Philadelphia Mandates Black History for Graduation : "Starting in September, students entering city high schools as ninth graders will be required to take a course in African-American history, making Philadelphia the first major city to require such a course for high school graduation.
"You cannot understand American history without understanding the African-American experience; I don't care what anybody says," said Paul G. Vallas, the school system's chief executive, who is white. "It benefits African-American children who need a more comprehensive understanding of their own culture, and it also benefits non-African-Americans to understand the full totality of the American experience."
The Philadelphia School District includes 185,000 students, two-thirds of whom are African-American, and only two in seven are white or Hispanic. The School Reform Commission, a panel that sets policy and is now composed of three whites and two blacks, voted 5 to 0 in February to make the course mandatory in all 53 high schools after some in recent years had offered African-American history as an elective."