Submitted By crasgado
Words: 703
Pages: 3

Ethnic Studies: An inclusive system of education for all students
By: Cecilia Rasgado

The United States is a nation of immigrants, with a population composed of people with various ethnicities and cultures. As the demographic face of our nation continues to change and rapidly grow in numbers, it’s evident that our education system needs to adjust to these transformations by providing a higher quality education for all students. Ethnic studies, the study race and ethnicity, is very uncommon in schools across the country and usually not available till high school as an elective but not required. Requiring ethnic studies in schools at any grade level can benefit students of all races and ethnic backgrounds academically as well as socially. Educational institutions across the country continue to highlight the contributions of the dominant group, higher income people who tend to be white, and has yet to reconstruct its system to include all marginalized people. Students of color often disengage from academic learning because they find the curriculum in school to be unrelatable to their lives and not pertain to their cultural background. Therefore, they “do not know how to take the initiative to become responsible for their own education, have input on what they learn, or participate in the construction of their own knowledge” (Cammarota and Romero 19). This does more than silencing their knowledge and intellectual capacities, it erases their potential as human beings. Ethnic studies should “exist in part because students of color have demanded an education that is relevant, meaningful, and affirming of their identities” (Sleeter 7). Ethnic studies can socially benefit our society as a whole by creating a better understanding of one another and greater awareness of the injustices that continue to exist in our country. “There is considerable research evidence that… ethnic studies curricula have positive academic and social outcomes for students…both students of color and white students have been found to benefit from ethnic studies” (Sleeter 8). By challenging students to reconsider how American society treats subordinates groups of people, it causes positive action for change and more inclusion in the community. These “lessons teaching about racism…improve racial attitudes among white children, allowing them to see how racism affects everybody and offering them a vision for addressing it” (Sleeter). A harmonious America can move forward and advance more than social structures with other issues if we accept our differences. In Arizona, the drop out rate has been disproportionately high for minority and poor students prior to ethnic studies. Students who were on the verge of dropping out began participating in schools and the disturbing trends decreased with record high college attendance. Clearly, “by reflecting the realities of students’ lives, including