‘We’re looking to get it right’: Monumental changes ahead for how Virginia students learn Black history

Virginia Board of Education approved edits to history Standards of Learning

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Right now, educators are working on a monumental change to Virginia’s Standards of Learning in history and social science by adding more African American history to the curriculum framework.

The Virginia Board of Education approved a list of recommended edits in October, but that does not mean the work stops there.

“It just warms my heart that here in Virginia, we’re looking to get it right ,” said Dr. Crystal M. Edwards, superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools.

The “it” Edwards is referring to is history no longer being taught to elementary, middle and high school students from one perspective. Now, lessons on African American history aren’t going to start with slavery. For information on why educators in Southwest Virginia believe this is beneficial for students of all backgrounds, click here.

Shifting the perspective was the main priority of the Virginia African American History Education Commission when it started in 2019. Dr. Edwards is among its members.

“I worked with some phenomenal educators, parents, students, consultants, there were people from history museums. It was a wonderful collaboration of individuals all committed to really looking at our African American history through a different lens,” Edwards said.

This approval came right on time.

Christonya Brown, Virginia Department of Education’s history and social science coordinator, said it is in Virginia Code that standards are only revised every seven years. The commission did recommend that is also changed to allow more inclusive input but that has yet to be approved.

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