Tag Archives: ethnic studies

The Shocking History of My People and My State

The Shocking History of My People and My State
I didn’t think racism was much of a problem until I took ethnic studies.
Though the country’s first ethnic studies department was born at University of California–Berkeley in 1969 and the first ethnic studies Ph.D. program was established there in the 1980s, the discipline is still widely derided on that campus. People tend to think ethnic studies classes are full of disgruntled brown people ranting about “the system,” “oppression,” and “white/male/class privilege.” A common response to saying you are an ethnic studies major goes something like “Oh, so you don’t care about having a job.”

I, too, saw myself as someone who would never take an ethnic studies class, but for a different reason. I’m Asian American, born and raised in San Francisco, and every school I ever attended there was majority-Asian. This can skew your racial identity just a little. Not only did I never encounter racism, I felt like Asians were past that. We were one-third of the city’s population and had established ourselves deep in the city’s politics, cultural institutions, and society. There was no question we were Americans. We spoke flawless English. We wore American brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger and ate at McDonald’s and watched MTV. We had white friends. Racism was dead—hoorah!

I learned otherwise when I arrived at Berkeley.

read more …….

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The Academic and Social Value of Ethnic Studies A Research Review

The Academic and Social Value of Ethnic Studies
A Research Review
Christine E. Sleeter (2011, NEA)

National Education Association
Research Department
Ronald D. Henderson, Director


What is the value of ethnic studies in schools and universities? Supporters say ethnic
studies promotes respect and understanding among races, supports student success, and
teaches critical thinking skills. Critics, however, increasingly question the relevance of
ethnic studies education programs in the post-integration era.

As issues involving ethnic studies take center stage in education policy and practice, the
National Education Association believes any discussion of the role of ethnic studies in
education and in student achievement rightfully begins by asking:

• What do we know from prior research and practice about ethnic studies,
especially as they relate to student achievement and narrowing achievement gaps?

• Are there ways to examine and talk about what we have learned that will enable
us to apply those lessons to creating and establishing ethnic studies programs that
support student and teacher learning?

The evolution of ethnic studies has sparked its share of controversy. NEA commissioned
a review of the research on ethnic studies programs and curricula—specifically the ways
in which such programs and curricula serve to improve student achievement and narrow
achievement gaps—to inform the discourse on this issue. This paper provides a research
base for discussing best practices for designing and implementing ethnic studies programs
and curricula that meet those targets.

We hope this review is useful for revisiting ideas and generating new thoughts about
the relationship between ethnic studies and student achievement. And we hope that our
efforts in this regard will help ensure a great public school for every student.

Dennis Van Roekel
National Education Association

read the article at http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/NBI-2010-3-value-of-ethnic-studies.pdf

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