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Why the Right Hates Ethnic History

Studies have shown that including Ethnic Studies as part of the core curriculum has a secondary effect of improving overall participation and academic achievement. Of course the usual Republican right wing racist suspects don’t like that…

The Ongoing Battle Over Ethnic Studies

A new study suggests that such courses can dramatically elevate the achievement of at-risk students. But is that enough proof that they’re worth the investment?

In Tucson, Arizona, Che Guevara posters and Paulo Freire’s The Pedagogy of the Oppressed are the spark that set off a heated conflict over ethnic studies that has made national headlines for years. For critics, including two former state schools superintendents, the Mexican American studies program in the Tucson Unified School District is little more than divisive propaganda: “ethnic chauvinism” with a “very toxic effect … in an educational setting.” For supporters, reading literature on Chicano history in America and critical race theory is intended to close cultural gaps in the curriculum—and to close academic gaps for the district’s Hispanic students.

The intense controversy in Tucson over ethnic studies—best described as the study of the social, political, economic, and historical perspectives of America’s diverse racial and ethnic groups—might seem like a new debate, but it’s over a century in the making. The educator and historian W.E.B. DuBois as early as the 1900s called for teaching black history in U.S. schools to challenge the prevailing narrative of black inferiority. More than half a century later, Freedom Schoolsemerged out of the 1960s civil-rights movement as alternative schools with a curriculum steeped in black culture and lessons drawn from black students’ lived experiences. About the same time the discipline of ethnic studies ignited on college campuses, as students of color considered the Eurocentric dominance in textbooks and lessons, and demanded multicultural courses.

Eventually the concept trickled down to K-12 schools. In 1994, Berkeley High in California became one of the first high schools in the country to offer ethnic studies, the program facing opposition even in a town known to be a bastion of progressive thinking. More recently, Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest school district, added an ethnic-studies course to its high-school graduation requirements. (Interestingly, the country’s higher-education pioneer in the field is now struggling to stay afloat as budget cuts threaten the small, iconic program at San Francisco State University.)

For more than 20 years ethnic studies in American public schools has slowly evolved and grown, with the value for students becoming clearer over time. Yet even as enthusiasts have called for more ethnic-studies programs—and the debate rages on over making the identities of black, Asian, Native American, and Latino students the centerpiece of class instruction—notably absent was data linking culturally relevant pedagogy specifically to measurable student gains. This changed this year with new research that shows ethnic-studies classes boost student attendance, GPAs, and high-school credits for a key student group—a pivotal finding that brings hard evidence to the dispute over adding these courses in public schools….Read the Rest Here

 

 

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UN Inspectors Terrified By American Schools Treatment of Minorities

Welcome to the Third World…

U.N. Experts Seem Horrified By How American Schools Treat Black Children

American schools are hotbeds for racial discrimination, according to a preliminary report from a group of United Nations experts.

The U.N.’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent traveled around the U.S. last month to learn more about the various structural barriers and challenges African-American face. The group, which plans to release its full report in September, has given the media its preliminary findings, including several recommendations about reducing inequality in the U.S. education system.

The overall findings — which touch on topics of police brutality, school curriculum and mass incarceration — are bleak. African-Americans tend to have lower levels of income, education and food security than other Americans. This reflects “the level of structural discrimination that creates de facto barriers for people of African descent to fully exercise their human rights,” says the group’s statement.

Such gaps start early in life, the U.N. notes. Students of color are more likely than white children to face harsh punishments, such as suspension, expulsion and even school-based arrests. These disciplinary actions can lead to a phenomenon called the “school-to-prison pipeline,” by which children get pushed out of the education system and into the criminal justice system.

The U.N. experts also expressed concern about mass school closures, which typically target predominantly black neighborhoods, as has been the case in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia. Experts note high levels of school segregation, which “appears to be nurtured by a culture of insufficient acknowledgement of the history of enslavement and the Jim Crow Law.”

Finally, the statement highlights inadequate and inconsistent school curricula that insufficiently cover slavery and colonization.

The curriculum in some states “fails to adequately address the root causes of racial inequality and injustice,” according to the group. “Consequently, this contributes to the structural invisibility of African-Americans.”

To help address these issues, the U.N. panel recommends abolishing on-campus policing and making sure curricula “reflect appropriately the history of the slave trade.”

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in American Genocide

 

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