Can Ethnic Studies Education Change Academic Outcomes for Minority Students? – Pacific Standard

Pilot programs in the Bay Area and beyond show promising signs, but implementing ethnic studies curriculum into classes is just one piece of the puzzle.

By Ellen Lee

(Photo: Sandia Labs/Flickr)

“Name 10 significant American historical figures.”

That’s the question Christopher Chatmon posed to his 10th grade history students on the first day of school several years ago. Each student jotted down a list. Then they teamed up in small groups to refine it. Finally, they shared their top 10 with the class.

His students at the San Francisco public high school where he previously taught were mostly African-American, Latino and Asian-American teenagers. Yet when the class stood back to examine the 40 historical figures on the board, they found that all but one were white men. This happened in more than one class. The only people of color who made the cut were either Rosa Parks or Martin…

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