and involuntary minorities. Vo luntary minorities include immigrants from around the world who have made the choice, either this generation or in previous generations, to live in America. Ogbu thought that these immigrants are usually motivated by a desire to achieve a higher status in the United States than they had in their homeland (1981) 1 In the U.S., however, immigrants suffer from the same discrimination that afflicts involuntary minorities. This w ages), relational discrimination (such as social and residential segregation), and (158). Yet what distinguishes minority groups from one other particularly voluntary and involuntary minorities Many voluntary minorities, Ogbu argued, adap t to the classroom setting and learn the white, middle class competencies which are valued in school. By accepting and acquiring these skills, immigrant students are able to assimilate and succeed in school 1 Foster (2008) noted that Ogbu did not mention the many immigrants who are only able to immigrate to the United States because of the privileged statuses they enjoyed in their homeland.
48 because school success is dependent on a student middle class standards. The acceptance of values and behaviors different from those competencies and theories of success are often no longer useful in the United States. Immigrant students, understanding that their previous frame of reference no longer applies in their new country, believe that they need to develop new skills in order to succeed academically and, later on, professionall y. their opportunities. These voluntary minorities see school as a necessary step for achieving social mobility, or at the very least a job. They choose to attain success i n the United States and, consequently, do what they can to succeed academically. Immigrant students and their parents tend to approach school very pragmatically. They do not blame teachers for low performance, they do not question the curriculum, and the y see learning the material presented in school as necessary for economic success (Ogbu and Simons 1998:176, 177). For these reasons, voluntary minorities usually accept the white, middle class standards because they see this acceptance to be in their bes t interests. So why do African American students not do the same? If it is true that African Americans come into the school system lacking the competencies which promotes academic achievement, what prevents them from learning new skills in the classroom such as the voluntary minority students do? For one, African American students are equipped with theories of success that, while at odds with the competencies valued at school, can still provide them with an income. Unlike the competencies of immigrants,
49 which are much less useful in the United States than in their homeland, African American competencies are useful. Some examples of African American competencies playing, intera theories of success developed as alternatives to white theories of success; the two have a f orced to have alternative theories of success because societal discrimination tried to prevent them from being successful in the eyes of white Americans and hence in the domains of white Americans. Another central difference between the collective soluti ons of African Americans and voluntary immigrants is their varying responses to equal discrimination. Because immigrants see education as something that can help them attain success, they do not see the discrimination that they must fight in school and in the larger American society as think that discrimination is temporary and may be the result of their "foreigner status" or because they do not speak English or do not spea immigrants believe that once they have learned English or mastered American culture they will no long face discrimination. Ogbu and Simons did, however, acknowledge other immigrant responses to discrimination in Ameri ca. Some, they said, were unhappy with the unequal treatment they received, while others did not aspire to equality with whites. Instead, they simply were pleased that their status in the United States was higher than it was in their homeland (1998:170).
50 Yet, unlike immigrants, African Americans are well aware that structural barriers have existed for centuries to limit their success. Consequentially, they do not have as much faith in the school system or the meritocracy that it supposedly represents. While immigrants see education as something that can help them attain success, many African Americans look at the lack of equity in American education today and only see a system, imbedded with racism, which continues to deny minority students equal oppor tunities. Many African Americans understand that an education will not benefit them as it would benefit white Americans because, even with school credentials, they will be discriminated against in the job market. As a result, disillusioned African Ameri cans are looking out for their own interest when they maintain the competencies taught to them since infancy. They may not value skills that lead to academic success, but they value skills that have helped older members of their community earn a living an d that can contribute to their own success as adults. Americans and white Americans, Ogbu argued have different values, different roles in rearing techniques, and different competencies. These differences arose because African American culture developed in opposition to white America n culture. Therefore, African American culture can only be understood when it is seen in opposition to white culture (1981:416, 417). variables such as class. For instance, not all white Americans have the same values and
51 not all African Americans have the same values because of class differences and other variations within the two groups. To summarize, Ogbu stated that one reason African American students perform worse, as a w hole, in school when compared with white students is because they benefit less from an education (1981:426). One reason they perform worse than immigrant students is because they are more aware of the structural barriers that limit their success. Many ar gue that the first step to closing the white minority achievement gap is better education or, as mentioned earlier, better child rearing techniques. Ogbu, however, argued that the first step to closing the achievement gap was eliminating discrimination in opened up the array of cultural tasks available to African Americans, the native theories of success and valued competencies of African American communities would change as w ell (1981:426). I want to briefly explore the formations of community. Communities, as discussed by Ogbu, are seen as racially homogenous. Although this is not always the case, it is interesting that people with similar backgrounds sometimes come together to form homogenous communities, The fact that all African Americans in the United States face racial discrimination in their everyday lives may provide some insight. One of the problem of African Americans, but as Ogbu said it is also a problem faced by al l
52 minorities. Other minority groups, however, may experience discrimination differently than African Americans. Hence, African American communities may be founded in common experiences, common identities, and/or a need for common solutions that people of other races do not share. That is not to say, however, that problems are best tackled by racially homogenous groups. All Americans need to step out of their own lived experiences and try to better understand and appreciate the lives of others if they wa nt to build a better future and a more anti racist society for themselves as well as their fellow countrymen. Looking CEM Looking Criticism: Critiques and Enhancements for the Next Generation o f the Cultural as the conclusion of Minority Status, Oppositional Culture, and Schooling This book, work. In its 653 pages, it provi ded space both for Ogbu to recapitulate his theories on the white the final chapter in Minority Status, Oppositional Culture, and Schooling acknowledged the weaknesses o s five prominent failings. He explained these failings, as they appear in
53 how his n problems (Foster 2008:581). These include the rigidity of involuntary and voluntary minority categorie s, the overwhelming occupation of the model with minority failure of enough regard fo r individual agency nor can it properly account for change. The five main shortcomings set out by Foster address some of these issues. come out of his application of the mode l and not the theory itself. Hence, most of the analysis of contemporary data was very narrow. Fourt 2008:581). All of these problems are
54 the model. It is this last failing that, when addressed, makes CEM useful for this thesis. Foster argued that Ogbu, especially given his training as an anthropologist, should have employed a more complex understanding of culture in CEM. As it was, Ogbu 586). He did not acknowledge the dynamic interaction that occurs among school forces, community forces, and individuals (2008:588, 589). He did not see identity particularly as it relates to voluntary a nd involuntary minorities as fluid. Ogbu also ignored the fact that normative behaviors, values, and attitudes change over the time and the process by which such change occurs. Culture is dynamic and agency driven and should be seen as such within any modern anthropological theory. (2008:587). Culture, then, is not something that exists outside of people. Without individual agents, culture is nothing. As such, it is important to understand that culture does not only influence people. People also infl uence culture. This idea has serious implications for CEM. Ogbu said that children are taught certain valued competencies by their parents. These competencies, according to Ogbu, are what the parent/community sees as skills necessary for economic and soc ial survival. American society, however, has been changing rapidly over the last several decades. The skills needed to be a successful adult
55 when one is young are not the same skills one needs once one has reached maturity. Hence, valued competencies an d all of the community forces which they represent can acknowledge and explain change in community forces over time in order to be useful in the future. Likewise, community and societal forces are not the only factors that influence child rearing techniques. Parental personalities also need to be taken into account. as community membe rs but also as individuals, is representative of his larger failure to acknowledge individual agency anywhere in his cultural ecological model. For instance, parents may have different theories of success than other community members because of their live d experiences or backgrounds. Parents living in the same community may give priority to different competencies and their children may not consequently be taught the same skill set. It would be incorrect, then, to assume that all children and all parents in one community have the same valued competencies. Competencies, and indeed culture, are personal and subject to the actions and choices of individual. They are not concrete but contested. Similarly, Foster described culture as a site of struggle. He q uoted Michael M. J. something concrete that has evolved over time and can be handed do wn, unchanged, through the generations. Culture, as a site of struggle, is always being contested and
56 altered. It is, by definition, malleable. If an understanding that recognizes the important of change over time and individual agency is applied to CEM the models becomes more useful for present day anthropological research. I argue, then, for a theory that considers that acknowledges the dynamic natures of these f orces. his conceptions of identity as strict and unchanging. If culture is always changing and is, in part, the foundation of identity, it follows that identity itself is also flu id. Foster argued that while the voluntary/involuntary minority dichotomy, like that of school/community forces, is helpful in analyzing data it is also important to see the intersection of the two categories. Not all people can be easily categorized as an involuntary or a voluntary minority and some identify as one and then the other over the course of their lives (2008:581, 587). To be better able to see exceptions to the rule, it would help researchers to see dualities such as the categories of volunt ary and involuntary minorities as ideals and to acknowledge that there is grey space in between the two extremes. useful for analyzing helpful because he put forth the idea that minority students initially lack the skills necessary to succeed in school, where white, middle class valu es are considered the standard. The competencies which students bring with them to school are important in an
57 interpretations of textbooks. Many textbooks with their largel y unchallenged preoccupation with and alliance to people in positions of power assume that their readers are coming from a white, middle class background. As such, the textbooks emphasize the values and the history of the white middle class. These valu es and the presented history which is influenced by them can ignore the real world experiences of non whites, the working class, and women. Consequently, non white, working class, and female students may become less engaged when they do not see themselves or their values accurately represented in the curriculum. white, working class, and female students can be placed within a single trajectory. For instance, some African America ns both now and in the past have been driven to excel in academics because they are motivated by a desire to prove their own equality and worth in white dominated fields. Alexander Crummel was one such African American who mastered Greek syntax in the mid 1800s because this skill was espoused by some white Americans as the only way for those of African descent to prove their full humanity (Gates 1994:21, 22). Students are not simply affected by textbooks and curriculum content. Just because a student is a part of a minority group does not mean that they are automatically disengaged with history. Instead, they interact with a required textbook and the history it presents and choose how they are affected by it. Their social context influences their respon one to better understand these complex and layered interactions because it allows one to
58 see the interplay between culture and personal agency. Arguments founded on this model can consequ of community and social forces. In this thesis, I will draw from Foster and an understanding of culture as dynamic and agency driven. While some generalizations will be made, it will always be with the understanding that not all students fit one mold, or even multiple molds. Social context or race, class, and gender can help one understand how curriculum content affects students but, even when considered together, these three vari ables do not determine understandings of the world, and they should be understood as such. In trying to draw conclusions about how students react to textbooks and how textbooks affect student learning I do not wish to categorize or predict the responses of all students. Instead I seek to understand general trends and connections between curriculum content and student disengagement. These trends will then help illumina te possibilities for improving the presentation of history in the classroom so that all students are equally encouraged to succeed in school and beyond. To elucidate the correlation between instructional materials and student engagement, I will now look t owards two qualitative research projects conducted by sociologists that treat these topics. My overview of these projects will provide academic background and scholarly support for my own analysis of The American Republic Since 1877 in Chapter 4.
