With hopes of spreading valuable information and answering recent questions within the community, The League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe and the Grosse Pointe/Harper Woods branch of the NAACP have partnered up to host a program entitled, “What U.S. History Do We Teach in Our Schools?” this Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
Joan Richardson, a main organizer from the League of Women Voters saw the rising community interest and knew the group had to make an effort to shine a light on the truth.
“We’re trying hard in this program to make it clear that there’s a lot that goes on in the background of deciding what gets taught in public schools,” Richardson said. “We’re going to talk about standards, we’re going to talk about curriculum. A lot of people don’t really understand what goes on before the teacher is standing up there in the classroom. Teachers don’t just pick up a textbook and teach.”
While the community interest was a strong motivator for the program’s conception, Cynthia Douglas, associate on behalf of the NAACP, personally believes that having this conversation and foundation is crucial in developing as a nation.
“The ‘good part’ of America is not always good to everybody,” Douglas said. “Our country was built on the good and the bad. The takeaway is to have an open and honest discussion about the history of America so that we can move forward and teach our children the truth.”
In order to provide background on this important topic, three panelists have been selected to speak during the program, including P.J. Palen, a U.S. history instructor at South High School. Palen hopes to instill confidence about South’s program by sharing knowledge of Michigan standards as well as the additional measures he’s taken in his own classroom to allow students a well-rounded education.
“Sometimes what’s not in the history textbooks is just as important as the things that are,” Palen said.
While the event itself has passed, both groups invite any interested parties to check out the recording that will be posted shortly afterwards on the League of Women’s Voters website. This way, the valuable information shared during the program can be maximized to educate as many people as possible.
“It’s about communication and transparency,” Douglas said. “Mainly communication, just to get the conversation going about this topic is what I’d like to get out of this, and to continue to have that conversation, not just for Wednesday, but for days to come. That’s the only way we can grow or make this country better.”