Math - Science - STEM / Reading / Writing / Ages 2-18

Is Your Child Learning Black History in School?

February is Black History Month, but students should be learning Black history in school year-round. Are they?

Every February, books about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. and other well-known Black historical figures appear in classroom displays for Black History Month. But students of all races should have access to the in-depth study of Black history and literature throughout the school year—after all, that’s just part of a well-rounded education.

Unfortunately, most students won’t receive an adequate education in Black history in school. While Florida governor Ron DeSantis recently made headlines for barring high schoolers from taking the College Board’s new advanced placement African American studies course in the state, that’s just one example of a common pattern.

Your child’s access to Black history and literature in school probably depends a lot on where you live and the school your child attends, but nationwide, there is far from enough attention on Black history in schools.

Let’s be real: If your family is Black, this isn’t news. You’re probably already compensating for the lack of Black history in school at home—or maybe you’ve found a school for your child that is doing better at centering Black narratives and experiences.

But of course, students of all races need access to Black history and literature in school. It’s part of a rich, well-rounded education, period.

Advocating for the teaching of Black history shouldn’t fall on Black parents. Here are a few ways parents and families—especially non-Black families—can play a role in pushing for more access to Black history and literature in school:


Ask about the history or social studies curriculum.

Understanding what’s being taught now is the first step toward nudging for changes. Is your child’s only exposure to Black history about slavery or the Civil Rights Movement? Are the achievements of Black people represented in discussions about all kinds of topics, from science to literature to art?


Check out the classroom library.

Children’s books are getting incrementally more diverse, but research on who is writing and publishing books (and who is represented in those stories) shows that we still have a long way to go. You can ask your child’s teacher what books they’re reading in class. If there are no books by Black authors or starring Black protagonists in rotation, share these lists of great suggestions for early readers, elementary schoolers, and older kids.


Share resources.

For example, Learning for Justice offers tons of excellent classroom resources and tools for educators. Their collection on teaching Black history beyond February is a great way to start conversations about infusing Black history into the whole year.


Talk to your child about what they’re learning—and help them notice what they’re not learning, too.

Especially if your child is older, encourage them to raise these conversations with their teachers and classmates and speak up for what they would like to see change in their school community.


Finally, when the courses are available, encourage your child to take them.

For example, will your school district offer the College Board’s new African American studies course? Or other courses in Black history? If so, make sure your child enrolls when they’re eligible. Schools and districts take note of class enrollment trends. Voting with your feet (or, in this case, your child’s attendance) tells your school that as a parent, you value this content and believe it’s vital for your kid.

Get the Guide by email

You’ll get early access to our newest resources, timely tips on how to support your child, and more!

Sign Up