From: National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME)
Re: Statement of Support for Ethnic Studies in the Los Angeles Unified School District
The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) supports the campaign (http://www.EthnicStudiesNow.com) to make Ethnic Studies a graduation requirement in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
Since its founding almost a quarter century ago NAME has advocated for equity and justice, particularly for groups most underserved in our public school systems. We believe that education can rise to the highest levels of quality and equity when it is centered on multicultural curriculum and instruction. That is, education can offer a strong foundation for building communities that reflect core American values of democracy and ideals of educational success for all children when it (a) reflects and values the many ways that we are similar to and different from one another, (b) prepares all children to flourish in their personal and professional lives amidst this diversity, and (c) refuses to ignore the inequities that often accompany differences along lines of race, ethnicity, nation, social class, gender, sexuality, language, religion, disability, and other dimensions. Such ideals manifest in the core goals and principles of Ethnic Studies, and as such, we support the proposal for LAUSD to make Ethnic Studies a graduation requirement.
Ethnic Studies programs contribute to the educational enterprise significantly in a number of ways. For ethnic groups that have historically been marginalized in schools and society, Ethnic Studies fosters a more positive sense of self, which in turn affects engagement and improves academic performance and social engagement. For all ethnic groups, Ethnic Studies fills deep gaps in traditional curriculum, offering to all students, regardless of ethnic identity, an opportunity to learn about more diverse experiences and perspectives, ask different kinds of questions, and grapple with more contradictions and complexities. Ethnic Studies is essential for any student to flourish as well as to develop critical thinking skills that can address the increasingly complex problems in our diverse society.