American Students Barely Know Anything About Reconstruction – The Daily Beast – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Schools need to be a whole lot more honest with America’s students. If we don’t teach students about the past, we aren’t equipping them with the tools to succeed in the future. And any history of America is woefully incomplete without a thoughtful examination of post-Civil War Reconstruction.

Concerningly, an Illinois middle school teacher stated (in a report that looks at education standards for American history), that Reconstruction is “generally the most skipped and summarized” unit in the history curriculum.

Theron Wilkerson, a Mississippi social studies teacher quoted in this same report went further, saying: “Because teachers are often pressured to ‘teach to the test,’ fruitful discussions about Black political, cultural, and economic autonomy, the potential of radical democratic participation, and the destruction of Reconstruction is lost.”

The aforementioned report, released earlier this year by the Zinn Education Project, showed that primary and secondary curriculum standards on teaching Reconstruction were inadequate in all 50 states. This is a serious problem.

Reconstruction started after the Civil War and lasted from 1865-1877. The United States needed to rebuild and reintegrate formerly seceded southern states back into the Union, while at the same time deciding the


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