The Truth Behind Diversity in English Curriculum

Chloe Poindexter, Opinion Editor

As times have progressed and curriculum has advanced, there have been more opportunities for schools to introduce diversity to students than ever before. The question is, though, what districts actually make an effort to include diversity in their schools’ curriculums?  

With English being one of the few required subjects for students in all years of schooling, it is considered a core subject. English consists of a lot of reading, writing, and analyzing of texts. In English class you learn tools that you will need for the rest of your life. 

With that being said, there are also lots of opportunities for visuals in the English curriculum. This includes books, poetry, photos, videos, plays, etc, all of which have characters. People so often look over how important it is for a reader to be able to relate to a character in some way. The most direct way for someone to relate to a character is either through physical appearance or being able to relate to an experience you both have gone through.

How many of these texts can only white males relate to?  How many of these texts are written by white males? The answer is most of them. 

Our school is full of all different races, sexulaities, and religions. It is not fair for not every single person to be fairly represented. That is what State High’s Diversity Club is fighting for. Diverse representation. 

Madeline Miller, member of the diversity club, emphasizes that the diversity club wants to see lots of changes within the English curriculum. 

 “Our club would love to see much more diversity and inclusivity within the English curriculum. We’ve spent the past year researching every book in the curriculum for grades 9-12, and from our research, we found that an alarming 64.5% of books (both required readings and choice readings) are European/white-based” says Miller.

Diversity in curriculum is so important and can not be stressed enough. For students of all ages, kindergarten through college.

“When we read books in school, it is important to have both windows and mirrors (both seeing views into others’ perspectives and seeing a reflection of your own culture/identity). For many students, our curriculum lacks mirrors in the books we read, and this underrepresents students as well as provides an education that lacks different perspectives” Miller says.

There is a huge lack of representation for certain races, sexualties, and other identifying characteristics. The diversity club at State High has plans to attempt to change that. “A lot of identities and people are underrepresented in the books we read in school, and we would like to see a greater representation of the students here at State High.” 

Meghan McGinty, English teacher at State High shared that the curriculum review cycle happens every 6 years.  6 years in this world is a lifetime. Curriculum should be constantly changing with the world, especially in a resource based class such as english.

At State High there is no doubt room for improvement when it comes to this subject. Students like Madeline Miller are attacking this head on.  

“Diversity in our curriculum can be taken much more seriously, and it would be great if changes could be made much quicker than they have been. Getting the support of our English department and enacting real changes are two very different things, and in many cases, improvements fail between these two stages. Our club has taken steps to do the initial research, but we would love to see changes being made effectively” Miller states.

Students advocating for the entire study body of State High will continue, everyone should keep their eyes peeled for the things to come.