Why I Enthusiastically Support Ethnic Studies and Community History and Why BATS Should as Well

The reason I became an education activist was because the Community History projects I was doing in Bronx Schools were pushed out by excessive testing and the NYC DOE’s decision to begin rating and closing schools on the basis of student test scores. Those projects created immense enthusiasm among teachers, students, school staff and families. Their replacement by drilling for tests based on state mandated curricula was a terrible loss for all concerned.
It is also significant that almost no charter schools emphasize ethnic studies and community history because they promote a critical vantage point on the economic and political elites who are the main funders and supporters of those schools. It would be most unfortunate if BATS did not give its most enthusiastic support to ethnic studies, in Los Angeles and around the nation. Supporting Ethnic Studies is one of the most important way supporters of public education of claiming the moral high ground that Corporate School Reformers have relinquished by pushing a “one size fits all” mode of curriculum and pedagogy.
And in California, Charter maven Marshall Tuck also opposes Ethnic Studies, Shouldn’t that tell us something?
Ethnic Studies and Community History, along with the Arts, are two of the most important vehicles we have to revitalize public education and bring teachers, students and families together. They create excitement, build community, and nurture critical thinking.