Oklahoma Leaders Discuss Changes To Teaching 1921 Race Massacre In Schools


Wednesday, February 19th 2020, 10:45 pm
By: Amy Slanchik


Changes are on the way to Oklahoma’s schools when it comes to teaching the history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Years ago, the state required educators to teach students about the massacre but now, a more in-depth curriculum is on the way.

The State Department of Education will release its first-ever curriculum framework for social studies this April, and teachers can train over the summer.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said right now there are only curriculum frameworks for Math, English and Science.

The curriculum framework will provide an over-arching plan for districts to then create their own curriculum or adapt from other districts.

Author Hannibal Johnson and Senator James Lankford released a video Wednesday, sharing a conversation between the two about Greenwood’s history.

The half hour video is a new tool teachers can use in the classroom. It’s also meant to be shared with anyone who wants to learn more.

The video released at the same time the State Department of Education announced new details about changes coming to Oklahoma classrooms, when it comes to learning about the Tulsa Race Massacre.

"This is state history. It's national history. And we have not done a very good job in the past. And we must change that,” Hofmeister said.

The 1921 Race Massacre Commission put together lesson plans that have been available to teachers across Oklahoma since 2018.

There is a one-day lesson plan and a five-day lesson plan. Teachers can pick and choose the resources they want to share with their students.

Tulsa Public Schools has created its own curriculum to pilot.

"Our teachers are really leading this work and we're going to continue to support them and getting that done and developing these materials and lessons and resources so that we can make those available to others throughout the state,” Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said at a news conference Wednesday.

The changes in the classroom will come in the fall, just months away from the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

"A lot of things need to be done by that 100-year mark. Because quite frankly, the nation's going to pause for a moment and it's going to ask, what's happened since then? We should be ready for that,” Sen. James Lankford said.

If you’d like to look at the lesson plans available now for teachers, click here.

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