Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Strong Recommendation from the California Badass Teachers Association 

November 7th, 2014

  The California chapter of the Badass Teachers Association (BAT) is a coalition of over 1,300 educators, parents, and community activists working to defend public education and ensure that every child in the state of California has an equitable education focused on authentic learning, not high-stakes testing.

 To this end, the California BATs advocate for the inclusion of an A-G approved Ethnic Studies class as a requirement for high school graduation and join with the California Teachers Association in its October 2014 Statewide Council resolution to promote cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity.

 In supporting the effort to make Ethnic Studies a California high school graduation requirement, the California BATs strongly recommend that school districts must be given the flexibility to create and implement curriculum based on the context of their programs and the strengths of their teachers.

  Ethnic Studies grew out of the civil rights movement's demands for a fully inclusive and culturally relevant education. However, inclusion of multicultural curricula, including Ethnic Studies, eroded as the demands of the standards movement and high-stakes testing narrowed the curriculum, forcing teachers to “teach to the test.”

Our increasingly diverse nation and state requires cultural competency from all its residents in order to best function. Ethnic Studies is a key component of a forward-looking, relevant education and a strong tool in the fight against racism. With the high school graduation requirement in place, all students will learn about previously marginalized cultures in order to appreciate how they helped shape and define California arts, culture, history, and contemporary society.

 According to a research review commissioned by the National Education Association in 2011, there is considerable evidence that well- designed and well-taught Ethnic Studies curricula have positive academic and social benefits. The benefits of Ethnic Studies include an increased awareness of one's own cultural background, the opportunity to foster understanding of and appreciation for the many cultures and ethnicities found in California, and enhanced self-esteem and academic success.

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