Wednesday, January 25, 2017

As Victories Mount, Ethnic Studies Advocates Flex Their Muscles

As Victories Mount, Ethnic Studies Advocates Flex Their Muscles:

As Victories Mount, Ethnic Studies Advocates Flex Their Muscles

ethnic studies

A bill that would have extended Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies and social justice to its community colleges and universities has failed, ending an attack on ethnic studies and academic freedom that faculty, students, and other advocates called “completely and utterly disgusting,” and runs counter to prevailing trends around ethnic studies.
The bill would have cut state funding for community colleges and public universities that teach courses, or host events and activities, that “promote division, resentment or social justice” toward another race, gender, religion, political affiliation or social class.
Writer Shaun King called it an effort to protect “white supremacy and cultural hegemony.” Meanwhile, in other states, ethnic studies is expanding, buoyed by research showing its positive effects on student attendance, grades, and other indicators of learning.
This, of course, isn’t Arizona’s first foray into ethnic studies. In 2010, the state banned ethnic studies in K12 public schools, taking aim at a popular, decade-old Mexican American studies program in Tucson. The then-state superintendent said it encouraged resentment of White people, while educators said it helped close achievement gaps and encouraged Latino students to pursue higher education.
While that law still faces a court challenge in federal appeals court, ethnic and social-justice activists were galvanized by the attack. Tucson students chained themselves to chairs during a school board meeting. Some were arrested. Their resistance spread. “The ban in Arizona lit a fire for everyone here to think, ‘Hey, we should be doing something about this,’” said Jose Lara, a Los Angeles social-studies teacher and 2015 winner of the NEA Human and Civil Rights Social Justice Award, to The Atlantic.
“Keeping students from learning about their own history is institutional racism, and as educators we have a responsibility to do something about it. Ethnic studies is what anti-racism education looks like in the classroom,” Lara told an NEA audience in 2015.
In the wake of the Arizona ban, ethnic studies spread to Texas and California. In Texas, in 2015, the State Board of Education voted to include Mexican American studies as an elective in the state curriculum. By 2015, at least five California As Victories Mount, Ethnic Studies Advocates Flex Their Muscles:


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