California Educator

September 2015

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Teresa Worley Strombotne Yes. Our schools and our world are increasingly diverse. Well-de- signed ethnic studies courses could promote understanding and positive communication among diverse ethnic groups at our schools. Martha Infante Events in Charlotte and Fergu- son, and comments by presidential candidates show ethnic studies is not only needed, but needed direly. We waste so much money on iPads, bad software, and lawsuit settlements, when we could be spending that money on quality arts, language and ethnic studies courses. Let's not relegate ethnic studies to an elective class. It's important enough to [be] a condition for graduation. Dianne Edwards Does this mean the num- ber of required units to graduate would be increased? Would the class take the place of another requirement? Which ethnicities would be included? It will be interesting to watch how this progresses. I would prefer it be kept as an elective. Rosalba Adame-Leon Yes, ethnic studies will connect students of color and students that immigrated here to understand and respect culture and develop a sense of self. This should start in middle school where we begin to lose student interest in learning and school, where they join gangs because they find familiar affili- ations. Ethnic studies will fill the gap. Bernadette Weissmann If we are doing our job at the secondary level, ethnic studies should [already] be integrated. We have a World Geography and Cultures class and a Living Skills class freshman year. Honestly — what would you take off the plate? We went with A-G requirements for all students a few years back, and there is barely any room for an elective. One more academic class and I think our dropout/give-up rate would skyrocket. Michelle Totra No. This course would [be] more effective kept as an elective. Tamie Lutz [We] need more electives and vocational education classes. Janet Lee No, there are enough required courses as is. Ethnic studies should be integrat- ed. Wasn't it a part of multicultural teaching in our teaching program? [It] can be offered as an elective....With NGSS and Common Core math and English, college expectations for foreign language, CTE, and vocational education — we want to add this too? Sandy Deemer Harra Yes, ethnic studies should become a requirement for graduation. The curriculum [should] be carefully thought out by a team of well-trained ethnic studies teachers and reviewed by a panel of college professors to encourage diversity and equity. Pat Trelinski [Students] should take a class that helps them understand we are all differ- ent and need to embrace those differences by learning about each other. It should incorporate zero tolerance on bullying, threatening, etc. It does concern me that so many teachers are being RIF'd for needed subjects and jobs within the schools. Ramzy Earle Many families are multicultural/ multilingual. Exposing students to the truth regarding other cultures will promote better un- derstanding, which in turn leads to a stronger United States (emphasis on "united," as we need to be more united to be the truly strong country we should be). Holiday Woodward Yes! Ethnic studies leads to cultural literacy, an understanding that differ- ences should be respected in a global society. Cultural literacy was once part of geography lessons at the elementary level. Bring back Civ- ics while you're at it, so that our young people will know what it means to be an American. Julie Gordon Yes — and integrated as much as possible within every core curriculum! (Coming from the perspective of a 12-year ELA/ELD California HS and then middle school teacher who is first-generation American-born Filipino with mixed Black and Filipino kids.) Ethnic studies courses for secondary students are becoming required in some school districts (see story on page 44). CTA supports AB 101, a bill that promotes elective ethnic studies courses across the state. We asked Facebook readers for their thoughts. Should ethnic studies courses be required? P O I N T / C O U N T E R P O I N T Jose Lara of Ethnic Studies Now Coalition was recognized as the 2015 NEA Social Justice Activist of the Year. See ethnic studies story on page 44. 22 Perspectives

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