Bay Area school teaching Black history all year long as study finds US students could learn more

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Sunday, February 5, 2023
Bay Area school teaching Black history all year
As we celebrate Black History Month, shocking results from a new survey suggest that much more work is needed.

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- As we celebrate Black History Month, shocking results from a new survey suggest that much more work is needed.

And now one Bay Area school is making sure that students learn about Black history every day of the year.

At Love Elementary School in Alameda, students are learning early on to stand up for what's right and speak out against what's wrong.

"It's not just important to be nice to people. It's important to be anti-racist. So we have lots of books to help them," said fourth grade teacher Ryan Brazil.

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The funeral for Tyre Nichols was filled with tributes for the 29-year-old who died after a violent encounter with police, and a call to action for reform.

Black History Month is a time when many students learn about the influential role Black Americans have had in U.S. History.

A new survey suggests there's work to do.

The company Brainly questioned nearly 1,300 kids. It found that one in four students doesn't know that Barack Obama was our nation's first Black president.

Only about a third of those surveyed knew Rosa Parks played a role in the civil rights movement.

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Educators at Love Elementary School say they are making sure their students get the best education they can thanks to their social justice curriculum.

"We examine how race plays into our society and what we can do about that. We make sure what we are teaching is culturally relevant and its age appropriate," said Principal Tina Lagdamen. "We want our students have a better world. We believe that through our social justice framework, they can learn about their own history and be more accepting about the diversity and be critical thinkers as part of society."

In Mrs. Brazil's class, students are learning a lot.

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"We talk a lot of about Martin Luther King Jr. We listen to his speech," Brazil said.

The lessons extend beyond the 28 days in February.

"Black History Month is 365 days a year," Brazil said.

"I've been to every classroom," said Parent-Teacher Liason Mikayla Royal.

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Royal has two boys in the school district. She also coordinates a program called "Kings and Queens" -- teaching students about African-American history.

"We need to learn about this history. It's been far too long that we haven't been inclusive for the whole year. When you go to school and you're Black, you want to see other things that look like you as well. So, I think everyone should have that in their school," Royal said.

Whether it's learning about Black History or about another race or culture or gender, teacher Ryan Brazil said it's about learning to love and appreciate each other.

"We're learning about people. All different people. Don't care what color you are or who you love. We're just learning about human beings," Brazil said.

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