High schools all over the United States are leaving out a large chunk of American history. American teenagers learn about a history that is Euro-centric and often don’t learn about the rich histories of other racial and ethnic groups. In California, 70 per cent of high schoolers are students of color. Yet only one in 15 schools offers ethnic studies curricula. In fact, most high school students in the US will not see an ethnic studies class, despite evidence that kids, especially kids of color, benefit greatly from learning diverse histories.
Ethnic studies is a controversial topic in high schools. The Texas board of Education recently voted to develop ethnic studies textbooks, but didn’t require schools to use them. And Arizona passed a law banning Mexican-American studies, but that case is being appealed in Federal Court.
Reporter Valerie Hamilton went to Animo South Los Angeles High School where ethnic studies is a required course, just like math and English.
Photo courtesy of reporter.
Valerie Hamilton is an independent producer. She reports on issues on and around the U.S-Mexico border for U.S. and European public media. She’s based in Los Angeles.