A recent report by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and UnidosUS highlights a significant gap in the coverage of U.S. Latino history in high school curricula. The study reveals that 87% of crucial Latino historical events are either absent or inadequately covered in U.S. history textbooks, often mentioned in just a few sentences. Only 28 out of 222 important topics received sufficient attention.
The report emphasizes the omission of critical events such as the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, the U.S. acquisition of Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal, the modern civil rights movement, and legal developments like the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. The study analyzed several textbooks used in seven states and one AP U.S. history book, focusing on the overall portrayal of the Latino experience, discussions of inequality, Latino contributions, language usage, and image authenticity.
While some textbooks contextualized the significance of certain concepts, others were criticized for being "intellectually flat." Sonia Sotomayor's appointment as the first Latina justice on the Supreme Court was the only event mentioned consistently across all textbooks.
The report recommends the development of more inclusive textbooks, including rigorous content with primary and secondary sources, and urges educators, parents, and community leaders to advocate for inclusive curricula. As the U.S. becomes more diverse, understanding and recognizing the contributions and experiences of Latinos is crucial for future generations.
The glaring gaps in the coverage of U.S. Latino history underscore the importance of challenging the status quo and advocating for change within our educational institutions.