Ethnic Studies to Expand at CCUSD

At the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, the Board received several presentations about district-wide programs, including the Ethnic Studies Curriculum.  The continued growth of Ethnic Studies puts CCUSD in the forefront of inclusivity, in a moment when many districts are choosing to restrict the free flow of ideas. 

Four years ago, Culver City High School started a formal ethnic studies program with one Ethnic Studies elective, (originally Intercultural Literature, now titled Ethnic Literature) offered to 11th and 12th graders. CCHS is now in the planning stages of expanding the curriculum to a full Ethnic Studies pathway with courses in Social Science, English Language Arts and Visual & Performing Arts.

The presentation to the school board by Rosemary Quintaro and Dr. Kimberly Young, noted that “The research from the [National Education Association]  shows that culturally meaningful and relevant curriculum, such as Ethnic Studies, helps students develop the skills sets to engage in critical conversations about race, and can have a positive impacts on students engagement in education and their achievement. 

“Rather than being divisive, Ethnic Studies helps students to bridge differences that already exist in experiences and perspective.”

This expansion includes a one-semester required course for 9th graders, beginning next school year 2022-2023. One semester of Ethnic Studies will be a requirement for graduation for the class of 2026.

From the National Education Association, “Studies also confirm that students who participate in ethnic studies are more academically engaged, develop a stronger sense of self-efficacy and personal empowerment, perform better academically and graduate at higher rates.”

The report from the NEA was enthusiastic about the effect on education. “An established body of research affirms what educators have long known intuitively: interdisciplinary ethnic studies, or the study of the social, political, economic and historical perspectives of our nation’s diverse racial and ethnic groups, help foster cross-cultural understanding among both students of color and white students and aids students in valuing their own cultural identity while appreciating the differences around them.”

The CCCUSD curriculum is rapidly becoming a model program for other schools across the country.

Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang

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