59 Chapter Three Curriculum Content and Student Disengagement: Some Academic Background Introduction This thesis draws on the works of James W. Loewen and George J. Sefa Dei at al. in order to support the claim that students are negatively affected by the content of their textbooks and history lessons when that content is exclusive instead of inclusive. I will Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong and the 1997 book tical by George J. Sefa Dei, Josephine Mazzuca, Elizabeth McIsaac, and Jasmin Zine. I will begin with that he saw within American history textbooks. I will then describe the ethnographic work done in inner city Toronto by Dei et al. and examine the connections they made between curriculum and black student disengagement. To end, I will look to the resear ch of Dei at looking cultural ecological model in action. What Do History Textbooks Get Wrong? Or, Why Does Everyone Hate History? Over the past forty years, many within academia have examined and questioned the cont ent of American history textbooks. These studies have resulted in works such as America Revised: History Textbooks in the Twentieth Century Looking at History: A Review of Major U.S. History Textbooks (1986), Schoolbook Nation: Conflicts over American History
60 Textbooks from the Civil War to the Present (2004). One widely known book on this Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wro ng second edition, which I will be referencing, was released in 2007. For his book, Loewen read and analyzed 14 high school American history textbooks approved for classroom use in the United States. According to his own nationalism, and plain misinformation, weighing in at an average of 888 pages and Lies My Teacher Told Me was a synthesized evaluation of all 14 texts in which Loewen discussed the problems he saw with textbook content, the causes and effects of these problems, and ways to improve the teaching of the past. Loewen concerned himself more with the text of textbooks th an with the cultural messages transmitted through textbooks. The main problems he identified with textbooks were their tendencies to describe historical figures as one dimensional heroes, to ignore or downplay any form of discrimination in American histor y including but not limited to racism, classism, and sexism; to ignore the existence of social classes in present day domestic policies, to ignore the ways in which the past and present reflect and influence one another, to ignore causality in the past, and to ignore controversy of any sort. Throughout his analysis Loewen treated all the books as one complete sample, although for many topics he also described the best and wor st coverage of the material as it
61 appeared in specific textbooks. In other words, he would occasionally single out one textbook for its particular presentation of the past but in most of the book made little distinction between the 14 textbooks. book was organized by historical topic and covered the textbook presentation of Christopher Columbus, Thanksgiving, Native American history, racism, John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, labor history, the federal government, the Vietnam War, the recent past, and t he War on Terrorism. These topics were in no way inclusive. Loewen acknowledged that his own research, and hence Lies My Teach Told Me presented in high school textbook s (2007:355, 356). His goal, however, was not to detail every aspect of history that was misrepresented by the textbooks he analyzed. Instead he sought, through examples, to show how textbooks and their student readers needed to become more critical of t he authoritative, definitive histories common within modern textbooks. Lies My Teach Told Me was that textbooks focus on white, middle class history. It is white history, for Loewen, because it portrays people wh o fought for African American and Indian subjugation positively. On Woodrow Wilson a hero. Textbooks that present him as a hero are written from a white t is middle their individual abilities and portrays America as a meritocracy instead of discussing how
62 hist ories of non whites and the working class are systematically excluded from textbooks, and he advocated for the adoption of a truly multicultural curriculum that acknowledged how events in the past have resulted in current social inequalities. When textbo oks exclude or undermine the history of minorities, the working class, and women either blatantly or discretely students are affected. According to Loewen, African American, Native American, and Latino students tend to dislike history more than other groups which is significant since history consistently ranks as the least favorite subject of all students (1). It is also important to note that the white minority achievement gap is largest in history (344). There is no inherent reason why minority s tudents would perform worse in history over other academic subjects. The way history American students and they consequently resist learning it (344). In the same vein, gi rls tend to enjoy social studies less than boys (344). This could be a result of an textbooks. The heightened achievement gap between white and non white students as well as t he tendency for female students to dislike social studies more than their male peers are reflections of lower African American and female student engagement with social sciences instructional material. m can help elucidate American students often find textbooks unengaging and even offensive (Faegin 2006:197). Backstage racism occurs when whites reserve racist comments for when they are alone with other whites. Somehow, it is more socially
63 acceptable to be racist when members of minority groups are not around. This is the American Indians, African Americans, Latinos, women, and all social cla sses, the book would read differently, just as whites talk differently (and more humanely) in the umed readers as white males. It follows that minority students may not excel in history because they may feel ut the school year, in a thousand image to (344). Working class students, for instance, ar e taught that their family is poor because they lack the personality traits necessary for success. These messages contradict worth and many students consequently become disengaged with history specifically, and sometimes school constantly negotiate their own identity and pride with the classist, racist, and sexist classroom narrative perpetuated by textbooks. While all students are affected by the discrepancies and biases of textbooks, m any students do not consciously notice them. One central argument of Lies My Teach Told Me authoritative tones makes questioning them seem unnatural (8). Loewen sugges ted that
64 students needed to learn how to evaluate texts and find biases within them so that they these critical skills were what students should learn in order to be decent American citizens, not the blind nationalism and unwavering acceptance of the federal government that textbooks taught as foundations to citizenship. My main focus here is on stud ents from underrepresented groups, but they are not the only ones affected by an exclusive history. All students are negatively impacted by both the lack of inclusive histories within textbook narratives and the authoritative tones of these narratives. O it lacked controversy. Instead of discussing uncertainties in the past or various perspectives on historical events, textbooks usually choose one position and present it as fact. Consequen tly, textbooks become authorities on details which are debated within academia. One relevant anthropological example is the peopling of the Americas. According to Loewen, the majority of textbooks simply chose one hypothesis of how the first Americans arr ived and presents it as fact. Only one of the textbooks acknowledged that there was not one definitive explanation (96). These timelines that these hypotheses offer students vary, but the general idea does not. All of the textbooks mention dropping ocea n levels and the resulting exposure of the Bering land bridge (97). Such specifics of how America became populated, however, have been heavily contested within anthropology for decades.
65 sets sail in hazardous academic seas, beset on every side by passionate emotions and contradictory years, Clovis Indians were presumed to be the first Americans. Their sites, the earliest of which are now dated between 13,500 to 13,350 years ago, were thought to be the first human settlements in the Americas (85). Recently, however, older sites have come to light; Monte Verde, an archaeological site in Chile, has been dated between 14,050 to though the dates of these two settlements are close to the e stimated age of the earliest Clovis settlements, it is important to note their location. Monte Verde, specifically, is over 8,000 miles from Alaska. It may have taken thousands of years for early Americans to inhabit Chile if they were walking from the B ering land bridge, but it is also possible that the early Americans arrived by other means. The date of the first settlement, then, is not the only debate centered on the peopling of the Americas. There have also been questions over the origins of early A mericans. Many anthropologists have spent years researching these issues. Some, such as physical anthropologist Christy Turner, have compared ancient and modern teeth from Asia and the Americas to conclude that Native Americans descended from the norther n Chinese (72). Others contend that the Ainu, who are native to Japan, may be related to some Native Americans populations (Tokunaga 2001:1001). Additionally, there are
66 for one, claims that the large scale extinction of megafauna in North and South America was caused by the first human inhabitants and not by climate change, as is commonly accepted (Martin 2005:165, 166). To summarize, there is anything but a lack of c ontention when it comes to early Americans. Yet textbooks seem to overlook these multifaceted, intriguing debates. By presenting students with different scholarly arguments and asking them to evaluate the validity of each, curriculum developers or teache rs could take an opportunity to stress higher order thinking skills. Textbooks, however, focus on more mundane tasks when they merely present students with a date and ask them later to recall it on a test. Students miss out when textbooks focus on rote m emorization both because they are not challenged to think for themselves and because they are not encouraged to engage with the material. There are also more far reaching effects of ignoring the debate surrounding early Americans. The Bering Strait theory depicts Native Americans as passive participants people who were not looking to explore new land, but who just happened to stumble upon it. By focusing on this theory and overlooking others, textbook authors miss an opportunity to discuss Native Americ an creativity. Illustrations of Native Americans as 97). Such statements do not only so ignore Native American creativity; they openly assert that it does not exist. The ramifications of these messages, conveyed through history textbooks, are great. Native American children see
6 7 their heritage devalued and obscured while all students are discouraged from seeing Native Americans as fully human or as early contributors to American society. By ignoring uncertainties as well as discrimination in the past or present, textbooks present history as static, predeter mined, and progressive. Because history is taught as static and one dimensional, students are not taught the skills necessary for grappling with differences of opinion and differences of perspective. What is good for one person or group has consequences for others, but this point is rarely made in textbooks. Take for example the exploration of America by Europeans. Columbus is often lauded as the discoverer of America. Before his first voyage across the Atlantic, however, there had already been European settlers (not to mention Native Americans) in North America. The Norse, for one, had settled in Greenland by 1000 AD. They did not have prolonged contact with the Inuit, but the Norse and the Inuit did trade with one another. The iron tools of the Nors e spread along extensive Inuit trade routes and became an important part of the regional technology (Fagan 2005:202). because the state of Europe had changed since the time of the N orse expeditions. European Christianity, new military technology, new social technology, new en 2007:36, 37). According to Loewen, these factors are overlooked by textbooks because they reflect badly on people of European descent the intended audience of textbooks
68 are they including? And what else are they excluding? Overall, the textbooks surveyed by Loewen include more fiction about Columbus than fact. His origins, the size of his expedition, and how he was received after his voyage are often exaggerated to make him seem more heroic and sympathetic to readers (48 50). His interactions with Native Americans are downplayed for the same reasons. Only one textbook mentioned the massive Native American deaths that resulted from the demographic collapse (51). Contrary to the history represented in textbooks, Columbus had prolonged contact with Native Americans and was also personally responsible for ill treating Native American. H e forcibly took 10 25 Native Americans with him on his first life Columbus has dep orted approximately 5,000 Native Americans as slaves, set up a tribute system that punished Native Americans who did not participate by cutting off their hands, and started the encomienda system of forced labor. The last two achievements of Columbus cause Native Americans (56, 57). While his journey may have advanced the interest of the wealth driven Spanish royal court, it was Native Americans who suffered tragically at the hands of European domination an d disease. Students need to be given a fuller picture of what happened when Europeans landed in America so that they can better understand how these events shaped the modern
69 world. For instance, it is hard to comprehend present day Native American activ ism if one does not know about Native American subjugation in the past. Through their exclusion of such controversies in the past, textbooks also fail to teach students how to understand controversies in the modern world (257). Leaving out the more grues ome Columbus Day had become a contested holiday. Overlooking the factors that contributed to European domination of the New World causes other problems as well. If studen ts do not learn what led to European domination of native populations then they may come to see this domination as natural or the result of inherent ability differences (38). Such however, is not the case. To assume that Native Americans suffered at the hands of Europeans because they were flawed or inferior is disrespectful to both present day Native Americans and their ancestors. Similarly, it is inhumane to suppose that the great loss of Native American life was simply the price that needed to be paid for progress. When textbooks imply these views, Events are viewed differently by different people and it is important that students be able to identity and under stand multiple perspectives. Textbooks do not teach these skills when they present one point of view as fact and ignore all others. Because history is presented as progressive and predetermined in textbooks, students are also not taught the ways in which they can effect change today. When
70 such as global warming and discrimination a re being taken care of for them (295). In that black Americans have no legitimate claim on our attention today because the problem of race relations has surely been ame through textbooks are understood by African American students who likely encounter racism on a daily basis as inaccurate, but they also make white students less perceptive to inequalities in both school and the assumptions that modern America offers equal opportunities to women and the working class. Female and working class students may understand the inaccuracy of such claims, or they may start to internalize them and believe that their lower social status is simply a reflection of their inherently lower aptitude. Even if students are not members of an underrepresented group, they are still hurt by presentations of history as static, predetermined, and progr essive. History is made less interesting and hence less engaging for everyone when controversies and uncertainties are downplayed and rote memorization is favored. When politics in the past are presented as straightforward, current debates become incompr ehensible (Loewen 2007:352, 353; Little 2007:45). When racism in the past is erased, it becomes even harder for students to recognize its presence today (Loewen 2007:171). On the other hand inclusive histories, complete with the controversies of the pas t, allow students to better understand the complex world around them. The social world in which Americans live today was shaped in large part by the history of the United Sates. e racism,
