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How Educators Are Rethinking History Curriculum

Removal of Confederate memorial in Forest Park in 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As the Black Lives Matter movement draws attention around the world to long-entrenched racial injustices of the present day, the past looms large as well. Reckoning with United States history seems critical to any contemporary progress on everything from housing disparities to mass incarceration.

But as Americans grapple with the past and present in new ways, holes are appearing. Different people are often working from very different, and often incomplete, understandings of the nation’s history. “I never heard about that in school growing up” has become a common refrain.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann hosted a conversation with educators and historians focused on rethinking the teaching of history. The show delved into how curriculums have evolved in the past — and still need to change going forward.

Joining the discussion were Flannery Burke, associate professor of history at St. Louis University; Quincy Rose, dean of Harris-Stowe State University’s College of Education; and Rob Good, a retired high school teacher and vice president of the Missouri Council for History Education's board of directors.

The broadcast was also informed by comments from SLU doctoral student and diversity fellow Mehnaz Ahmad, Lindsey Manshack, who is a researcher with Washington University’s Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies and a member of the Choctaw Apache Tribe of Ebarb, and longtime social studies teacher Jeff Kopolow.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.