Nothing about the topic of education is simple, neutral, static in time. Administrators, class size, curricula, politics, private, public, taxes, teachers, technology, testing, textbooks, unions. Schools and the educating of our youth are microcosms of all the positives and negatives found in the larger society. Local school boards and state legislatures determine funding, hiring policies, choice of textbooks, standards, and the philosophical underpinnings for their local schools. Quality and strength varies school to school, district to district, state to state. And there is no doubt that money matters, socioeconomic conditions matter, race matters. There has been no end of agonizing, ameliorating, exacerbating, exaggerating, in discussing the strengths and weaknesses of education in America.
BlackPast.org is doing its part to provide educators with quality tools to excite and encourage students to use critical thinking skills when learning about African American history within the context of the larger American History curriculum. A panel of educators has developed learning modules for different age groups, compiled reference material, and have given teachers and other interested parties the opportunity to get in touch with them for feedback. Of course, the whole site of BlackPast.org is available to the curious and interested reader. BlackPast.org's education specialists creation of a module with learning goals, assessments, and suggestions is most useful to teachers who may have limited time and resources to develop materials in an area where they, too, may not have first hand knowledge and training. Having interesting reading material, access to a collection of photographs, film vault, and an exhaustive bibliography can go a long way to engaging young, inquisitive minds. BlackPast.org is a dynamic, interactive resource and welcomes input and suggestions.