71 historic context and can hence be best understood in conjunction with that context. All American students would benefit, then, from a history that acknowledged con troversy and prejudice because it would enable them to become more perceptive and informed citizens. It is important to note that all of the aforementioned problems are with standard, exclusive textbook histories. These problems are not necessarily mirror ed in the classroom or in the lesson plan. Teachers have the ability to act as an intermediary between the history presented in textbooks and the history presented in the classroom and their agency must be taken into account. Just as students may respond differently when presented with identical texts, so too may teachers. Loewen stated that 25 30% of teachers actively try to teach a history that is more inclusive or critical than that presented incongruities and omissions of textbooks clear to students and may encourage their students to critically analyze the material presented in authoritative texts. The remaining 70 presentation of history even math (3). In other words, more class time is spent reading the textbook or answering questions out of the book in American history than in any other subject. Teachers spend less time, it follows, on lecturing, class discussions, movies, presentations, or other supplemental materials not associated with the textbook. Yet history should to be one subject where multipl e views are inherent in the material. Almost all classrooms contain students with
72 varying social locations and backgrounds and these differences allow students to interpret the same historical occurrences in many ways. When students are left only with th e voice of their textbook, however, they are not given the opportunity to appreciate and understand the views of others. Indeed, by using an American history textbook as the backbone to a class teachers can heighten the already authoritative tone taken on by many authors. The textbook can then replace the teacher as the figurehead of the classroom and consequently the text becomes even harder for students to challenge. The increased focus on the textbook in history classes as compared to other subjects be comes more odd when one realizes the abundance of outside material available to teachers and curriculum developers. Primary and secondary historical documents are easy to obtain with modern technology for almost any subject matter (3). Some well known do cuments are included in many textbooks, but students would benefit from more than just the snippets that are provided for them. Even the most famous The first was reproduced in full in only four of the textbooks Loewen surveyed, even (183). The second w as quoted in all of the textbooks, but was only complete in a Mississippi and Alabama state governments (239). Students would surely get a more holistic understanding of histo ry if they were provided with more complete primary and secondary documents more often. Such
73 sources would have the benefit of being written by identifiable people, with motives and unique perspectives. Students, through analyzing sources and their write rs, would subjective experience. They surely are not getting that experience by reading textbooks supposedly written from unbiased, omniscient vantage point. The lack of uncertainty and debate within textbooks not only affects students ability to relate the past and present it also affects how they relate to the text itself. In Lies My Teacher Told Me James W. Loewen described the relationship between American hi story textbook content and student disengagement. He claimed that the avoidance of controversy in textbooks made students less able to understand modern dismissal of past a nd present discrimination was offensive to minority students and day prejudice and inequality. All students, as a result, become less engaged in history. Yet high school s tudents from underrepresented groups racial minorities, the working class, and females are disproportionately affected. Consequently, they are less likely to achieve academic success in the social sciences than in any other subject. This disparity ca n be attributed to exclusive curriculum content and may be abated by the adoption of a more inclusive, multicultural curriculum. As a conclusion to this thesis, I will explore a successful program that follows an inclusive curriculum as well as make recom
74 can be improved. For now, however, I will move on to another recent study of the connection between curriculum content and minority student engagement. Students Speak: An Et hnographic Study of the Disengagement Process In the late 1970s, John U. Ogbu began writing about the experiences of minorities in American public schools. In 1997 George J. Sefa Dei, Josephine Mazzuca, Elizabeth McIsaac, and Jasmin Zine advanced the dis cussion with their publication of Disengagement from School This book was the final product of a year long ethnographic research project. In it, Dei et al. employed an approach similar to the one advanced by Foster that was discussed in Chapter 2. Because it is important to look at a theoretical approach not only in isolation but also in its application, I will outline the research conducted by Dei at al. and the relat ionship they documented between curriculum content and student engagement. Then I will describe as well as evaluate the eclectic approach they used to interpret their data. The work of Dei et al. provides an example of how to apply a forward looking cult ural ecological model, and, along with presented in Chapter 4. supported by a large body of research, that in Canada and the United States, Black students constitute a disproportionate number of those who leave school prematurely.
75 This book is an important s tudy of the problem in the Ontario public school system in 2 The goal of the researchers was to find out why black students more than others withdraw from school by asking students and others involved in the education process about th eir personal experiences and perceptions of systematic discrimination. Through this section I will refer to many of students and community by Dei et al. included many recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean in addition to people of African descent who had lived in Canada for generations. Before Dei et al. could begin their study, they had to approach several school boards within Toronto to request permission to conduct the research. Once they gained access to some of the local high schools the researchers worked with local coordinators at each school, whose job it was to identify students interesting in being interviewed and to schedule meetings between student s and interviewers. In the four main high schools at which the study was conducted, forty black students were interviewed at two and twenty were interviewed at the others. There were also four focus groups, each comprising ten black students, at each sch ool. Additionally 41 teachers or administrators, 55 black parents, guardians, or community workers; 59 non black students, and 21 drop outs were interviewed. These students, drop outs, parents, and teachers were selected to represent a diversity of socio economic backgrounds, family structures, academic success levels and/or experience levels as well as a balance of genders (31 37). 2 Although the research was conducted in Canada, I believe it is still useful in helping to understand educational equity in the United St ates. Canada has a history of racial discrimination similar to the United States and many of the factors analyzed in are relevant for the United States school system.
76 Interviews, however, were not the only source of information for the research team. Surveys were used to collect basic data on students and ethnographic work was done at the four primary high schools studied. These ethnographies consisted of classroom observations, researchers attending school sponsored functions such as graduation, and occasional PTA and school staff meeting s (34, 35, 40). All of the method employed by Dei et al. in their research was chosen with the aim of getting a holistic understanding of the experiences of black students in public Toronto high schools. The ethnographic work and many interviews conseque ntly took on great importance as they allowed the researchers to construct understandings of black student lived experiences from a variety of perspectives. In addition to using ethnographic methods to learn about student experiences, Dei et al. provided excerpts from student interviews in the main text. By allowing students to represent themselves, Dei et al. humanized the problem of black student disengagement. By describing the contrast between black student experiences and white student experiences, they offered insight into why black students are often blamed for their lack of academic success. By providing the words of progressive teachers who saw discrimination within the school system, they showed that some people in positions of authority are aw are of the hardships faced by black students. Dei et al. also demonstrated that while some teachers were aware of inequities in the curriculum, they were overwhelmed by the requirements of personally creating a more inclusive, multicultural curriculum.
77 In their research, Dei et al. tried to see the black white achievement gap holistically. Like Ogbu, they analyzed societal, school, and community forces that lead to unequal academic achievement. Most of was dedicated to analyzin g various factors in the decision to drop out such as streaming 3 perceptions of authority and respect, perceptions of the usefulness of an education, teacher expectations, the curriculum, identity, representation, Eurocentrism in the classroom, the influe nce of emphasized the importance of seeing dropping out not as an individual decision but rather as an end to the disengagement process. They argue that disengagem ent, or the distancing of oneself from school, could be caused by all of the factors listed above and prevented by almost as many. Because dropping out is more common for black students, it follows that disengagement (which often pushes students to drop o ut) is also more common (1997: vii, 16). Hence, more pronounced disengagement among black students, when compared to white students, contributes to the unequal academic achievement of minorities for you cannot succeed academically when you are no longer in school. The factors that cause disengagement, then, also play a part in the differential academic success of non white students. Students who are less interested in school perform worse, so it is important to look at factors that lead to student dise ngagement in order to develop programs and curricula that are more conducive to the success of all students. Curriculum content is one such factor, examined by Dei et al., which can lead to student disengagement, lower academic achievement, or dropping ou t. I will focus on the 3 Streaming, alternatively known as tracking, is when students are separated into different classes based on level classes, honors level classes, and Advanced Placement classes.
78 examination of curriculum content with because the topic is students about the curriculum were centered on percept ions of the curriculum as useless and irrelevant (vii). On the issues of relevance and why some black students drop out, e way my teacher teaches history, he own teachers neglecting black history in the c lassroom and stipulated that other black students had experienced similar occurrences. When black students are not taught their own history, he stipulated, they may become disinterested in the material because it is not important to them. In other words, the students are not learning anything because what racial identities were not validated in the classroom, they began to value school less and some eventually dropped identification of curriculum content as a contributing factor to disengagement. Parents also reported the lack of black history taught in schools as a problem (74). The need for black history in the classroom can become more pronounced when students are informed about t heir own heritage and are able to notice its glaring absence. One female drop sided, especially when it came
79 down to history. There was never a mention of any Black people that have contributed to no mention of the Africans that helped build a railroad, that ran away from the South and came up to Nova Scotia and helped work and build Canada too ngs of invisibility and can make them question their status as members of their country (138). When the contributions of their ancestors are ignored, black students can begin to feel less capable themselves. Conversely, students who have a developed sens e of racial pride can become frustrated with the exclusive history taught in school and hence become disengaged because the curriculum challenges their pride and self esteem. Canadian history was not the only subject, however, where black contributions to society were ignored. In world history there were also omissions and inaccurate portrayals of blacks. According to one female community worker who had been a student in the Canadian school system, black historical figures from the classical period were m isrepresented as Greek or Roman in history lessons. Altering history in this way sends the message to black students that their race had never contributed to society in a meaningful way. Consequently black students may feel as if they do not have somethi ng to offer the world (143, 144). Misconstruing the past not only affects how students understand history; it also affects how they understand the world and their place in it. Without a multicultural curriculum that acknowledges the contributions of all people and the potential of all students, black students will continue to be taught a history that denies their intellect and creativity. Such a history may hurt their self confidence, or it may only lessen their desire to succeed in an institution that d enies their abilities and the abilities of
80 their ancestors. Alternately, some black students are pushed to succeed in spite of these misrepresentations because they want to be seen as an example of black success (248). Students, however, should not have to succeed in spite of an exclusive curriculum that misconstrues history. Teaching black history in an additive way does not solve the problems caused by exclusive histories. Instead, it only emphasizes that black histories exist at the margins of tradi the shallowness of black history curricula. She expressed a desire, shared by man y other black students, to learn more about her own history and ancestry in a meaningful way. Yet many teachers are either unwilling or unable to address racial issues in the classroom affected (82). They neither are unable to discuss their own lived experiences as a racial minority in the classroom nor are they encouraged to succeed, in school or the world outside of it (81, 82). Placing emphasis on alternative histor ies during one month is a common additive approach in Canada as well as in the United States, and both countries celebrate Black done it this month, we can forget about it for
81 acknowledged here that Black History Mont h does not make for an inclusive curriculum. In fact, it only stresses the lack of black history present in the traditional curriculum and likely also the textbooks used in class. This response as well as the others mentioned general need for greater ethno (87). Not only do black students need their histories to be taught and their identities validated in school all students have that need. Schools can work to meet these needs by developing and implementing multicultural history curricula that avoid Eurocentrism. Yet gender as well as race is an important factor that cannot be ignored. Students communicated to Dei et al. not only on the racial gaps they saw in the classroom but also on the lac k of black women mentioned. One female student lamented over the omission mostly White males and we had the odd White female but we never ever had Black women be men discussed in class but was most affected by the complete neglect of black women writers. By her menti on of Angela Davis she showed that she knew of radical black feminist authors who could have been positively portrayed in the classroom. Such knowledge likely makes the failings of the curriculum more poignant. Although I have focused on the how curricu lum content affects black student disengagement, many other school and community factors were examined by Dei et al.
