The Ongoing Battle Over Ethnic Studies

March 07, 2016

By Melinda D. Anderson

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For more than 20 years ethnic studies in American public schools has slowly evolved and grown, with the value for students becoming clearer over time. Yet even as enthusiasts have called for more ethnic-studies programs—and the debate rages on over making the identities of black, Asian, Native American, and Latino students the centerpiece of class instruction—notably absent was data linking culturally relevant pedagogy specifically to measurable student gains. This changed this year with new research that shows ethnic-studies classes boost student attendance, GPAs, and high-school credits for a key student group—a pivotal finding that brings hard evidence to the dispute over adding these courses in public schools.

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CEPA Publications