In February 2018, teachers at IS 224 in the Bronx reported that principal Patricia Catania prohibited them from giving lessons on Black History Month.
In response, UFT President Michael Mulgrew issued the following statement:
The diversity of New York City must be reflected in its public education system. During Black History Month, we are reminded that black history is American history, and the Department of Education should ensure that educators are provided with examples of achievement, empowerment and legacy of people of African descent.
But all year round, schools and educators must be equipped with resources that present the wealth of our city and nation’s culture and our world’s history. To that end, the New York City Department of Education bears the responsibility of ensuring that all staff are provided with approved curricula for use in our schools and the necessary professional learning to best engage students and support growth.
These curricula should be inclusive, culturally responsive and comprehensive. They must include activities that are developmentally appropriate and respectful of the many elements of students’ cultural identities.
Unfortunately, while such material is available, the Department of Education does not mandate its use, or even monitor what and where it is being taught.