CA School District to Require Ethnic-Studies Course

Officials in the almost entirely Latino district believe that the curriculum will “expose our students to global perspectives and inclusion of diversity.”

By Albert Lin

El Rancho High School Ethnic Studies CourseA school district in Greater Los Angeles has adopted a measure that will require students to pass an ethnic-studies course in order to graduate.

El Rancho Unified School District officials believe that such coursework will help bridge differences between students and teach them more about their heritage and the heritage of others.

“When students learn about themselves, their history, it gives them self-worth and self-esteem and they do better in school,” Jose Lara, Vice President of the El Rancho Board of Education, told the Los Angeles Times.

The new curriculum will “expose our students to global perspectives and inclusion of diversity,” Lara told the Whittier Daily News. “We feel that this resolution follows in the footsteps many universities that also require similar courses for graduation and better prepares our children for success after high school.”

The requirement will be in place for the 2015–2016 school year. The district will spend the upcoming school year creating a curriculum and deciding on the best way to implement the courses. The district, which is located in Pico Rivera, 12 miles southeast of Los Angeles, is almost entirely Latino—98 percent of its 9,400 students—but courses will touch on other cultures as well. For example, Lara suggested an art class on Mexican art or an English class focused on African-American literature.

“If we do this right, we will put a [curriculum] together where students will be presented with an array of cultures and how each one interacts with one another,” Superintendent Martin Galindo said. “They will learn about the interrelationships between different cultures. They don’t exist by themselves.”

El Rancho puts itself ahead of the curve, as a bill has been passed by the California State Assembly that would require the state Department of Education to form a task force to study how to implement an ethnic-studies curriculum in all high schools statewide. That bill is now before the State Senate.

Requirements such as these are not without controversy.

Tucson, Ariz., was forced to end its Mexican-American studies program in 2011 when classes that promote the overthrow of the United States government; that promote resentment toward a race; and that promote ethnic solidarity rather than individuality, were banned by the state. An effort was made to revive the program last summer, but it’s unclear if it was successful. One report said that the program was being held at a local college rather than in public high schools.

A brief write-up on the El Rancho resolution for National Review Online, the website of the conservative magazine, is headlined “Calif. School District Decides Learning About Diversity Is More Important Than Learning Geography.” This references the district’s decision to remove a geography requirement in order to accommodate the ethnic-studies requirement.

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  • The American Revolution: 1. Crispus Attucks. 2. 1st Rhodes Island Regiment. 3. Black malitia and minutemen. 4. Battle of Bunker Hill (Blacks). In addition, 1/5th of the northern Continental Army was Black and there were black “pilots” to handle vessels and ammunition because there was a shortage needed men.

    This is “part” of the History of the United States from the onset. It is “not” an African-African ethnic study like they just popcorned up here and there from the very beginning and throughout the History of the United States!!

    Sorry Tea Bag Party! All you can lay credit to is “disguising yourselves as Indians and throwing tea in the Boston harbor!!”

    How we continue to support the error of the all-mighty White citizens is the separation of studies based on ethnicity! It is “this” that must be stopped … immediately!!

  • I hope they dont use the same curriculam that they used in Tucson. I watched this train wreck happen from the beggining. I was a parent site council member years before it was implemented. When I first saw this I presented it to the board and later to the state. There was a blind eye to the anti american activities for many years.

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