Utah Gets a Poor Grade for Teaching About Civil Rights

A new report card gives Utah an extremely poor grade on teaching students about the civil rights movement.

The report from the Southern Poverty Law Center gives Utah a “D” grade for teaching about the movement, as the state scores lower than 19 other states, coming in at a paltry 33%. The score is actually an improvement from a 2011 report that gave Utah a failing grade.

Why did Utah do so poorly?

Utah’s standards are minimal. They mandate instruction about the civil rights movement with essentially no content other than a reference to divergent tactics and a single mention of Brown. They make a vague attempt to link the movement to other liberation movements with no evidence or content.

The state’s online documents and lesson plans are accessible and well-organized. They offer a broad variety of resources, including many that heavily emphasize the use of original historical documents. The UEN sites will undoubtedly see much traffic from educators within and outside of Utah looking for ideas to teach the movement. The new online course on the civil rights movement stands in stark contrast to the state standards and has the potential to be an exciting new example for other states.