Summer 8-31-2020


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Pomerleau, A. (2020) Missing Narratives: Racial Inequities in Social Studies Curriculum

The education system in the United States, like the government, is built on inequitable systems, where those in charge of the narratives, policies, and institutions are overwhelmingly White. Traditional textbooks and instructional materials are also White-centric, telling the histories of White men and the systems they created. However, this White-centric education does not support the increasingly diverse set of students in schools today. With this in mind, the research was framed by this question: As a White educator, how can I provide learning opportunities for students to explore alternative narratives and address racial inequities that government systems create and perpetuate in order to strengthen their understanding of power and democracy? In order to tackle such a complex question, the research was broken into three sections. The first section focuses on historical narratives that are often absent from a traditional White-centric education. This will help provide necessary sociopolitical context for understanding topics and concepts within a civics course. The second section contains research on how to acknowledge, process, and discuss race and racism, as well as what it means to be anti-racist. The final section is an attempt to integrate the aforementioned topics (historical content and discussions on race) into a culturally responsive approach to teaching government. The research is focused on silenced Black narratives, since many government policies and racist systems were built on anti-Blackness. The research then informed the creation of a unit curriculum design focused on historical and modern voter suppression. The curriculum was created using Backward Design from Wiggins and McTighe, and conceptual learning and Hammond’s approach to culturally responsive teaching is used as a framework for instruction and assessments. The overarching goal for this course was: students will be able to identify systemic patterns, in government and society, using a diverse set of narratives, in order to inform their civic debate, discussion, and decisions. This writing includes rationale and research for the curriculum design project, as well as major learnings, limitations, and implications of the project. (330 words)

Project Type









School of Education Student Capstone Projects