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Miami Dade County Public School’s African American History Task Force meets in Miami to remember the past and plan for the future

African American History Task Force

Miami Dade County Public School’s African American History Task Force meets in Miami to remember the past and plan for the future

By Gwen Belton

     They came from all across the state of Florida: a conference room filled with educators, school board members, college professors, and elected officials all with a stake in ensuring that African America History continues to be taught in South Florida public schools and in public schools across the state.

    “Our goal and mission is to make sure that our students are aware of the contributions that our race has made in this world, not just here in the U.S., but abroad,” said Dr. Sherrilyn Scott, District Supervisor, African American History Curriculum at Miami Dade Public Schools.

    Dr. Scott led a panel discussion on the state of African American studies in Florida public schools, at the annual two day conference of the Florida Department of Education African American History Task Force.

    The Miami-Dade County Public School’s African American History Advisory Committee hosted this year’s conference, held on Jan. 31 through Feb. 1 at the Miami-Dade Public Schools Administrative building, to coincide with the start of Black History Month.

“We are considered, out of the 66 school districts in Florida, the top district for implementing African American History. We have an advocate in every school. So, they want to use us as a model, to see what we’re doing in the school district and how we’re being effective, said Dr. Scott.

     Miami-Dade County School Board Member Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway added that, “We’re confident in our monitoring, that our children are being informed, that our teachers are staying on task; that’s our responsibility. So, we’re delighted to have the task force here with us to see and to follow-up on just what we are doing here in Miami-Dade County.”

Florida Law mandates that African American History be taught in Florida schools Kindergarten through 12th grade.

     “The Task Force was founded for the express purpose of making sure that children all across the State of Florida learn the history of Africans in America and the Task Force has the support of the entire community to keep it strong, to keep the funding flowing and to make sure that our children learn their heritage,” said Congresswoman Frederic A. Wilson.

Congresswoman Wilson founded the African American History Task Force, and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools History Advisory Committee and she was instrumental in passing legislation, in 1994, that required African American History be taught in Florida’s public schools.

     “Children yet unborn will benefit from the work of this task force,” said Congresswoman Wilson.

     Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, praised the task force and talked about the importance of the task force making sure that African American History and Miami-Dade’s diverse community are reflected in the text books and taught in the classrooms.

     “Why is this important, right here in Miami-Dade? Because, if we do what’s right and if we get it right in Miami, we’re not only solving our own problem, we are setting a model for the nation,” said superintendent Carvalho.

      And as the nation celebrates Black History Month, this year marks important milestones in the history of African-Americans in the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed 150 years ago, this past January. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior’s “March on Washington.  We also celebrate the second inauguration of our first African American President Barack Obama. These history making moments show us just how far we have come and should encourage us to work together to continue to move this country forward.



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