Friday, June 10, 2005

The Philadelphia Experiment

There's going to be a new social studies requirement in Philadelphia's public school system:

City high school students will be required to take a class in African and African American history to graduate, a move that education experts believe is unique in the nation.

The requirement in the 185,000-student district, which is about two-thirds black, begins with September's freshman class, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday.

The yearlong course covers subjects including classical African civilizations, civil rights and black nationalism, said Gregory Thornton, the district's chief academic officer. The other social studies requirements are American history, geography and world history.

Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, an advocacy group for big city school districts, said Philadelphia appeared to be in the forefront with such a requirement.

Some parents opposed requiring the course, including Miriam Foltz, president of the Home and School Association at Baldi Middle School.

According to administrators, the rationale behind the new requirement is that African and African American history had been neglected for, "too long."
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