Boston Will Include Busing In History Curriculum

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In many ways, the critically acclaimed movie "Selma" served as a teaching moment for America and its complex civil rights history. The movie tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King and a pivotal moment in the fight for voting rights.

And, in some cases, it was a literal teaching moment, as teachers shared curriculum guidelines, "how to teach Selma" tips and lesson plans to help students navigate how a nation sees itself and its history. But what about civil rights turning points closer to home? Here in Boston, how do you teach the history of busing?

"Busing in Boston was our Selma," Ira Jackson once said. He's former chief of staff for Mayor Kevin White. And until very recently, the city's history of court-ordered desegregation wasn't taught in Boston Public Schools.

But it is now. Boston's school department is revising its history curriculum to include busing, four decades after it began. It's a challenging task. How do you teach a painful, controversial moment in history, right in the city where it played out? To students who may be the children or grandchildren of people who lived that history? What's the best way to connect the courage and protests of 40 years ago to student lives today in Boston? Or are the connections obvious, alive and inescapable every day in the make up of classrooms around the city?


Banjineh "Mr. Op" Browne, 12th grade civics teacher at the Boston Community Leadership Academy.

Amarielis "Amy" Morales, former student in Mr. Op's civics class at the Boston Community Leadership Academy and freshman at Wheelock College.

Jim Vrabel, Boston historian and author of "A People's History of the New Boston."

This segment aired on March 3, 2015.


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