Ethnic studies classes to get renewed attention

The LA Unified board heard from a national expert about the benefits of offering students ethnic studies classes. Nolan Cabrera, an academic from the University of Arizona, told a subcommittee of the board “We need to know how to get along across differences. People like to knock these courses like it’s an easy class, such as basket weaving, but it’s not.”

New research links ethnic studies classes to better attendance and higher GPAs for at-risk students.

Cabrera told of real life gains he has seen with Latino students:

In Arizona, pilot schools targeted low-performing students and gave them Mexican-American studies courses. The schools saw that attendance, class scores and graduation rates all improved, Cabrera said. Attendance went up by 21 percent, grade point averages went up by 1.4 points and students added 23 credits to their curriculum, Cabrera said.

For several school board members this information was a sermon to the choir. Members Scott Schmerelson, Steve Zimmer and George McKenna all affirmed the importance of implementing culturally responsive classes. 

Read the full story at LA Schools Report.