Petition support needed to pilot a 9th grade Ethnic Studies course in the San Francisco Unified School District during the 2010-11 school year. Office of Learning Support and Equity/Humanities,
Academics and Professional Development
October 5, 2009
This petition requests your support in advocating for the funding to pilot a 9th grade Ethnic Studies course in the San Francisco Unified School District during the 2010-11 school year. The course will develop students self-respect, their respect for their families and communities, and for students of other racial, ethnic, national and cultural backgrounds by guiding them through an exploration of their individual, family and community identities and histories. Social justice and equity shape both the content and pedagogy of the course, which includes analysis of oppression and transformational resistance in California since the late 1700s and learning service projects that require students to collectively address social justice issues in their own lives. The Ethnic Studies course will provide students the knowledge and skills to be activists for social justice during their high school careers and afterward. It will equip students to advocate for their interests in the implementation of Beyond the Talk, the SFUSD strategic plan for social justice and equity.
The proposed pilot will include 250 students and five teachers at five high schools, as well as support staff from the SFUSD Office of Learning Support and Equity and the San Francisco State University College of Ethnic Studies. It includes a rigorous evaluation of the effects of the course on students academic growth and their attitudes toward education and social justice issues. The budget requested to implement the pilot program is $301,000 for the 2010-11 school year.
The SFUSD 9th grade ethnic studies course aims to educate students to be politically, socially, and economically conscious about their personal connections to local and global histories. By studying the histories of race, ethnicity, and culture students will cultivate respect and empathy for individuals and solidarity with groups of people locally, nationally and globally so as to foster active participation and community building. Honoring the historical legacy of social movements and mass struggles against injustice including the establishment of ethnic studies programs in public schools and university curricula, this course aims to provide an emancipatory education that will inspire students to critically engage in self-determination and seek social justice for all.
The curriculum and pedagogy of the SFUSD 9th grade ethnic studies course will deepen students political, social, and economic awareness and deepen their pride about their personal identities and connections to local and global histories. Through student-centered, interactive, and problem-posing teaching methods, along with projects where students will be encouraged to develop and compare the narratives of their families and communities, students will analyze the past and put it in the service of the present.
The curriculum will provide opportunities for students to study the histories of race, ethnicity, and culture and the intersections with other sociohistorical constructions such as gender, class, sexuality, generation, nationalism, and migration. This course will also include community leaders and organizers as guest speakers to insure the course content is directly connected to local issues. There will be assignments and activities that will be aimed to create community among the students in the classroom and field experiences that allow the community to be a classroom as well. Through the exploration of primary sources, interdisciplinary readings, research skill building, and challenging writing assignments, this course will build the academic skills of all students. The following are the main questions that this course aims to tackle : How can we examine, challenge, and transform the persistence of social, economic, and political inequality in our communities? How can we develop, implement, and evaluate a plan to act to eliminate the conditions of social inequality in our communities?
Through a critical and engaging ethnic studies curriculum and pedagogy, this course will birth life-long learners who will take stake in their education and maintain a commitment to social justice.