82 The methodology used in was designed to be as holistic as possible. Dei et al. advocated for an approach that acknowledged social differences and exceptions to the rule. They were unable to find any one approach already present within the academic discourse that considered all of the important social variables. The influence of race, they found, was particularly absent from many prominent theories. This approach acknowledged that race, class, and gender alone could not fully describe individuals or explain subjective experi ences. However, when this trivariate was understood as a whole in conjunction with community and school forces a clearer al ecology model and other education theories, but they did not stop there. The goal of Dei et al. was not to make an overarching theory like the cultural ecology model. On the contrary, they saw dropping essentializing (1997:225). They understood that everyone is not the same and that one theoretical approach could never be devised to explain the engagement or disengagement, success or failure, of e very student. Instead, they argued that while it was essential to use theory to understand experience it was also necessary to use experience in order to better see the failings of theory. In other words, if data were collected that did not fit the theor etical model in use a researcher should try to find other ways to explain the data and not throw it out. In this way, theoretical approaches could be malleable and dynamic.
83 Personal agency, change, and exceptions to the rule would be highlighted instead of ignored. This thesis combines the changes that Dei et al. and Kevin Foster suggested to interactions between school, social, and community forces that affect student aca demic performance while also understanding the influences of personal differences and individual agency. Race, class, and gender are all important social variables but they do draw from this dynamic approach in the next chapter as I examine the contents of one state approved textbook, The American Republic Since 1887 representation of race, class, and gender.
84 Chapter Four The Ameri can Republic Since 1877 Representation of Race, Class, and Gender Introduction The following analysis of The American Republic Since 1877 rests on an understanding of the textbook as an archaeological artifact. As such it is important to comment on the materiality of the textbook, including its weight, dimensions, appearance, and layout. To start, The American Republic Since 1877 like most other high school textbooks is gargantuan. It measures over 11 inches long almost 9 inches across, and 1.5 inches high while weighing in at a hefty 5.4 pounds. Yet the number of pages and amount of information within the textbook is even more startling. One may be s 1020 pages long but that would be incorrect. Like many other textbooks, The American Republic tries to hide its girth by not numbering all of its pages (Loewen 2007: 4). In fact, there are a full 68 the 1020 page count. Additionally, none of those 1088 pages are full text except for the glossary, index, and a list of primary source quotes in the opening pages. All other pages include at least one picture, graph, and/or supplemental box with text and pictures. These supplemental boxes are categorized into 20 various themes and labeled, collectively according to ch feature is catalogued at the with a list of all the supplemental boxes
85 throughout the text that fall under each particular theme. After the inventory of features come more lists a list of all primary source q uotes throughout the book and a list of all charts and graphs. Even the list of charts and graphs is enhanced with charts and graphs, though they likely made no sense to students when removed from their textual context. After registering its supplemental information for 14 pages, The American Republic Since 1877 continues with a five page explanation of how to read the textbook. that you can understand how this textbook layout, then, is not intuitive and the authors are aware of that fact. This excerpt teaches readers that the textbook is divided into units, chapters, and sections and describes the important of pictures, graph meant to prepare the student for reading about American history does the textbook At first I was overwhelmed by the amount o f information in The American Republic Since 1877 With over 1000 pages and many ways to approach analyzing the text, I was not sure how to start. In Chapter 1, I outlined the methodology of my analysis
86 and how I approached the task of reading a high sch ool American history textbook. While at first I resisted reading the text cover to cover, I eventually started at the Table of 4 As I read I kept organized, topical note s. The following pages come from both those notes and a rereading of certain sections of the textbook. I have divided my analysis in three separate sections: race, class, and gender. In iscussion of that theme. For each topic that I choose, there were many other interesting alternatives. In order to have a comprehensible and well defined analysis, however, I felt I had to limit my discussion to three topics, studied in depth, instead of many half developed subjects. actors in American history before moving on to the coverage of labor history and then orkplace. Race: African Americans as Leaders in The Abolitionist and the Civil Rights Movements For my analysis of race within The American Republic Since 1877 I could have examined the treatment of Mexican migrant farm workers, Chinese immigrants, Nativ e Americans from the pre Columbian period to the present, various European immigrant groups, changing understandings of whiteness, white identify formation over time, slavery, shifting race relations, or discrimination in the past and present. Instead, I decided to investigate the depiction of leaders within the abolitionist and Civil Rights 4 In Chapter 3 I mentioned that Loewen, in his revie w of American history textbooks, noticed a lack of primary sources. The American Republic Since 1877 went against this trend by providing 30 pages of primary materials following the main text.
87 general treatment of racial issues. I also chose to focus on African Americ ans within this discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 of this thesis. During the abolitionist and Civil Rights Movements, African Americans organized and fought for their own political, social, and economic rights. Yet African Americans are not always given as much credit as they are due when it comes to being leaders of their own causes. In The American Republic Since 1877 primacy was given to the white supports of these mo on African Americans within the abolitionist movement. Then, I will analysis the passage of civil rights legislation. emphasized the efforts of whites to end slavery over the efforts of African Americans to do the same. The text acknowledged that there had been opposition to slavery b efore 1830s, but in this subsection it did not cite any efforts by African Americans to end slavery before that decade. Instead it discussed the belief, held by Baptists and Quakers during the late 1700s, that slavery was a sin as well as the attempt, end orsed by President James Monroe and Chief Justice John Marshall, to relocate thousands of African textbook stated, Opposition to slavery in the United States had actually begun earlier as early as the Revolutionary War era. Quakers and Baptists in the
88 North and South agreed not to enslave people, viewing the practice as a sin that corrupted both slaveholder and slave. In Virginia in 1789, the easure be taken to [wipe out] this One notable antislavery effort in the early 1800s was the formation of the American Colonization Society (ACS) in December 1816. This group, supported by such prominent figures as President Ja mes Monroe and Chief Justice John Marshall, encouraged African Americans to resettle in Africa. The privately funded ACS chartered ships and helped relocate 1.5 million enslaved persons i n the United States in 1820. Many of them, already two or three generations removed from Africa, strongly objected to the idea of resettlement (199). Although President James Monroe and Chief Justice John Marshall were mentioned here as supporters of ACS they were not involved in the founding of that organization. It is interesting to note that ACS was mostly composed of Quakers and slaveholders, who supported relocation because they were afraid of freed African Americans causing slave uprisings (Friend s Committee on National Legislation 2004). The tendency to cite the efforts of prominent governmental officials, particularly the president, in the fight for equal rights of both women, African Americans, and others was common throughout the text. Th is preference for crediting top down reforms instead of grassroots movements sends the message to students that the federal government will lessen social inequalities without pressure from the public. Elsewhere the textbook briefly discussed the resista nce of enslaved Africans (Appleby 2006:68). The subsection on early oppo sition to slavery within the context of the abolitionist movement would have been improved by a reference to these defiant acts
89 by the enslaved because such acts represented daily and continual opposition to slavery by those most affected by it and hence m ost committed to abolitionism. the trend to favor white historical figures over African American leaders continued. The first abolitionist described by name is William Lloyd Garrison. Two paragraphs and an eight lined quote were dedicated to him. Four more males and four more females, presumably white but all without an identified race, were then mentioned by name for their contributions to the movement. These abolitionists were applauded for their morals The role of African Americans was only addressed later under the heading African American abolition activists. Fredrick Douglass and Sojourner Turner were each described in one paragraph, the two of which made up the entire subsection: Not surprisingl y, free African Americans took a prominent role in the abolitionist movement. The most famous was Frederick Douglass who had escaped from slavery in Maryland. A brilliant thinker and an electrifying speaker, Douglass drew many African Americans to the an tislavery movement. He published his own antislavery newspaper, the North Star and wrote an autobiography that sold 4,500 copies after its publication in 1845. Another important African American abolitionist was Sojourner Truth. She gained freedom in 18 27 when New York freed all remaining enslaved persons in the state. In the 1840s her eloquent and deeply religious antislavery speeches attracted large crowds (200). The contributions of Douglass and Truth were described clearly in these passages. Both
90 in a two text. According to this supplemental text, Douglass [immigrated] to England to escape the danger of re enslavement in reaction to his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass On his 1845 trip across the Atlantic, Douglass was not permitted c abin accommodations. After a lecture during the crossing, some passengers threatened to throw him overboard (211). These sentences described the discrimination that Douglass faced after the publication of his life story and how the autobiography endan gered both his freedom and his life. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass would have been especially since the main text mentioned the h ardships encountered by white supporters of abolitionism. As is, however, the section on Douglass and Truth inadequately covered the involvement of African Americans within the abolitionist movement because it was additive. In an additive history, an un dominant history in a way that is exclusive and emphasizes its place at the margins. The section on Douglass and Truth was not closely aligned with the main subsection on abolition. If the subsection complications or confusions would be created within the rest of the text. Outside of this subsection there was no mention of African American contributions to the abolitionist movement. Oddly enough there was not even a reference to African Americans except in the context of the relocation plan devised by President Monroe and the Chief Justice.
91 Yet African Americans could form the forefront of this discussion since they were the most invested in ab olitionism and heavily involved in the movement itself. It was for the rights of enslaved Africans that white and African American abolitionists alike were fighting. Abolitionis American history is whiteness, and whiteness therefore goes without saying (Trouillot 1995:81). Being African American, however, is not the norm especially when it comes to peo ple in positions of leadership. Due to these norms, it was necessary to discuss Douglass and Turner in a separate section that openly acknowledged their racial identities while the race of other abolitionists such as Garrison went unmentioned. Similar pro blems arose in the chapters on the Civil Rights Movement. When civil rights legislation was first mentioned in the textbook, it appeared to come out of the federal government with little or no acknowledgment of public pressures and social mobilization to pass such legislation. Later on, however, the fight by African Americans and their white supporters for equal civil rights was described. In many ways this description was balanced, but it still had shortcomings which are important to explore. I will no w describe these two different explanations of the Civil Rights Movement from The American Republic Since 1877 The Civil Rights Movement was first introduced to students in the opening pages
92 goals, including working toward the passage of major civil rights legislation and emphasis was placed grassroots efforts aimed at increasing awareness of civil rights issues. For instance, the text went on to describe how the Supreme Court increased the political power of African and Hispanics for their own political rights. Presiden way. While his desire to be remembered positively by posterity was mentioned, his personal drive to help others was highlighted above all else. He was credited with many personal ac city reforms and, improved tho Johnson as an instigator and a leader who made sure that his reforms became reality. In man office just blended in with his other social reforms that the textbook described in Chapter de
93 paragraph of this subsection was one of the only two paragraphs that described the Civil Rights Movement in the entire chapter. It stated, After his election, Johnson be gan working with Congress to create the period, major goals of the Civil Rights Movement were achieved with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which barred discrimination of many kinds, and the Voting Act of 1965, which ensured African Here the Civil Rights Movement and its supporters white or African American were reference to why such legislation was passed and without any mention of the struggles and hardships that people, particularly African Americans, endured to ensure their passage. The second paragraph that mentioned the Civil Rights Movement painted a si milar picture: The civil rights movement had brought the grievances of African Americans to the forefront, reminding many that greater equality of opportunity had yet to be realized. Eco goal. The economy was strong, and many believed it would remain so indefinitely. There was no reason, therefore, that poverty could not be significantly reduced especially when some had so much and others had so little (73 5). a major supporter of civil rights and worked hard to ensure that the related legislation passed through Congress, so this presentation was balanced and accur ate.
