Elk Grove Unified School District To Consider Adding Ethnic Studies Classes To Curriculum
Following in the footsteps of the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) is working toward adding an ethnic studies program to its curriculum by the 2020-2021 school year.
In 2016, SCUSD began its first year of ethnic studies which has continued to grow throughout the district. As a result, the graduating class of 2023 will have a mandatory class that must be taken to fulfill graduation requirements. Additionally, surveys from Sacramento students that have taken the ethnic studies course to reflect a greater sense of community, belonging, and understanding for their fellow classmates.
The demographics in schools has drastically shifted throughout the years. More specifically at EGUSD, 27% of students are Hispanic or Latino, 19% are white, 25% are Asian, and 12% are African American.
EGUSD is also working with the executive director of the History Project at UC Davis as well as educational leaders from SCUSD and Sonoma to put together a summer training program to support teachers that will one day be assigned to teach an ethnic studies course.
EGUSD has a timeline in place for making ethnic studies a part of its regular curriculum in the near future. As of December 12, 2019, the History/Social Science Steering Committee approved of instructional materials for the course. As a result, the materials will be reviewed by the Curriculum Council on January 7, 2020. If they pass at this level, they will then move to the Board of Education for final approval. Moreover, ethnic studies could be a part of the EGUSD curriculum by the 2020-2021 school year.
Xanthi Pinkerton explained the rationale behind the new Ethnic Studies course. “The purpose of the new Ethnic Studies course is to deconstruct the experiences of people of color (particularly the ethnic groups in each classroom) to both validate their lived experiences and articulate the socio-political dynamics that are intuitive to them meanwhile guiding them to seek ancestral and indigenous practices that generate new power dynamics and self-determination. This class will especially address the socio-emotional aspect of self-determination including self-awareness, self-respect, empathy, and responsibility. Students will analyze the intersectionality between ethnicity, culture, nationality, gender, and sexuality through concepts of indignity, otherness, generational differences, social justice movements, and economics.”