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Vero Beach teacher appointed to state's Black history task force

'We are retelling American history and it may not always be pretty'
Posted at 5:49 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 17:49:06-04

VERO BEACH, Fla.  — An Indian River County teacher is helping to reshape how Black history is taught in schools across our state.

“I absolutely love love what I do,” Ataaba Patterson said.

Patterson is the literacy coach at Vero Beach Elementary for grades 3-5. But her career in education was sparked by one child.

“I actually got into education for my son,” she explained.

Patterson says she saw a need for more diversity in the classroom.

“I want to represent,” she said.

It was a good fit. In February, she was one of three teachers in the state to receive the Black History Excellence and Education Award by Governor Ron DeSantis.

“And because of that award I was asked to be a part of the task force,” she said.

Now, Patterson will be a part of the Florida Department of Education’s African American History task force.

“It’s not just about putting stories or retelling events of people of color, but we are retelling American history and it may not always be pretty,” Patterson said. “But we have known it’s not always one side.”

“Does it put an extra weight on you, being a Black woman in education,” WPTV’s Sabirah Rayford asked.

“I think that it has, unintentionally, it does put another level of responsibility, I think on teachers of color,” Patterson said. “We are having to defend things that we should not have to do defend and have very difficult decisions.”

She’s hoping the task force will help.

“So, we want to tell the whole story, once again,” she said. “The good, bad, and ugly, so there is balance. When we know better, we definitely will do better.”