94 direct object. This grammatical structure ignored the agency of African Americans in the past. While African Americans were responsible for creating the Civil Rights Movement and giving it its momentum, the opposite was described here. The Civil Rights Movement appeared to act on its own accord upon passive African Americans who were un able to make their voices heard themselves. It is interesting that in this paragraph the authors choose to portray the economy as an active political participant, but not African Americans. It seems logical that people would have more influence in shaping national policy than the economy, which in itself is a rather abstract concept. In fact, the idea that the economy could support or oppose presidential programs is far fetched. African Americans and not the national economy could have been described act ively in this paragraph and hence given agency. African Americans were, however, portrayed as leaders in the next chapter. Americans in the Civil Rights Movement. From the openin g pages, it stated that This chapter, in focusing on African American as political leaders, corrected some of the inaccuracies and omissions of the previous chapter. The work of the NAACP was described as well as some of the influential court
95 mentioned as well: After World War II, the NAACP continued to challenge segregation in the courts. From 1939 to and director of its Legal Defense was the brilliant African American attorney Thurgood Marshall. After World War II, Marshall focused his efforts on ending segregation in public schools. In 1954 the Supreme Court decided t o combine several cases and issue a general ruling on segregation in schools. One of the cases involved a young African American girl named Linda Brown, who was denied admission to her neighborhood school in Topeka, Kansas, because of her race. She was t old to attend an all black school across town. With the help of the NAACP, her parents then sued the Topeka school board (748). Numerous grassroots efforts initiated by African Americans to end segregation and discrimination were also discussed, such as the Congress of Racial Equality, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Freedom Riders, the March on Washington, the Selma Marc h, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panthers (748, 749, 754, 757, 764, 765). Descriptions of violent reactions against civil rights activists were included, too. These ranged from detailings of police brutality to desegregation riots, murder of civil rights activists by public officials, and angry responses to sit ins. These vivid renderings of the struggles of civil rights activists help students understand the hardships faced by both Africans Americans and their white supporters during the mid 1900s Photos, along with the descriptions of the violence aimed at civil rights activists, conveyed to students the dedication of activists to the cause of civil rights. There were pictures of a white female student yelling at a black female student as she e ntered a previously all white high
96 school, of a black student being grabbed from behind by a white man as he sits in at a segregated lunch counter, of a racially mixed group of Freedom Riders watching their bus burn after it is set on fire by angry locals, and most strikingly a photograph of three young blacks being sprayed by a high pressure hose during a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama (751, 754, 755, 757). Some, black and white, did lose their lives as part of the fight and that fact was not trivialized in The American Republic Since 1877 Instead, it was contextualized within the work of African American leaders to gain political, social, and economic freedoms for themselves and their communities. While African American leaders were giv en their due credit within this chapter, ability to work with Congress was praised and he was given the credit he deserved for orchestrating the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: To the surprise of the civil rights movement, Johnson committed rights bill, through Congress. Unlike Kennedy, Johnson was very familiar with how Congress operated, hav ing served there for many years. He knew how to build public support, how to put pressure on members of Congress, and how to use the rules and procedures to get what he wanted. 59). It was this delicate balance of acknowledgment between both governmental officials and community organizers that was present in Chapter 24 but lacking in many other places within the text. Too often, the government was applauded with reforms that r eally gained momentum among the American public, who then successful pressured the government
97 as in Chapter 23, there was no reason that the lead role of African Ame ricans in the passage of civil rights legislation should not also have been acknowledged in Chapter 23. There are better ways of approach history than dividing it into a history of governmental initiatives and another of social initiatives, especially wh en it comes to large scale, multifaceted reforms such as those that came out of the Civil Rights Movement. One integrated history that dealt with both politics and social movements could have more adequately covered this important movement. By dividing i ts coverage of the Civil Rights Movement, The American Republic Since 1877 skewed its portrayal of ending segregation and protecting the rights of African Americans, but African Americans themselves should always be portrayed as the most prominent leaders in the struggle for their own rights. By initially privileging the role of President Johnson in the Civil Rights Movement but then later acknowledging the central le adership of African Americans, the textbook provided two distinct explanations for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Hopefully student readers would take more away from the second. The first explanation as well as the previously explored descr iption of the abolitionist movement denied the agency of African Americans in the past. Consequently, they send the message to students that the federal government protects the rights of minorities and fights for social equality without pressure from the public. The second explanation, however, proved the others wrong. It shows students that one has to work alongside others and fight hard to effect positive change. It also stressed legacy even though
98 people may not live to see the change for which the y strive, they can still inspire others and, in this way, live beyond their years. Class: Labor History and Changing Wages As illustrated in the previous section, not all of the historical commentaries provided within The American Republic Since 1877 are in sync. The same holds true for fighting for positive change while at other times their concerns were trivialized. In the analysis of The American Republic Since 1877 representation of class, I will examine these contradictions in the retelling of labor history. There were, again, many additional historical periods, portrayals of lowe r class colonial period rebellions, explanations of how class dynamics shaped the foundations of American government, focus on success stories of social mobility, and depictions of middle class life and values as universal ideals. I have chosen, however, to concentrate on organized labor history because this related issues, such as the tendency to provide conflicting narratives within different sections but not to discuss the tensions between these narratives. covered the years between the War of 1812 and the beginning of the Civil War. Here, the text provided explanations for the quick industriali zation of the United States, briefly discussed typical working conditions in factories, and introduced labor unions. Francis
99 Lowell and the mill factories which he opened were mentioned as was the fact that Francis Lowell opened mills in Massachusetts that not only spun cotton into thread but also produced cloth. His company even built a town that housed thousands of workers, mostly women. By 1840 Readers were also told that The growing cities also provided expanded work opportunities for women. Those from the poorer classes typically found jobs in factories or took positions as domestic labo rers. Many middle class women gravitated to publishing, an industry that was growing quickly to meet the rising demands for reading materials. America had always claimed a high literacy rate, and by 1840 over 75 percent of the total population could read and over 90 percent of the white population could read. Leading editors and writers included Sarah Buell Hale and Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney (181). was useful that employment, it would have been more helpful if the text had mentioned that these differences in employment were the result of discrimination. Women from the middle class did not just ones that publishing companies at the times were interested in hiring. The text also missed an excellent opportunity to discuss racial education inequity when it provided the two different literacy statistics. on unions. Here worker demographics, normal working conditions, and unions were described:
100 Factory workers numbered roughly 1.3 million by 1 860. They included many women and children, who would accept lower wages than men. Not even men were well paid, however, and factory workers typically toiled for 12 or more drudgery filled hours a day. Hoping to gain higher wages or shorter workdays, som e workers began to organize in labor unions groups of workers who press for better working conditions and member benefits. During the late 1820s and early 1830s, about 300,000 men and women belonged to these organizations. Most of the organizations wer e local and focused on a single trade, such as printing or shoemaking. Early labor unions had little power. Most employers refused to bargain with them, and the courts often saw them as unlawful conspiracies that limited free enterprise. Unions did make some gains, however. In 1840 President Martin Van Buren workday for federal employees to 10 hours. In 1843 the case of Commonwealth v. Hunt the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that uni on strikes, or work stoppages were legal. Still, decades would pass before organized labor achieved real influence (181). The opening paragraph provided the first indication that working conditions during the Industrial Revolution were harsh. Earlier in t he chapter only the invention of pioneering business men such as Lowell and Eli Whitney had been mentioned not the experiences of the lower class men, women, and children who worked in factories. In the second paragraph unions were introduced. The defin ition of unions provided by the text positively portrayed worker organization because it centralized and validated the concerns of the lower class. The primary goal of unions was to better the lives of workers and those intentions are given primacy here. The numbers of workers in unions was skewed, however, because the two statistics given in the text were from two different time periods 30 years apart. The text stated that there were 1.3 million workers in 1860 and 300,000 organized workers in the early 1830s. Since many more workers
101 likely joined unions between 1830 and 1860, these statistics may make it appear as though fewer workers were unionized. Students would gain a better sense of the percentage of workers in unions if the two statistics in the text were from the same decade. The subsection in Chapter 5 on unions, described above, mostly presented early were supported by the description of long workdays and low wages. The text also openly acknowledged that the first unions had minimal influence over business owners and that they were viewed unfavorably by the courts (181). This subsection could have benefited by including primary historical documents writt en by factory workers about their experiences, but as is it equitably treated early labor history by both validating the concerns of unions and including the perspectives of business owners and the courts. Later discussions on labor history within The Amer ican Republic Since 1877 however, were less neutral and more at odds with one another. In Chapter 9, page section devoted to unions. This section opened with a description of an accident at Avondale Mine, where in 1869 the lack of a second entrance to the mines led to the deaths of 179 workers. The section went on further illustrate unsafe working conditions and employer worker relationships under the Life for workers in industrial America was difficult. As machines replaced skilled labor, work became monotonous. Workers had to perform highly specific repetitive tasks and could take little pride in their work. In addition, working conditions were often unhealthy and dan gerous. Workers breathed in lint, dust, and toxic fumes. Heavy machines lacking safety devices caused a high number of injuries.
102 Despite the difficult working conditions, industrialism brought about a dramatic rise in the standard of living. While only a few entrepreneurs became rich, real wages earned by the average worker rose between 1860 and 1890. Despite the rise in the standard of living, the uneven division of income between the wealthy and the working class caused resentment among workers. In 190 0 the average industrial worker made only 22¢ per hour and worked 59 hours per week. At the same time, an economic phenomena of the late 1800s made relations between workers and employers even more difficult. Between 1865 and 1897, the United States exper ienced deflation, or a rise in the value of money. Throughout the late 1800s, deflation caused prices to companies cut wages regularly in the late 1800s, prices fell even faster, so that wages were actually still going up in buying power. Workers, however, believed that companies wanted to pay them less money for the same work. Eventually, many workers decided that the only way to improve their working conditions was to organize unions. With a union, they could bargain collectively and negotiate higher wages and better working conditions (326, 327). The start of this passage described how unsafe working conditions and monotonous tasks made the lives of American workers more arduous in th e late nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the text then stated that industrialization had improved the American the rise could easily be confusing to students since it came after a section that described increasing while their work environments were getting more hazardous and their jobs more repetitive and mindless. The openin g paragraph on worsening work conditions seemed to support the need for unions, but the later paragraphs on improving standards of living and rising real wages suggested that workers did not need unions but instead needed to learn the
103 differences between w ages and buying power. More specifically, the above quote depicted workers as unknowledgeable and overlooked the struggles of many working class Americans who had to fight each day to support their families. In stating that did not grasp the differences between wages and buying power. It seems more likely, however, that workers would h ave understood the shifting worth of their pay as well as seen a legitimate need for increased wages. Evidence for such a need was described in the next chapter. have had valid r easons to organize for higher wages in the second half of the nineteenth In New York [at the turn of the twentieth century], three out of four residents squ eezed into tenements, dark and crowded multi family of $490, many families sent their young children to work in factories or rented precious space to a boarder. Zalmen Yoffeh, a jour nalist, lived in a New York tenement as a child. He recalled: growing family. She took in boarders. Sometimes this helped; at other times it added to the burden of living. Boarders were ofte n out of work and penniless; how could one turn a hungry man out? She made all our clothes. She walked blocks to reach a place where meat was a penny cheaper, where bread was a half cent less. She collected boxes and old The fact that three quarters of New Yorkers lived in cramped quarters such as tenements suggests that the lower class (in that city at least) did not experience a substantial
104 increase in their standard of living. If they did, then their current qualit y of life was still in need of improvement because of the health risks the lower class not only encountered common place and shared by many other New Yorkers of the time w ho struggled to make ends meet and support their families. The urban poor, whose numbers swelled with the rise of industrialization and increasing immigration, experienced numerous problems in addition to crowded living spaces, the need to take on boarders and the search for inexpensive food. Under the City living posed threats such as crime, violence, fire, disease, and pollution, especially for the working poor like Yoffeh and his family. The rapid growth of c ities only made these problems worse. Minor criminals, such as pickpockets, swindlers, and thieves, thrived in crowded urban living condition. Major crimes multiplied as well. From 1800 to 1900, the murder rate jumped sharply from 25 per million people to more than 100 per million people. In comparison, the murder rate in 1999 was 57 per million people. Native born Americans often blamed immigrants for the increase in crime and violence. In reality, the crime rate for immigrants was not significantly h Disease and pollution posed even bigger threats. Improper sewage disposal contaminated city drinking water and triggered epidemics of typhoid fever and cholera. Though flush toilets and sewer systems existed in the 18 70s, pollution remained a severe problem as horse waste was left in the streets, smoke belched from chimneys, and soot and ash accumulated from coal and wood fired (344). According to this excerpt, the urban working class also had to navigate the urban th reats of crime, violence, fire, disease, and pollution. Disease and pollutions, specifically, were large threats because pollution allowed diseases to fester in city centers and outbreaks of typhoid fever and cholera could claim many lives.
