History? How about her-story


Clarion photo Siana Ramos

Anne Dierker getting in her teaching zone.

By Siana Ramos, Reporter

For the 12 years I’ve been in school, I have been taught loads of history. However, history has rarely ever left the subject of the white man. I’ve heard stories over and over again, teaching me about all of the things white men have done. Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed to be getting the education I’m getting, but after taking a certain new class this year at Cleveland, I’ve come to realize yet again that there’s always been something missing. That something is women, especially women of color.

T.O.K, Government, and now Women In American History teacher Anne Dierker proposed that Cleveland offer a new class all about women in history. She proposed this because she, too, is aware of the lack of diversity in most schools’ curriculums.

“I proposed this class because I thought that, and no disrespect to the curriculum, but it’s lacking. We learn about the same group of people throughout all of our lives. The audience is ripe for this, they’re welcoming to this. I felt like people would be invested and there’s a need for it,” said Dierker.

It is important for history curriculum in schools to be inclusive of all people. By only teaching kids about the accomplishments of a specific group of people, in this case white men, you are teaching anyone and everyone who is not a white man that they do not have anything to offer the world, because that is the only person we hear about succeeding. We only hear about the accomplishments of these people and it makes us think that people like us, whether that means people who identify as the same gender as you, or are the same race as you, haven’t been an important part of our world. We can’t only be taught about one group of people, we need to be learning about everyone, we need to be celebrating and honoring the accomplishments of all people. I can’t stress enough how important it is for young people of color, for young women, for young non binary people, for people who aren’t heterosexual, to see that they are a part of our world and have so much to offer and are capable of everything. It can be extremely damaging to only learn about white men and white people in general and then on top of all that, we do not have equal representation for all people in the media either. This class is one step towards better education and representation, at least within our Cleveland community.

Dierker has covered a lot of important parts of history so far, including things some of my classmates and I did not even know about until taking this class, and it’s only November. Not only do we learn about women in history, but we have discussions about the things women still face today. We’ve had discussions about dress code, feminism, women who are currently making history, and more. The way Dierker approaches this class and delivers her lessons is so empowering, helpful, and brilliant. She allows students lots of room to explore and express what we are learning in our own ways. It is also very obvious that this class is important to her because of how attentive, engaged, respectful, and invested she is. Another huge thing about this class and the way she teaches it is how safe it feels. I feel like my voice is listened to and respected. I feel safe enough to be honest, to be open and to be as creative as I want to be. This is all very important because when you have creative freedom, a passionate teacher, and a safe environment, it completely opens you up to what is being taught and you feel a lot more motivated to put effort into everything you do.

Women In History is a very important class that everyone should be taking. “The goal for this class, and my department backs me up with this, [is that] we would like for students to be able to get a U.S. History credit for this class. They should be able to do [this] because we are covering the same topics but through a different lens. It doesn’t have to be an elective, it should be a core class,” said Dierker.

Said senior Suqi Soleil, “It should be a requirement because everyone should be learning about women in history.”

“It’s correcting the mistake of leaving women out of history class,” stated senior Theresa Smith.

“It is so refreshing to take a history class where we discuss strong women and their roles in history. This matters to me so much, and throughout my time in school it has been uncommon to hear about women, which I have always thought was really upsetting and odd. Women In History has already taught me so much about amazing, capable, influential women and I am so thankful for that,” said senior Taylor Allen. “It is so important for everyone to be exposed to this class because there is such a huge history we don’t know about! This class should be mandatory.”

Anne Dierker is truly empowering students and educating us about huge parts of history we have never even heard of. Our entire lives in school, people have pretended that women in history didn’t have any impact on our world today and it is time for that lie to end. Women are and always have been so important and influential in our world. We deserve to be educated about it.