Ethnic Studies: Cultural Experiences in America

Textbook and Supplemental materials to come

The ethnic studies course developed by a coalition of teachers and administrators with the Los Alamitos Unified School District is an introductory course that will generally explore the complexity and diversity of the American experience, Deputy Superintendent Ondrea Reed explained to the board on Tuesday.

The course, entitled Ethnic Studies: Cultural Experiences in America, was approved by the board (see related story), though the textbook and supplemental materials have not yet been selected.

Reed again reminded the public that when the supplemental materials and textbook are selected, they will still require additional approval by the board of education.

Moreover, Reed reminded parents and the public at this week’s board meeting that they too will have an opportunity to weigh in on materials selected during a 30-day public comment/review process regarding the textbook and supplemental materials for the ethnic studies course.

“In that process, the community will also have an opportunity to engage,” she said.  Only “after the textbook sample materials have been on a 30-day community preview, we would ask the board” for final approval.

Once instituted, students will ultimately receive 10 credits for successfully completing the course as Reed said they will pursue UC and NCAA clearinghouse approvals.

She reiterated ethnic studies course is an elective. Students will not be required to schedule the class, as the new ethnic studies class will now become one of more than 100 course electives available to Los Al High students.

“Our proposed outcomes for ethnic studies and cultural experiences in America are really fourfold,” said Reed. Using historical documents and historical interpretation, students will be able to discuss their identities including race ethnicity, culture and nationality to describe the ways in which these categories are socially constructed and how they affect the student’s lives in the lives of others,” she said.

Students will also participate in grassroots community organization and explain the dynamics among internalized interpersonal and institutional oppression and resistance, said Reed.

Students will also explore the dynamics among internalized interpersonal and institutional oppression and resistance, she said.

Reed reinforced an earlier point made by Supt. Dr. Andrew Pulver, acknowledging again that many other school systems in Orange County already have similar ethnic studies courses.

“We did listen to the voices of students and parents who came forward,” the deputy superintendent said, adding that the LAUSD board asked us to begin a journey to develop a course “which many other districts across the County are currently operating.”

While the board is ultimately looking at a “diverse framework” on ethnic studies, the current course approved by the board is merely “an introductory course” based on “cultural experiences.”

The board voted 5-0 to approve the course.