105 The textbook in addition to outlining these health threats, also acknowledged that such hazards were more likely to affect the working class than others. It is hard to make t quality of life was getting better. An improved standard of living for workers did not to day s truggle to provide for her family and, at times, needy community members. The struggle to maintain healthy families in polluted, disease ridden cities could be used to Ch summary, unions were portrayed with more bias here than in Chapter 5. The disconne ct between descriptions of horrible urban living conditions and improving standards of living were never addressed. A few pages after discussing New standard of living for many people, enabling them to spend money on entertainment and culture, conf lated all socioeconomic classes and consequently overlooked both the fact that many forms of popular entertainment were enjoyed primarily by the middle and upper classes. In the rest of the subsection, however, attention was paid to class and gender diffe rences. According to the text, saloons were social centers for working males,
106 and amusements parks were popular destinations for working class families and single adults (351). Overall, the depiction of labor history within The American Republic Since 1 877 living improved while many still struggled to buy food and survive despite filthy, ndards did improve during the second half of the nineteenth century, but it is important to clarify that those who benefited most were middle class and upper class Americans. Lower class Americans may have also experienced an increase in their own buying power, but that does not mean that their new real wages were sufficient for supporting their families. Hence, it is important to see the validity of union concerns during this time period. To assume that organized workers did not understand deflation or that their demands for increased pay were unfounded sends the message to students that business owners understand worker circumstances better than workers themselves. It is important, however, for instructional material to stress that people of all classe s are able to understand economic shifts. Textbooks should never align ability or intelligence with socioeconomic class, nor should they ignore the difficulties of the lower class to focus on the prosperity and materialism of the middle and upper class. P reviously I stated that I chose to focus on labor history within my analysis of of class related issues. More specifically, the descriptions of labor history within The American Republic Since 1877
107 narratives are never addressed. It seemed common, partially in issues of socioeconomic class, for the textbook to provide incompatible histories within different chapters or sections. Conflicting narratives often occurred when one section acknowledged class differences or discussed poverty while another assumed that middle class values and lifeways were American universals. Too often, class differences were comp letely overlooked within the textbook and middle class culture was presented as the norm. Earlier in Chapter 3 I argued for including historical controversies within textbooks. Controversies, however, are not the same as conflicting narratives. In pres enting controversies textbooks should fairly present multiple sides of one issue and ask students to develop an educated opinion of what may have happened in the past. Here, however, the textbook took a definitive stance on what happened in history (saying was on the rise) but then later provided contradictory claims in the form of narratives about extreme poverty. Controversies may help students become engaged in history but conflicting narratives only make history more confusing and, hence, inaccessible. Tensions between conflicting narratives should be openly discussed within the text and not overlooked. To conclude, discussions of class within The American Republic Since 1877 are limited and too disjointed to present students with a clear understanding of how class has affected the course of American history from colonial times to the present. Between the examples that I provided from Chapters 5 and 9, there was vi rtually no other mention of class in the three intervening chapters. Yet these chapters titles
108 indicated that there was ample opportunity, if not a need, to discuss the social variable of class within these pages. Class differences are sometimes mentioned by the text but too often descriptions of the middle class are intended to represent all Americans. In the sections on labor history during the late 1800s, union concerns were not presented as valid or well as fact assertions of rising buying power and standards of living were used to discredit s and safer working conditions. These assertions, however, make little sense when compared to personal stories of hardship and general accounts of urban crime, violence, disease, and pollution. The trend to privilege the views of both business owners and governmental officials continued in later sections on labor history, where unions were depicted as violent. Such depictions of history can affect how students understand modern business worker relationships, the role of unions, and the government interven tion in labor disputes. To understand all of these complex issues today, it helps if students have a strong grasp of labor history. By only presenting one side, the textbook missed a chance to provide students with conflicting viewpoints and challenge th em to decide who was most reasonable. By privileging the perspectives of business owners, the textbook missed a chance to portray the lower class as intelligent, insightful, and able to make justified arguments. Both business owners and workers can be re asonable and creative, and as such both of their perspectives should be presented to students. History does not need easy answers, and when easy answers are quickly given interesting conflicts,
109 controversies, and tensions between narratives are overlooked The result may be narratives that are self contradicting. Gender: Improvements in the Workplace Governmental Initiative or Bottom Up Reform? In my analysis of race and class within The American Republic Since 1877 I ors privileged the actions and perspectives of people in power, namely business owners and governmental officials, over initiatives that gained momentum among underrepresented groups such as workers and African Americans. This emphasis on both top down ap proaches and individuals in position of authority also government at the national and state levels as well as American corporations have been historically dominated by men the accomplishments and experiences of many women are ignored when people in positions of power are given primacy. To illustrate this fact, I Women. The Presidential C ommission on the Status of Women was first mentioned in chapter concentrated on the legislation and programs put forward by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson respectively. Already, before the chapter had even begun, it was apparent that presidential actions were going to be given primacy in this part of the textbook. This trend was manifested in a two paragraph subsection on
110 Kennedy also helped women make strides during the 1960s. Although Kennedy never appointed a woman to his cabinet, a number of women worked in prominent posit ions in his administration, including Bureau of the Department of Labor. he created the Presidential Commission on t he Status of Women. The commission called for federal action against gender discrimination and affirmed the right of women to equally paid employment. Kennedy responded by issuing an executive order ending gender discrimination in the federal service, an d in 1963 he signed the Equal Pay Act for Women. The commission also sparked the creation of similar groups on the state level and inspired many women to work together to further their interests (721). In these paragraphs there was no indication that wom en worked for their own rights before Kennedy was president. Like the sections in this chapter on President Johnson President Kennedy without giving any credit to wo work for their own rights. Reference was made to Ester Peterson, but none of her accomplishments or her influence in the creation of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women was included. Women, however, had been fighting for their own rights for decades before Kennedy formed the commission. The suffrage m ovement was described in a page and a
111 social, and economic equality. It is more likely that women in the mid twentieth century would have been inspired by the courageous acts of other female activists than by the creation of a presidential commission. If women were, however, inspired by the creation of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, President Kennedy does not deserve credit for that inspiration. feature that highlights Esther Peterson the women named in the original subsection as an biography of Peterson described her early activism and involvement in the fight for encouraged Kennedy to create a Presidential Commission on the Status of Women to According to this excerpt, Kennedy did not establish it by a high level, female governmental official. Female involvement in the commission was further elucidated in Ch apter 26, page section on the feminist movement and a four ain. One was the mass protest of ordinary women. The second was a government initiative: the
112 Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, established by President Kennedy and ms of women in the workplace and helped create networks of feminist activists, who lobbied y mentioning the protest of women before the presidential commission the text suggested that the actions of ordinary women led to or encouraged the establishment of the commission. The text also acknowledged female involvement in the commission itself whe n it stated that the commission head was Eleanor Roosevelt. By using action verbs passive recipients of new legislation. The section could have been improved by inclu ding r, including them in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a measure originally designed to fight racial t was amended to include discrimination based on sex. Some say that the amendment was included as way to defeat the bill the assumption being that the Senate would never approve of a bill designed to end sexism in the workplace (Gittinger and Fisher 200 4) while others contended that the amendment was added in seriousness (Gold 1981). Either way, this sentence did not acknowledge the efforts of women to bring about employment equality
113 in the United States but instead credited Congress for any advanceme rights that came out of the Civil Rights Act. Yet it was acknowledged previously in the reasonable it assume, then, that these women would have been instrumental in bringing suggested in earnest. In conclusion, the coverage of Presidential Commission on the Status of Women within The American Republic Since 1877 was i nconsistent. At times Kennedy was depicted as the sole driving force behind the creation of the commission. At others, however, the efforts of both high ranking women and regular female citizens were recognized. The treatment of the commission and its r movement would have been enhanced if only the second explanation was provided or if the first explanation had mentioned the influential role of Esther Peterson in the efforts were at first excluded from the main text and only included in a feature almost twenty pages away from the first mention of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. ould not have proposing the amendment to include sex discrimination are unclear and there were assroots
114 Conclusion In Chapter 3 I discussed the work of Dei et al., who found that some black students in Toronto become disengaged f rom school when the social significance of black leaders in the past was not recognized in the curriculum. Similarly, the ways that race, class, and gender are portrayed in American history textbooks can affect how students understand both their own herit age and their place within the classroom. It is important, therefore, that the values and achievements of all social groups are acknowledged within instructional material so that students are able to see their individual backgrounds and perspectives valid ated at school. Such inclusive histories, however, are not the norm. Textbooks, seen as archaeological artifacts and examples of the materiality of education, are representative of the larger social context in which they are produced and consumed. As suc h, they mirror dominant historical discourses. According to Michel Rolph Trouillot, themes of discrimination have always been absent from prominent historical narratives in the United States as well as in most European countries (1995:98). It is also com mon for historical discourses to downplay the agency of lower status groups (Trouillot 1995:103), such as African Americans, the working class, and women. Hence, the history within textbooks and national discourses does not acknowledge neither the struggl es nor the successes of marginalized groups. Consequently, there is a tension that exists between what history books say happened and what actually occurred in the past (1995:106). These tensions can produce negative effects in the classroom when they ar e not openly discussed or analyzed.
115 It is necessary to portray historically marginalized groups as leaders of their own causes even if this trend does not exist with dominant historical narratives. By learning about the struggles of both dominant and un derrepresented groups, students can learn the importance of fighting for their personal beliefs and rights. The American government has not historically increased the rights of marginalized communities without pressure from activist groups or individuals. If the government is always portrayed as innovative, progressive, and interested in fighting for equality then students do not learn their potential role in bringing about social justice. These lessons do not only apply to non white, lower class, or femal e students. All students would be better prepared to take on the roles of democratic participants if they learned a more holistic American history that acknowledged the power and importance of grassroots organization, bottom up reforms, and diverse commun ities. This chapter is a critique of the educational status quo. The American Republic Since 1877 may be just one textbook, but it is representative of larger trends both within the United States public school system. By providing a history that privile ged the actions population. This failure can lead to student disengagement in the short term and, in the long term, adults who do not understand either the historica l foundations of present day inequality or how to fully participate in the American democratic system. The current situation may be bleak, but positive change is possible. There are many ways to provide students with multicultural, holistic histories, an d in the next chapter I will examine some
116 suggestions for improving the current Florida curriculum both in American history and beyond.
