Finally, a bill where the Republicans reveal themselves. They have been joining the Democrats in unanimous votes much too much this session. Eight Republicans voted against House Bill 198, a bill that would require each school district and charter school serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade to provide curricula on Black history beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.
Seven Republicans actually voted no (Rich Collins, Tim Dukes, Shannon Morris, Jesse Vanderwende, Charles Postles, Ron Gray, and Lyndon Yearick) and Ruth Briggs King did not vote. She was there, but she was marked as “Not Voting.” Unless somehow she had an ethical conflict of interest, which I cannot envision on this topic, then she is marked down for our purposes as opposing the bill on the merits.
I am sure these 8 Republicans say to us and themselves, “those blacks get lessons taught about their history during Black History Month and where is our White History month!?”
While schools dedicate lessons to the struggles and achievements of Black Americans during Black History Month each year, these teachings are often segregated and limited to those four weeks and not woven into the entire story of American history. Sponsored by Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker, House Bill 198 would require each school district and charter school develop curricula that would serve to educate all students on how Black people were treated throughout history in this country and examine the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and intolerance. The bill would require curricula to recognize the impact of racial and historical trauma, while engaging students about the roles and responsibilities of all citizens to combat racism, inequality and discrimination through various means, such as protest, reform and celebration. The curricula also would teach about historical discrimination in Delaware, be designed to develop students’ respect for cultural and racial diversity, and provide opportunities for students to discuss and uplift the Black experience.
Because Black History is American History.
The Department of Education would consult with groups such as the NAACP, Africana studies programs at Delaware State University and University of Delaware, Delaware Heritage Commission, Delaware Black Student Coalition, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and Eastern Shore AFRAM in Seaford in developing resources to assist schools with crafting their curricula.
|House Bill 198 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Dorsey Walker, Heffernan, K.Johnson, Minor-Brown, S.Moore, Cooke, Lambert, Morrison||House Passed 33-7-1. Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Bush, Carson, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Dorsey Walker, Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton D.Short Hensley M.Smith Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman||Briggs King (Not Voting), Collins, Dukes, Gray, Morris, Postles, Vanderwende, Yearick|
|Lockman, Sturgeon, Brown, Gay, Pinkney, Sokola, Townsend|
|Current Status —||Senate Education 4/29/21|
“Isolating Black history to 28 days does a great disservice to the countless Black Americans who have contributed to our nation throughout the past 400 years. Black history is American history, and if it is not taught, it can easily be forgotten,” said Rep. Dorsey Walker. “When teaching the history of our nation, the achievements, challenges, contributions, struggles and triumphs of Black people should not be segregated, but be incorporated into the American story, just as they unfolded in history. By helping all students of all races to see Black people as integral to this nation, and by teaching what the full experience of being Black means, we can truly understand and really see each other.”
“American history is a rich tapestry of interwoven narratives about the struggle and success of people from many ethnic, racial, cultural and religious backgrounds,” said Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman. “Sharing that history with our young people gives them an opportunity to express those many viewpoints – as emotionally painful and ideologically contradictory as they may sometimes feel. Only by acknowledging and embracing the full history of Americans and all of its people can we begin to heal the wounds of past sins and begin to move forward with a common understanding of who we are collectively.”