Rebecca Al Haider
29 November 2018
Should Ethnic Studies Be Required in High Schools?
The Black Student Union and an alliance of student groups at San Francisco State
University known as the Third World Liberation Front, wanted the university to initiate an ethnic
studies program. They started what would become the longest strike in U.S history, fifty years
ago (Remnick). Today, California wants to become the first state to adopt legislation that would
make ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement. Some educators disagree that ethic
studies should be required in high school; however, it should be a requirement for many reasons.
One reason ethnic studies should be a requirement for students is to know more about
minorities. California has a large and diverse student population. According to the statistics,
approximately more than half of California's students are Latino. Around 25% of the students are
white. The other part of the remaining students is 9% Asian, 6% African American, or 3%
Filipino. Almost 3% of California students do not identify as any of the above (Diversity). Due
to the diversity of California, it is essential that students learn about various racial and ethnic
groups in the state. Furthermore, the textbooks in the schools focus on whites. This information
does not cover the history of non-whites; people of color cannot compare to Euro-American
history when their own history is not represented. Ethnic studies can stimulate students and help
them to feel represented in what they are learning. In addition, that can help students learn about
other cultures and the history of different ethnic groups that are part of society. Also, there are
big gaps in students' knowledge. According to Remnick, “On the 2010 National Assessment of
Educational Progress U.S. history exam, [of 12,000 high school seniors only 240] could
successfully answer even a simple question about the 1954 landmark Supreme Court school
integration case Brown vs. Board Education.” This shows the little knowledge that the students
have about the civil rights movement, due to the poor curriculum, it is a necessity the ethnical
Second, a program of ethnic studies also brings educational benefits. For example, the
student's grades increase. Through an analysis realized in 2016 at Stanford University,
researchers noted that ethnic studies courses were a great help for high school students; the
students were able to improve their educational results, attendance and credits obtained. The
students' GPA increased by 1.4 points, the attendance improved by 21% points and the class
credits improved by 23%, according to the results obtained by the researchers (Alejo and Lara).
According to this study, ethnic studies programs have had good results in the students.
Moreover, there is a good connection between taking courses in Mexican-American Studies
(MAS) and student achievement. Researchers conducted a study at...