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Poll: Should Schools Teach Ethnic Studies?

A group of students and teachers from Napa recently traveled to Tucson, where the school district is suspending its Mexican-American ethnic studies courses. Question of the week: Should ethnic studies be taught in schools? Take our poll and let us know.

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Napa Patch blogger and community organizer Julio Soriano recently posted about how a group of Napa students and teachers washed cars, sold tamales and did other work to raise money for an activism trip to Tucson, where the state of Arizona is requiring the school district to suspend its Mexican-American ethnic studies program.

In "," Soriano—who also is a member of Napa Valley Ethnic Studies Advocates, although he did not travel with the group—writes,

Tucson has a nationally renowned and nationally recognized Ethnic Studies program that has helped student success grow and narrowed the educational achievement gap. Why has the school board and the state decided to ban Ethnic Studies?

Members of the Tucson School Board and the Arizona government say that Ethnic Studies teaches subversion, victimization and anti-American values.

But what if Ethnic Studies helped develop the student’s social maturity, self-confidence and self-awareness needed to effectively engage with our diverse immediate & global communities? NVESA believes in the latter. Ethnic Studies teaches (how) to live in a diverse community by recognizing the culture and history of people and thus work towards a more truthful and inclusive history of our country. 

Our Napa Patch question of the week is: What's your opinion on ethnic studies courses in public schools? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

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Nancy Warrick Kerson July 17, 2012 at 01:33 AM
If history and social studies fairly included women and minorities, there would be no need for Ethnic Studies, Women's Studies, Black Studies, Hispanic Studies, etc. but since textbooks still focus primarily on white males and their issues and actions, we still need these.
Lidia Esq July 18, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Definatly yes! Anything that can help narrow the achievement gap should be treated positively
Mark Mathews August 14, 2012 at 12:21 AM
"Ethnic Studies teaches subversion, victimization and anti-American values?" Thanks, I could not have typed it better myself...
Xulio Soriano November 14, 2012 at 08:48 AM
Hello Mark. Could you elaborate on the text you quoted from me? Also, have you ever taken and course in Ethnic Studies? I am always interested in hearing people's perspectives and experiences.
King Jarvis IV November 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Of course.
Mark Mathews November 15, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Took a long time to ask that question. Just get back from the border did you? Took a long time this go around did it? It is what it is; I am only supporting the first choice of the old poll to this article.
vocal-de-local November 15, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Have any of you ever heard of ethnocentricity? Basically it's a tendency to judge other ethnic groups from a fairly narrow perspective of your own ethnics. This can occur in any ethnic group although I think people tend to point the finger at WASPS. And yes, WASPS tend to be ethnocentric but so do Hispanics and probably Middle Easterners. I see far less ethnocentricity in Blacks, Asian/Filipinos, Eskimo's and the far Northern European countries such as Denmark. When you see a tug of war over ethnic studies between the two predominant groups - WASPS and Hispanics, underneath it all is an ethnocentric tug of war to gain curriculum control. This is the reason that ALL ethnic studies should be included - Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Hispanic and yes, even European cultures. America is much more than Hispanic and WASPS. No one cultural studies program should dominate (until students reach college level).
Alex Shantz November 15, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Ethnic studies absolutely needs to be incorporated into school curriculum. Research proves ethnic studies closes the achievement gap. If we value student success we will include ethnic studies into our curriculum so everyone can succeed. We are also living in an increasingly diverse society. Our curriculum needs to reflect this diversity. For too long, white heterosexual male narratives have dominated school curriculum. Its time for a counter-narrative. Its time the voices from all historically marginalized groups were heard. Its time to bring an ethnic studies into our Schools I am so glad to see the ethnic studies advocates working hard to make sure all students have an opportunity to take ethnic studies courses.
Alex Shantz November 15, 2012 at 07:44 AM
"Just get back from the border did you?" That's so racist. Why is it so difficult for you to answer a simple question? This is why I personally don't spend much time trying to dialog with people like Mark Mathews. They don't want dialog. They want to impose their paranoid delusions onto the rest of us.

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