Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) isn’t the only one making moves to institutionalize Ethnic Studies into their high schools. San Francisco is now in full gears to get Ethnic Studies implemented into all San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) schools. There is an online petition for anyone to sign, and they aim to reach 2,000 signatures by the December 8th, 2014.
Currently, the curriculum for education in the United States focuses on a history that takes on a Euro-centric lens and has often been criticized for preaching one-sided stories. What Ethnic Studies seeks to do is educate students about the multiple histories and truths that form American history.
The creation of Ethnic Studies stemmed from the 1968 Student Strike that took place in universities all across California. A coalition of different student organizations was formed to create the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF). TWLF joined forces with the Black Student Union, faculty members and community members to demand a curriculum that was inclusive of all histories, especially those of ethnic minorities. After a year long struggle, the strike was successful as it established the first College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.
According to the LAUSD’s petition, the courses are intended to “inspire and motivate [the students] in their education, so that they learn their own history, engage actively in their own learning, and connect in meaningful ways to the larger community.” Bringing Ethnic Studies to the high school level would be essential to students who are still in the process of forming their identity and self-awareness. Rather than the courses being divisive, it allows students to build bridges and form an understanding of each other in order to build a stronger community.
On December 9th, SFUSD will be casting their votes. There will be a rally held at 5:00 P.M. in front of the SFUSD building and those in support are asked to wear red.
Featured image courtesy of Tran Trung Hieu.