San Francisco ninth graders will be able to earn college credit for ethnic studies as part of a program to encourage students to plan for college, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We’re not really looking for the 4.4 (grade point average) students,” (San Francisco State Education Dean Jacob Perea) said. “We’re looking for the 2.1 or 2.2 students.”
The class will be taught at the same level as ethnic studies classes at SF State, Perea said. Students who don’t earn a “pass” will be withdrawn.
The ethnic studies course “encourages students to explore specific aspects of identity on personal, interpersonal and institutional levels and provides students with interdisciplinary reading, writing and analytical skills,” district officials said in a news release about the expanded pilot program.
“I don’t ever learn about the accomplishments and contributions of the people who look like me and the members of my family,” said Balboa High School freshman Monet Cathrina-Rescat Wilson during public comment at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “How can I know who I can be if I don’t know who I am? Ethnic studies provides me with the foundation to learn who I am.”
If Monet studies the accomplishments of other people with the same skin color or ethnicity, she hasn’t really learned anything about who she is or what she might accomplish. Barack Obama isn’t going to write her college term papers for her; Cesar Chavez won’t do her chem labs.
I don’t know how challenging ethnic studies classes are at SF State, but it seems unlikely that C students can do college-level reading, writing and analysis in ninth grade. I predict the ethnic studies course will ask students to discuss their experiences and identity issues and watch uplifting videos, but won’t require difficult reading or writing. The danger of calling it a college-level class is that kids think they’re preparing for college when they’re not.