NC school board denies proposal to create mandatory African-American studies course

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Several people in Winston-Salem are outraged after Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools denied a proposal to create a mandatory African-American studies course for high school students in the district.

Many people, including members of Hate Out of Winston and the LOC, expressed Tuesday night that learning African-American history should be more than a choice.

“When we look at what’s going on with black children: lack of engagement and the achievement gap, nothing should be optional. We should do everything that we can to save this group of children,” Miranda Jones said.

Jones said many people left the meeting angry and disappointed.

“It absolutely felt like a stab in the back,” she said. “For those who asked us to canvas with them. For those who pledged there support at the library. So it absolutely felt like a betrayal.”

Instead, the school board passed Superintendent Angela Hairston’s recommendation, which was to strengthen the Infusion Project already in place. It’s a program where teachers use multicultural resources in their lessons.

“That also was the reason for putting them in social studies documents in six through eight and then American I and American II in the high school level,” said Rebecca McKnight, director of social studies for the district.

McKnight said they have plans to offer American Indian studies and ethnic literature, along with the African and Latin American studies electives already in place.

“All of those courses will be elective options that are full credit and that students at every school will have the opportunity to take,” McKnight said.

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