117 Chapter Five Developing Multicultural Curricula Introduction Throughout this thesis I have advocated for adoptin g inclusive, multicultural curricula that acknowledge the social contributions of all races, classes, and genders. I began by describing the current state of educational inequity in the United States, where non white and working class students have consis tently underperformed academically. Such educational inequity precluded universal education and remains today. There is debate around the cause of the white ecology model is a useful starting point for a nalyzing the unequal academic success of some minority students. This model attempts to identify the societal and community factors that contribute to the achievement gap, but it falls short in its consideration of change over time or individual agency. culture to create a more textured version of the cultural ecology model. This new cultural ecology model proposed by Foster was similar to the approach employed by George Sefa Dei et al. in their ethnography on black student disengagement in Toronto. By looking at community, societal, and personal forces Dei et al. were able to holistically analyze why black students drop out of secondary school more often than their non black peers. Dei et al. viewed dropping out as the culmination to the disengagement process and identified curriculum content as one factor that contributed to the disengagement of black students. The researc hers argued that when students did not
118 see their values or their ancestors represented within the curriculum, they could view the curriculum as irrelevant and, hence, useless. Such exclusive curricula could challenge r discourage them from continuing on in school. Black students are not the only ones affected by curricula which do not acknowledge the contributions of all races, classes, and genders. In Lies My Teach Told Me James W. Loewen described how many American history textbooks used in public as positive and moral, portray history as progressive, and disregard controversy. Consequently, these textbooks can alienate non w hite or working class students while also making history the most boring subject of all (Loewen 2007:1, 344). Exclusive and monotonous curricula, then, can make all students less engaged with history while also poorly preparing them for the global world i n which they are expected to participate as adults. To better understand how students in the state of Florida may be affected by the content of their courses, I examined instructional material approved in 2010 by the Florida Department of Education for use in public school American history classrooms. I analyzed The American Republic Since 1877 and concentrated on its representation of race, class, and gender. I found that while the textbook included African American, working it often did so in a marginalized manner that privileged governmental initiatives over grassroots movements or leaders from
119 abilities to identify and understand present day discrimination as well as their ability to participate fully in a democratic society. Students also become less capable of recognizing discrimination when their history classes do not acknowledge the historical importance of social variables such as race, class, and gender. It is difficult, for example, to understand the current social ch allenging, then, to study the Galilee cemetery within a curriculum that overlooks the presence of inequality in modern day America. The way that The American Republic Since 1877 recounted history is important not just because of the skills that the text ma y or may not emphasis but also because historical narratives affect how one understands both the past and the present. Consequently, I want to go beyond laying out concerns with current curriculum content in order to evaluate suggestions for improving the educational status quo. Some of the problems with current American history curriculum content could be solved if states and school boards adopted more inclusive curricula that focused on multiculturalism. For guidance on how to construct inclusive hi storical narratives, I will examine similar efforts within anthropology. I will then describe and evaluate three separate ways of making K 12 curricula more inclusive, holistic, and engaging: using supplement materials developed by school districts, focus ing on larger historical trends as they are manifested through particulars (or personal stories), or implementing ethnic studies programs.
120 In evaluating these suggestions, my focus shifts from American history curricula to public school curricula in gene ral. The content of all classes can affect how students interact with and conceptualize the world around them. Hence, all courses could strive to teach students the skills they need to be successful adults who participate in the global world. Additionall y, the instructional materials used in a classroom have societal implications no matter what the grade level or subject matter is. It is important that instructors and administrators be aware of these implications when adopting materials. If only inclusi ve curricula were adopted for history classes, the problems of student engagement and student learning that arise from exclusive curricula would not be solved. Instead, it is necessary to adopt inclusive curricula across the board. Student learning is mu ltifaceted, and changing one aspect of it such as history curricula would not address problems created by the whole. For these reasons, the suggested curricula improvements that I review are not limited to the content of history courses. After evaluating possible curriculum changes, I will conclude by situating curriculum improvements within greater social and educational reforms while returning to the larger problem of unequal academic performance. Anthropologists Studying History Applied anthropologist s and critical archaeologists have concerned themselves with retellings of the past because they understand the meaningful connections between life today and conceptualizations of lives past. Barbara Little and Dean Saitta are two contemporary anthropolog ists who discuss the significance and implications of historical
121 narratives. To better understand how anthropologists approach these topics, I will outline the research of Little and Saitta as well as their contributions to this thesis. Barbara Little is an historical archaeologist who wrote an overview of her field entitled Historical Archaeology: Why the Past Matters (2007). In this work, she laid out to the lar more concrete, Little also laid out nine diverse case studies. These studies ranged from an exploration of Mission San Luis, an Apalachee settlement, to a look at research on the working Project. In all of her case studies, Little made sure to focus on the lived experiences of individuals in the past and to prominently feature the social, economic, and pol itical implications of archaeological research. Throughout Historical Archaeology Little did not leave historical accounts in the past; instead, she investigated how understandings of history interact with and influence the people today. In the opening or, more accurately, how 5). How people understand history, then, affects their understandings of themselves as individuals and the ways in which they connect to courses also have the ability t o shape student attitudes and relationships. As such, it is imperative that these courses present history in a way that helps students positively relate
122 to their peers while preparing them to participate in a diverse and connected world. According to Li ttle, archaeology can help in this endeavor. Little stated that archaeologists can positively influence how both students and the general public understand history. She arg ued that archaeologists can help people think critically about the past and the historical narratives they encounter in everyday life while also teaching them how to synthesize historical details into broader but not simplistic generalizations (144, 14 5). In other words, archaeology can help elucidate historical trends from particulars, or accounts that highlight the lived experiences of individuals. Archaeology, then, has the ability to provide alternative versions of history as well as the ability to teach people how to see misrepresentations or biases in common historical narratives. These ways of approaching history can be useful in the classroom because they encourage to students to evaluate instructional materials for bias while paying attention to both smaller details and the larger picture. Little wrote that part of creating inclusive later on as part of the suggestion two. affect their experiences in and relations hips with the modern world. In her book, she encouraged historical archaeologists to teach people how to critically engage with the
123 past so that they could evaluate the variety of historical narratives which they encounter in day to day life. From Little should strive to foster both critical thinking and understandings of history that are inclusive and complex. Dean Saitta, another archaeologist, has also discussed the importance and influence of h istorical narratives. In The Archaeology of Collective Action (2007), Saitta presented the results of his archaeological excavations in Ludlow, Colorado the site of an infamous coalfield strike and the theoretical foundation of his research. Saitta f act alone but could instead act as one part of a larger whole. In order to understa nd how details. Saitta also offered suggestions for how to craft positive historical narratives. past can be and has been used in different ways by various interest grou ps looking to not exist independently from the social groups who use them. Archaeological whether archaeology is political, but how
124 archaeology is innately political, archaeologists should be r eflexive about their own selectivity and the implications of their conclusions. They should aim to create narratives that are both explanatory and emancipatory. Archaeological narratives, then, need to be founded on both empirical evidence and a concer think of critical archaeology as being an explanatory and emancipatory enterprise: explanatory, in the sense of producing casual knowledge of the past that respects accumulated dat a; emancipatory, in the sense of promoting reflection upon the present in a retelling of facts. It explains, but it also has ramifications. These effects can be l imiting or liberating, embarrassing or joyful, but Saitta urged, above all else, for histories that help increase human freedoms. Saitta put his theory about how archaeology should work to create positive historical narratives into practice as part of hi s research in Ludlow, Colorado. Descriptions of mining towns and labor struggle are marginalized in the western United States, and romantic accounts make up the dominant historical narratives. The Colorado Coalfield War Archaeological Project, however, w orked to push the struggles of the working class into public discourse. The project was able to relate to the working class policy, an invitation for locals to particip ate in the excavations, and spontaneous lectures about the archaeological research (2007:96, 106).
125 Additionally, materials installed as part of the project remain today and act as sided interpretive kiosk at the site that described the history, archaeology, and legacy of the events that transpired 104). These signs were developed in conjunction with local organizations and showed a strong correlation between the Ludlow Massac re and present labor efforts worked to combat the erasure of both labor history an d working class struggles from dominant historical narratives. They also showed how archaeology can influence people today by giving them a richer understanding of their own history and, more (Saitta 2007:106). In these ways, the Colorado Coalfield War Archaeological Project ensured that the archaeology of Ludlow was both explanatory and emancipatory. American history curricula. According to his theory of history as both explanatory and looking as well as concerned about historical precision. In other words, representations of history should be chosen for their ability to both explain past events and effect positive social change today. In Chapter 4, however, I outlined how one textbook privileged the actions of the federal government and minimized the involvement of grassroots movements and African Americ an, working class, or female leaders. Such an account of history does
126 American social status quo where power often falls along lines of race, class, and gender. There a Encouraged by Little and Saitta, I will now outline three improvements to K 12 curricula and evaluate their effectiveness at creating inclusive and emancipatory narratives. Although not all of the improvements I describe will meet this criteria, I hope to end by offering some suggestions for curriculum improvement that could better serve all students in the classroom instead of just those able to identify with the exclusive narrative typical of state approved textbooks. Suggestion #1: Use Supplement Materials Developed by Florida School Districts In the past 10 years, the Florid a Legislature has passed laws which could limit the methods available for improving the inclusivity of public school curricula. To start, I will outline the development of one such piece of legislation Florida Statute 1003.42 before describing one att empt at inclusivity which fits within the expectations of teachers outlined in the statute. After evaluating this attempt I will move on to two other possible ways of improving the current curriculum, both of which do not align with the guidelines present ed within Florida Statute 1003.42. The Florida state government mandated the teaching of certain multicultural subjects in all public schools. Such mandates began in 1994, with the passing of Florida Statute 1003.42. This legislation called for every K 12 student to be taught about the in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an
127 understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes and Education Center 2009). Similar mandates have been both enacted in other states such as California, Illinois, and New Jersey and suggeste d at the national level ( Erekson 2007; New Jersey Department of Education 2010) The same year it was originally introduced, Florida Statute 1003.42 was amended to include a requirement that students cal conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, Program Services Department 2010). Four years later in 19 98 it was agreed that covering mandated. In another four years, the statue was rewritten for a fourth time. The current h efficiently and faithfully, using the books and materials required, following the prescribed courses of study, and employing Department 2010). It seems, then, that teachers are not supposed to go beyond their textbooks and introduce outside materials or information to their students. Yet additional materials would be necessary for students to truly understand either the experience of being a slave or the wide ranging contributio ns of women and Hispanics to modern
128 society not to mention the contributions of all other nationalities and minority groups not specifically named in the statute. One way for teachers to work within the limits of the statute but still provide students wi th more inclusive instructional materials than just those provided within Services Depar tment. These materials provide teachers with information which they can rely to their students on important historical dates relating to multiculturalism. The intent is that teachers will discuss each holiday as it arises and each event as its anniversar y descriptions of Human Rights Month, Chanukah, Pearl Harbor Day Observance, the Program Servic es Department 2010). These basic descriptions include about a paragraph materials. Creating a multicultural curriculum in this way has the benefit of not marginalizing underr epresented histories to a specific time of year. Black history, for example, is not just discussed in February, nor is there one specific Ethnic Studies Week (which is observed on a variety of secondary and higher education campuses in the United States [ Ethnic Studies Week 2010]). That does not mean, however, that using
129 would likely be additi ve. In other words, teaching underrepresented histories with the material provided through this program may only serve to emphasize the marginal place of those histories in the standard curriculum. As such, it would be difficult if not impossible to There are other disadvantages to such a curriculum as well. For one, the small amount of information provided fo suggests that meaningful discussions or student insights are unlikely to come from this supplemental material. Conversely, if teachers were to spend significant time say one class period on each topic pre sented within the supplemental material then the teaching of the primary material, on which instructors are supposed to focus, could be disrupted. Either way, occasionally providing students with small bits of information on or short discussions about mul ticultural history will not give them the true benefits of learning inclusive histories. more about good intentions than positive outcomes. Students may be introduced to multicul tural topics through these materials but it does not seem as if students would become critically engaged with these subjects. Yet critical engagement is necessary because, as Barbara Little (2007) suggested, students should learn how to evaluate and acces s the variety of historical narratives presented to them in the classroom and in
130 his tory. The next section has other suggestions for developing multicultural American history curricula that may not meet the requirements of Florida Statute 1003.42, but I do think that they will better allow students to engage with and critically evaluate t he events books and materials required, a result, the following improvements are better able to incorporate the suggestions of both Little and Saitta. Suggestion #2: Focus on Larger Trends as Manifested through Particulars Most of the problems with current state approved textbooks are caused by their over abundance of information. Textbook writers, publishers, and adopters seem very concerned that any one person or incident will go unmentioned, and as a result textbooks appear to include everything and everyone at the expense of readability and student interest. The result is an array of disjointed dates, facts, f igures, tables, and names that students must remember for the review questions or a chapter test. The emphasis on memorization and over information harms students, who become less able to see the over arching themes and trends in history. To combat this information saturation, American history textbooks and curricula could be reorganized so that they better balance the local with the global and details with trends (Little 2007:10).
