CA School District to Require Ethnic-Studies Course

By Albert Lin

A 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 20152016 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 Latino98 percent of its 9,400 studentsbut 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.

Latest News

Boeing CEO David Calhoun Provides ESG and Supply Chain Update in Message to Employees

Originally published at Boeing Company ranked No. 17 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun shared the following message with employees addressing the company’s fourth-quarter results: As we share our fourth-quarter results, I want to thank you for your hard work and…

Cox Communications logo on screen.

Cox on 5 Things To Not Compromise in 2022

Originally published at Cox Communications ranked No. 32 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   As you jump into a new year, you may have a list of resolutions you plan to work toward. From short-term goals like reading one book per month to long-term…

Parents protest over Critical Race Theory education in schools

Florida Legislature Issues Initial Approval of Bill That Would Prohibit White ‘Discomfort’ During Black History Education

Even though the Florida Department of Education has already banned the classroom teaching of Critical Race Theory, lawmakers in the state are attempting to go even further, passing a law to protect whites’ “feelings” during education dealing with Black history.  Amy Simonson of CNN reported that a bill backed by…

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell Under Fire for Claiming Black Americans Are Not ‘Americans’

As the battle to protect voting rights continues in the nation’s capital — sadly with little success — veteran politician and minority leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, has come under fire for a statement he made that implied Black Americans were not “full” Americans. Bruce Schreiner of The…