Two bills before Connecticut lawmakers would require schools to teach African-American, as well as Puerto Rican and Latino history.
Several high school students told a legislative committee this week they support the bills, including Taylen Santiago of New London.
"These bills are important to me, solely based on the fact that my histories as an African-American and a Latina in this country are just as important as the history of my white counterparts," Santiago said.
Santiago testified before the legislature's Education Committee that there could also be other benefits.
"Education is something that builds bridges," Santiago said. "This class could build a bridge of unity and understanding between those who are not part of the Black or Latinx communities. Ignorance comes from not being knowledgeable, and the ignorance and prejudice I face in school could be lessened, or taken away, because of this class."
Bob Rader, the head of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, said there's support for having African-American, Puerto Rican and Latino history be part of the social studies curriculum. But he said there's concern about such a mandate coming from lawmakers.
"Certainly, we believe that boards of education, working through their superintendents and their faculty, are better at deciding when and how this could be taught," Raider said.
The head of the Connecticut Education Association, which represents teachers in the state, said the union is in favor of the legislation.
This report comes from the New England News Collaborative: Eight public media companies, including The Public's Radio, coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.