131 Instead of resembling a list of unconnected facts, textbooks would better serve students if the focused on particulars. For instance, students could learn about the Civil War by reading about how it affected a handful of families or cities in place of learning a few unconnected details about every battle or political move of th e decade. Breadth would be sacrificed, but depth would be gained. By highlighting people of different nationalities, regions, races, classes, and genders textbooks could show students that many different people contributed to each side of the Civil War i n unique ways. Some fought on the battlefields, some worked in the factories or on the plantations that provided necessary supplies to soldiers, some were pushed into the army against their will, and some opposed the war from the beginning. Emphasizing p ersonal stories would give textbooks ample opportunities to introduce students to primary documents, such as journal entries and letters contemporary to the period being studied. Learning history in this way could humanize the past for students and show t hem the value of different specifics in order to make non essentializing generalizations about society, past and present. Focusing on particulars would also give teacher s an opportunity to highlight local history. Sarasota students, for instance, could learn about the Galilee Cemetery and spatial segregation when they cover early twentieth century race relations and the civil rights movement. Focusing on community histo ry makes the curriculum more relevant to students and it also allows them to see the connections between national historical trends and their own world. Studying local history has the added benefit of providing unique
132 occasions for original research. For instance, students can conduct interviews with older community members to learn about their experiences with historic events such as the Civil Rights Movement. In this way, students gain experience in historical methodology while simultaneously learning about the abundance of historical resources available in their own education and also promote education as praxis, or a process that connects action to critical reflec tion (Freire 1970:62). While focusing on particulars it would be important to show students how each personalized or localized example manifested larger national trends. The intent would roach American history in a way that students would find relatable, engaging, and manageable. Through specifics, students would see the larger pictures that are central to history and not just be presented with a string of facts that do not seem relevant or important. By examining the experiences of a variety of people who lived during a particular time, each student in a class may be able to find at least one historical figure with whom they can relate and recognize that others have met challenges just a s they face obstacles today. Controversies would also be more easily examined if substantial class time was given to each topic covered. It is hard to fully engage students with many historical rs in a nine month school year. With fewer topics to cover, however, there would be more time for students to do independent research and develop their own opinions on contested historical matters.
133 Hence, there would be more opportunities for students to critically engage in the material and to evaluate historical accounts from different perspectives. topics in depth and focused on the stories of individuals instead of try ing to cover all that students learn how to synthesize information and be exposed to historical particulars would be adequately met by this curriculum change. Similarly, it would be much easier to emancipatory abilities when students are engaged with and reflexive about the material they are learning instead of merely absorbing information for a test. Students would likely become more interested with the material because history would seem more relevant and humane to them. Historical figures both well known and obscure would become more real and relatable if students were able to read about the personal experiences of these figures through their own words. Additionally, over arch ing themes and trends would be clearer to students because they would not be muddled by a plethora of unimportant facts, dates, and figures. Using the suggested method, teachers would be just requiring rote memorization. The trend in Florida and the United States to evaluate school, teacher, and student performance on standardized tests, however, is not conducive to this localized method of instruction of curriculum development.
134 Sugge stion #3: Implement Ethnic Studies Programs Ethnic studies programs take a different approach to the teaching of multiculturalism than the strategies described in the previous section. Instead of focusing on a variety of peoples and cultures, these progr ams typically focus on teaching about the histories, cultures, and experiences of a specific group that has historically been marginalized in the United States. Such programs are available on college campuses around the country and come in many forms. Lat ino studies, African American studies, many others as well. Ethnic studies could have a place in primary and secondary education as well as in higher education. The Tucs on Unified School District of Arizona, for one, offers a variety of ethnic studies courses, including separate classes for high school students that focus on Chicanos, Asians, African Americans, or Native Americans (CNN 2010; Zehr 2010). At six Tucson hig h schools some students are also able to take most of their classes within a particular ethnic studies track (Associated Press 2011). For instance, seniors who have signed up for the Chicano Studies program at Tucson High Magnet School would take American government like the rest of their peers, but they would be taught how the government is seen from a Mexican American perspective (Zehr 2010). The programs in Tucson are unique both because they have been developed to meet high school graduation requireme nts and because they are offered to all K 12 students (Santa Cruz 2010). While these and similar programs may not be able to teach students the
135 benefits of multiple points of view, they have had positive effects on student engagement and retention that wi ll be examined momentarily. The Tucson programs are currently at risk of being cut, however, after an Arizona state law was passed in May of 2010 to ban them. This law and the Tucson Unified eased national attention on ethnic studies in public K 12 schools. The law has also divided people on what the intentions and consequences of ethnic studies programs are. The legislation itself t for ethnic studies classes based on their race and, as a result, not all students are being taught equally (Santa Cruz 2010). It seems as if much of the concern over ethnic studies, both nationally and more locally in Arizona, stems from a fear of instr uctional materials that go against the historical narratives typical of textbooks described in Chapter 4. Save Ethnic Studies, a non profit founded by Tucson teachers to fight the new ban, argues that the material used in ethnic studies classrooms does not meet the description of banned subject matter provided in the recent bill. In their eyes, the classes Save Ethnic Studies website, the curricula are intended to be cult urally relevant to the experiences of students
136 seems that these programs are meeting their goals of increasing both the relevance of the curriculum and student engagement. In the United States Hispanic students as a whole are at risk for not graduating high school. Nationally, the drop out rate of Hispanics is over fifty percent (Save Ethnic Studies 2010). Such data is most meaningful in districts such as Tucson, where students are 56% Hispa nic (Associated Press 2011). Recent data indicates, however, that the ethnic studies programs offered in Tucson may be able to increase minority student engagement and hence decrease drop out rates for those who are otherwise at risk for withdrawing. Acc ording to Save Ethnic Studies, the drop out rate from the Tucson ethnic studies programs is only 2.5% a significant drop from the national average for Hispanics. Additionally, students in the program score higher on the state standardized test than thei r peers. One of the greatest successes of the ethnic studies program, however, is the college entrance rate. While only a quarter of graduating Hispanics go on Ethnic Studies 2010). There are some questions about the validity of these statistics, however. Save Ethnic Studies never differentiated between the racial classification of Hispanic and ethnic studies participants. This suggests that all ethnic studies partici pants are Hispanic, but it seems logical that Native American and African American students would also be enrolled in these courses since there are classes designed around the experiences of their
137 ancestors. Additionally, only 1,500 or three percent o f students in the Tucson Unified School District are enrolled in these classes (Santa Cruz 2010). That percentage would be higher if only high school students were considered, but it is still low. It is also possible that enrollment in these classes wh ich seem to be offered primarily at magnet schools is competitive and hence the courses may only be open to academically successful students who are already less at risk for dropping out. These factors may distort the statistics offered by Save Ethnic S tudies. Either way, the programs in Tucson, Arizona appear successful. They are not focus and consequently more likely to become engaged with the material. This st udent of breadth. It also seems that ethnic studies programs would be a better vehicle for teaching emancipatory histories than traditional courses of study. The focus on historically marginalized groups suggests that students in these courses are more critically engaged with the implications of various understandings of the past, when compared with students in courses that simply reiterate dominant historical narrative s. Emphasizing the experiences of one marginalized group also implies that more weight would be given to individuals and personal stories. By negotiating national events with the perspectives of one social group, these programs would be able to effective ly balance the local against the global. Such courses should be expanded to other districts across the nation where students express interest in ethnic studies. According to a recent Miami Herald article,
138 similar courses are offered in dozens of Miami Dad e schools (McGrory 2010). Information on these programs, however, was difficult to find and the Miami Dade School District website has no information on their curriculum developers, offered courses, or adopted instructional materials. This hesitancy to p rovide information to the public on both their staff members and their approved curriculum may be related to the ed offered in Miami schools, maybe information is not available on these courses in an attempt to prevent the type of political backlash that the Tucson program is currently fighting. In addition to expanding ethnic studies programs, courses that focus on multiculturalism as a whole instead of the experiences of a specific minority group could be developed so that students interested in a variety of cultures and peoples could be exposed to diversity within the curriculum. Such courses could even become int egrated into the traditional high school track so that all students are exposed to multicultural curriculum content before they graduation. Alternately, content on a variety of races, classes, genders, and ethnicities could be synthesized into the current instructional material of all grade levels so that students could benefit from an inclusive, multicultural education throughout their K 12 career. Such improvements would help student be better
139 Conclusion Above I outlined and assessed some possible improvements for K 12, but particularly high school, curricula. These suggestions included integrating more diverse topics into the currently accepted curriculum, teaching history through humanize d and localized particulars, and the expansion of ethnic studies programs. I did not limit the discussion to history curriculum changes because exclusive curricula can interrupt student learning or encourage student engagement in all subjects. Changes th at aim to increase the inclusivity of curricula, however, are only able to alleviate the problems cause by exclusive curricula and not the problems that lead to the development or adoption of such curricula. Both the widespread adoption of exclusive curri cula and the tendency for textbooks to given primacy to initiatives that are supported by those in power instead of those that gain momentum among underrepresented groups reflect larger societal trends. Schools are sites of social reproduction and as such they are responsible for reproducing American social structures (Bowels and Gintis 1976:11). These social structures largely fall along lines of race, class, and gender, and assumptions about who has power and individual agency and who does not are subtl ety transmitted to students through textbooks and their retelling of history. Consequently, there are more radical possibilities for improving school curricula which focus more on changing the society which schools reproduce than on changing schools inter nally. John Ogbu wrote of a similar approach to improving the academic achievements
140 sou s (426). He argued that only once economic discrimination no longer existed would minorities begin to value schooling and the opportunities for advancement that it could bring. In other words, Ogbu saw the need to make large scale changes in society inste ad of just localized changes in the classroom. The root causes of exclusive curricula may require similarly wide ranging societal reforms. If the contributions and abilities of underrepresented groups became more acknowledged within dominant American dis courses, that change would soon be reproduced by curricula and textbooks used in the artifacts, or pieces of material culture that are created by individuals and mirror the assumptions and worldviews of those individuals. To restate, textbooks are produced within a specific sociohistorical context, and they are reflective of that context. If the social climate in which textbooks are created change, then textbooks thems elves would likewise change. If the worldviews of textbook authors, publishing companies, or textbook adoption boards altered and started to include assumptions about the importance of recognizing the societal contributions of all racial groups, classes, and genders; then the materials created or selected by these people would change, too.
141 Altering curricula without altering the societal assumptions which they reflect may help some students, but small scale modifications in instructional materials must only be seen as a stepping off point. Larger structures of inequality are at work here and it is those structures that need to be changed, not only the materials which are made in their likeness.
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