Monday, March 01, 2010

High School Freshmen To Get College Credit For Ethnic Studies Class

It's in San Francisco, of course.

San Francisco high school students, just months out of middle school, can start earning San Francisco State college credit this fall through a ninth-grade ethnic studies course.

Currently, five ethnic studies courses are offered at three high schools, but they offer only high school credits. The school board voted to expand the ethnic studies program last week, increasing the number of courses to at least 10 sections at five high schools.

My favorite quote was this:

"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."


Loni said...

I'm rather dumbfounded as to what exactly you object to about this. American students certainly spend a good chunk of time researching the distant history of white Europeans, even though the percentage of people who would only call themselves white exclusively is decreasing. Furthermore, we learn these "ethnic studies" under the umbrella guise of "History".

And just how inclusive is the average history class? Understandably, every teacher finds it difficult to cram the important parts in, but then why does knowing the name of every U.S. President take precedent over learning about people like Ida B. Wells or Ella Baker, whose presences had arguably greater effects on America than say, the election of William Harrison.

As someone who insists that minorities not dwell on the instances of oppression in their cultural history, why maintain that we should only learn about African History in the context of Slavery and why should we only know of Africa now in the context of AIDS and Genocide?

Finally, why are you as an educator denouncing the possibility of learning more than the average high school class provides? Ethnic Studies has been a staple of most academic institutions since the 50's. Moreover, it is a fascinating lens through which to view the world.

Darren said...

History is history, regardless of the color of the people in the "story".

"Dwelling" on instances of oppression does nobody except race-baiters any good. I've never insisted that we not learn about instances of oppression, and am somewhat offended that you would imply that I believe in some "white" history and that everyone else should "deal with it".

I object to this course on the simple reasoning that if high school freshmen, by and large, were capable of college work, then clearly college standards are too low. And look at the kids they're choosing--do these sound like college-ready students to you?

I'd suggest that rather than ascribing to me nefarious motivations, you might consider asking my motivations up front rather than at the end of what comes across to me as a liberal little hissy-fit.

Love you, Loni :-)

Loni said...

I figured you had made your main objection clear when you quoted yourself at the end of the post. I'm still not sure as to how I'm misreading it. As far as high school freshmen doing college student work...let them have a go at it. It could reveal how impressive the students are or how unimpressive the university is. Either way we learn something. Besides, I took a college course as a freshman and did alright.

And don't be so quick to judge. While still liberal on issues such as this, I seem to have quite a bit of Libertarianism in me these days...

Darren said...

You took a college class as a freshman? Were you a 2.1 GPA student like the ones in this class?