NYC schools unveil groundbreaking Black studies program for students in grades K-12

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The nation's largest school district unveiled a groundbreaking curriculum change to teach children about the history and contributions of Black Americans.

New York City public schools will develop a Black studies program for students in grades K-12 in all five boroughs.

At the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, education advocates announced the Black studies program on Wednesday.

"Certainly our story did not begin in 1619, we know that and some of our children know it or need to know it but it is equally important for other people to know it," said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, co-chair of BLAC.

Leaders aim to launch a pilot version of the Education Equity Action Plan in a select number of Department of Education schools.

The initiative will teach children about the early African civilizations, the Black experience in America and the contributions and accomplishments and contributions of the African diaspora.

"It was not until I stepped foot onto the campus of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, a historically black all women's college, that I gained that deeper knowledge -- not just the beginning of slavery in America," said Council Member Adrienne Adams, co-chair of BLAC.

To get the program started, the City Council's Black Latino and Asian Caucus secured $10 million in next year's budget.
The money will go to a handful of organizations including the Black Education Research Collective at Columbia University and the Eagle Academy Foundation who will help craft the curriculum.

"In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the ensuing social unrest, and the calls for racial justice that followed the need for a systemic approach to cultivate a better a deeper appreciation of the contributions of black people within New York City Schools was more pressing than ever," said Jawana Johnson with the Eagle Academy Foundation.

"I am so proud to be a chancellor who ushered our children back into school, but what I know is in ushering them back, they have to see and experience themselves every single day in the curriculum," said Chancellor Meisha Porter.

The pilot program is expected to start next year.

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