Every high school student enrolled in San Francisco public schools during the next school year just gained the opportunity to take an ethnic studies class, according to the San Francisco Unified School District.
The district’s board of education president Sandra Lee Fewer said in a statement released this week that the decision to offer ethnic studies classes to all San Francisco high school students was prompted by the hope that students will “develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.”
Fewer said ethnic studies classes allow San Francisco schools to help create “a more cohesive, peaceful world.”
Ethnic studies classes developed by teachers across the district are designed to encourage students to explore their personal identities and ethnicities.
The ethnic studies classes offered in high schools will also continue to emphasize reading, writing and analytical skills, according to district officials.
District Superintendent Richard A. Carranza, a former social studies teacher in Arizona, said he witnessed the depletion of Mexican American studies from the curriculum, although the majority of his students were in fact Mexican American.
Carranza said he is “proud that the very books being banned in Arizona are being celebrated here” in San Francisco.
While the first ethnic studies class was offered at a San Francisco high school in 2008, and more schools have since began offering them, by the 2014-2015 school year, all schools will offer the class.
High school students may be able to receive college credit for the ethnic studies course at various colleges and universities.
In addition to offering an ethnic studies class at all public high schools, the board of education’s resolution also encourages middle schools to infuse multiculturalism in the curriculum of students in grades six through eight.