Letter: Call for Ethnic Studies in Davis Schools

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At a recent Davis school board meeting, over 20 students, teachers and parents called for Davis Joint Unified School District to join neighboring Woodland Joint Unified and thirty other California school districts in implementing comprehensive Ethnic Studies in Davis’ diverse K-12 classrooms.

We are a new coalition of students, parents, teachers and educators inviting members of the Davis community to join us in making Davis schools more inclusive and equitable for all our communities. We support Ethnic Studies for all Davis students and training for teachers and staff to ensure students from marginalized communities are safe, supported and included in our schools.

Ethnic Studies  provides a more historically accurate and inclusive framework for learning critical thinking and problem solving, civic and cultural awareness, and collaboration. These are all skills integral to the recently developed Graduate Profile for DJUSD students. It serves as a bridge from the past to a more inclusive and just future, free from institutionalized racism, implicit bias, and xenophobia. If we are not actively and openly talking about racial differences, starting at an early age, we are contributing to what divides us.

When we teach through an Ethnic Studies lens, schools build their capacity to educate all learners effectively. Everyone benefits when all students and families are valued and affirmed for who they are. Studies show that kids thrive when they see themselves reflected in the curriculum.  For example, a 2016 Stanford University study showed that ethnic studies courses helped high school students increase their educational outcomes, attendance and credits earned.

Please join us in bringing 21st-century, cutting-edge Ethnic Studies to our schools and helping our students better prepare to live in a multicultural, globalized society. Call for a resolution. To sign up for information join our mailing list here: http://bit.ly/JoinCIDS or find us on Facebook: Creating Inclusive Davis Schools.

Submitted by: Anoosh Jorjorian, Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald, Emily Henderson, Lolita Echeverría-Greco, Juliette Beck and Justine Villanueva

Founding Members of Creating Inclusive Davis Schools


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17 thoughts on “Letter: Call for Ethnic Studies in Davis Schools”

  1. Jim Hoch

    “helping our students better prepare to live in a multicultural, globalized society” 

     

    If that is their goal they should dump Spanish and teach Mandarin and Hindi.

      1. Alan Miller

        I think JH’s point was who is taking a lead in economic growth.  But then again I could be wrong as it is someone else’s point.

        1. Jim Hoch

          Why “dump” Spanish?

          Spanish is closely aligned with English which makes it much less valuable. Mandarin, Hindi, and Arabic are much more valuable.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Jim… for many years, the Spain and England were mortal enemies… Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon to try to resolve… did not work out well…

          His daughter, Elizabeth, had to deal with the Spanish Armada… weather helped the English, big time (climate change?), as did Francis Drake and many others…

          England and Spain are physically separated by Le Manche (en francais)…

          Are you a teacher?  Hopefully, not a history instructor… Francis Drake is associated with CA (Drake’s Bay)…

          I’ve long ago “outed” myself as a Professional Civil Engineer (licensed), Surveyor (licensed), City Employee… oh, and I’m a taxpayer… and resident of Davis from 1974 to now (with a 2.5 year hiatus)…

          Laid my ‘creds’ out… call, or fold… my cards are on the table…

          Your “creds”?

          [Goes to the 2 “R”‘s as well..]

        3. Jim Hoch

          Your “creds”?

          I’ve studied both Mandarin and Spanish.

          I’ve traveled extensively, Mandarin, Hindi, and Arabic are much more valuable.

        4. Hiram Jackson

          “I’ve traveled extensively, Mandarin, Hindi, and Arabic are much more valuable.”

          If one doesn’t travel extensively, then are they still valuable?

  2. Alan Miller

    I approve as written, but I am not at all sure how ES is presented.  If it is incorporation into programs such as history, I’m all for it.  If there is ‘history’ plus ‘ethnic studies’ as separate courses, I am opposed.  History as I was ‘educated’, was clearly white-Christian-centric, and ridiculously cartoonified and cleansed.  I believe history must be taught from all angles, conquerors and conquered, majority and minority, light skinned and dark skinned, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, Satanist, Buddhist, Poly-Godist.  Of course, even teaching ‘white history’ we only learned the Mayflower through the Civil war.  The rest of history was pretty much lost on us.  So how to fit all that in is unclear.  But having two separate ‘white Christian history’ and ‘ethnic studies’ as if they are separate histories doesn’t cut it either.   It’s one history, many-many perspectives.

    1. John Hobbs

      ” Of course, even teaching ‘white history’ we only learned the Mayflower through the Civil war.  The rest of history was pretty much lost on us. ”

      You must have had some pretty crappy teachers and books, then. I had a couple of teachers who were real history buffs in high school and college and was inspired to learn the rest of the story.

      ” It’s one history, many-many perspectives.” True, but keep in mind that not all perspectives are valid. Those who are focused on their own ilea only think they have perspective.

      1. Alan Miller

        Those who are focused on their own ilea only think they have perspective.

        True, that’s why we have perfect people who decide who has perspective and who doesn’t.

  3. Ron Oertel

    Alan:  “If there is ‘history’ plus ‘ethnic studies’ as separate courses, I am opposed.”

    Me too.  It seems that some associated with the school district are in denial of fiscal realities, and declining enrollment.

  4. Bill Marshall

    As a ‘History’ wonk, and also someone who has tried to educate myself across racial, cultural, religious “lines” that some have drawn for their purposes…

    … Alan has nailed it… take that back… spiked it…

    I share the ‘points’ ( @~ 105% level)  even though I’m a WISEGC…

    All courses should be free of ethnic bias… but not clear what “ethnic studies” would be… encompassing, or divisive… I support the former…

    We use Hindu-Arabic numbers every day; our laws are based in the Jewish/Christian traditions, but much shared with the Islamic traditions; the banjo (music) came from Africa, but the Scots added a fifth string (a drone string) like the bagpipes; etc., etc., etc.

    Perhaps we should look forward to “Human Studies”, spread out thru all the curriculum, giving credit where credit is due… more and more, we are all “mutts”, genetically… and mutts generally have better personalities, less prone to ‘disease’ [works on many levels], more loving, and smarter…

    But to the main point, Alan pretty much nailed/spiked it, more eloquently than I…

    1. Alan Miller

      We use Hindu-Arabic numbers every day; our laws are based in the Jewish/Christian traditions, but much shared with the Islamic traditions; the banjo (music) came from Africa, but the Scots added a fifth string (a drone string) like the bagpipes; etc., etc., etc.

      Well, that’s all cultural appropriation, and all the things you listed above must be banished and cleansed from our society.

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