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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

It's time to dump 'ethnic studies' mandates

Ethnic studies will be offered in all California high schools by the 2025-26 school year, and will be a graduation requirement by 2030, reports Molly Gibbs for Bay Area News Service. But what will be taught?


Districts are choosing between the state's model curriculum, which calls for “multiple perspectives” on political issues, and a very left-wing "liberated" version written by ethnic studies professors.


"Ethnic studies," as taught in universities, is ideological, explains reports Dana Goldstein in the New York Times.


Describing "various ethnic and racial groups' experiences" is "a bland form of multiculturalism," said Dylan Rodriguez, an ethnic studies scholar at the University of California, Riverside. Ethnic studies should be “a critical analysis of the way power works in societies.”


The model curriculum was a hard-fought compromise, writes Gibbs. The original draft, written by the professors, was rejected for anti-semitism, politically correct jargon and ignoring Jewish, Armenian, Sikh and other communities. Only non-white groups -- which included Arabs but not Jews -- were included. The final draft won approval by including more groups, toning down the anti-capitalist rhetoric and eliminating references to Palestine.


But it's just a model. The original draft -- now "liberated" -- has been adopted in some districts. The curriculum "largely excludes the histories of ethnic groups who may be considered White," writes Gibbs. It's not diverse and certainly not inclusive.


Palestine is back: Israel and the U.S. are the prime examples of "settler colonialism" and must be excoriated. (Most people on earth would have to pick up and move back to where their forebears came from if we took the idea seriously, Bret Stephens points out in the New York Times. A "nation of immigrants" is a nation of land-grabbing expropriators.)


"Liberated also focuses heavily on activism in its student assignments," Gibbs writes. "For one lesson on redlining and U.S. housing discrimination, the course has students write a persuasive letter to county leaders calling for reparations."


I think the ethnic studies requirement should be abandoned. It doesn't have to be done badly, but it probably will be in many places. And there will be lawsuits. Lots of lawsuits. If enough high school students want a Chicano Studies or Asian-American Studies or African-American Studies course, make it an option. If they'd rather take computer science or financial literacy or auto mechanics, leave room in the schedule for that.


Here's Bill Maher on the fact that things change and people sometimes move to other places.



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6 Comments


mrmillermathteacher
mrmillermathteacher
Jun 24

The concern in these classes is the same as that for Biblical stories--the true believers will make them activist or highly-slanted classes. It's probably easier to restrain and penalize the Christians than the race hustlers, though.

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Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Jun 22

Homeschool. Support subsidized escape options. Let the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel pull a Bud Lite and kill their brand ("public schools"). The sooner, the better. The US really needs a competitive market in Education services.

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tuttleforbes
Jun 21

The US has moved a country mile away from reading, writing, and arithmetic competencies. Are graduating students--on average--better off in these basic skills-based subjects? The trends look poor as fashionable policies such as grade inflation, social promotion, diplomas as a record of attendance rather than learning outcomes, etc.


The evidence is obvious that basics go wanting--while these ethnic studies curiosities gain currency with political activists inside and outside schools.

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Craig Randall
Craig Randall
Jun 21

The amount of money I'd have if I had a dollar for every recent HS graduate that asked me these questions over the past five years: 1. I wish they'd have taught me personal finance and filing a tax return = $7,306 2. I wish I knew how to write a letter to my county leaders calling for reparations = $0 But why serve the needs of the students when you have a grievance agenda that needs airing?

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Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Jun 20

Because of economic changes, millions of Latin Americans are moving to El Norte to settle; but these new colonies should be disestablished unless they are being established in line with the rule of law, while those residing here legally are better off electing to study computer science than social studies, which last is a more plausible requirement than ethnic studies, a potential power base for the Marxist professors in California's state university systems, which should be spun off from an overreaching Sacramento governor.

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