Ethnic studies shortchanges students

During the 2015-16 session, the California Legislature passed AB2016, which formalized an ethnic studies curriculum for public middle and high schools in the state.  Fortunately, it was subsequently rejected and tabled until next year (“Why ethnic studies is essential for a realistic California education,” The San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 25).

I say that because what all students need today are the knowledge and skills that have helped other generations succeed.  Telling students that they are not to blame for their situation is certainly well meaning, but it conveys the message that they are victims.  I question if a victim mentality serves students well after graduation.

There are ways to engage students that do not portray them as victims.  For example, what about teaching students about those who have overcome their disadvantages and have gone on to succeed in their respective fields?  There are many such case studies.  But instead, most ethnic studies do just the opposite and dwell on injustices.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

2 Replies to “Ethnic studies shortchanges students”

  1. This ethnic studies as described in the article looks like political posturing with little connection to the students’ real-world needs.

    Yes — there’s a lot in traditional secondary school English and social studies curricula that has little/no relevance to students’ real-world needs and that could/should be replaced with subject matter that students do need to learn (and that society generally needs the students to learn). And, some of that new subject matter can/should include ethnic info (positive and negative) that is traditionally omitted.

    But, in revising the secondary school curricula, the focus should be on providing students with what they need to learn in order to be functioning adults/parents/employees/citizens. Ethnic studies/ethnic histories are only a tiny part of such curricula.


  2. Labor Lawyer: I fail to understand how ethnic studies will help prepare students for the world after graduation. Teachers have enough on their plate without teaching students that they are victims, which is what ethnic studies as proposed will do.


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