Parents speak out against ethnic studies for all grade levels at San Diego Unified

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SAN DIEGO — A plan to implement ethnic studies for all students kindergarten through high school at San Diego Unified schools is underway as part of the district’s plan looking ahead at the next three years.

Even though ethnic studies is just a part of that plan, which is still being drafted, some local parents are already speaking out against it.

“I think we have over corrected. We’re trying to solve a problem, a real problem. We admit and agree with that, but this is not the solution,” said Karin De Jauregui.

De Jauregui joined a group of San Diego Unified parents and some involved with the Californians For Equal Rights Foundation spoke out Wednesday about the future implementation of ethnic studies for all grade levels in the district.

The demonstration happened before the Independent Citizens’ Oversight committee on Racial Justice and Equity met to discuss the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan or – “LCAP”. The committee is in place to hold district leaders accountable on making progress in a number of areas for the next LCAP encompassing 2021-2023.

“We have been working with our ethnic studies advisory committee, teachers within our system, and parents in our community who are helping us to draft our own framework for ethnic studies,” said committee member Wendy Ranck-Buhr.

While the curriculum is a work in progress, collecting feedback since 2019 up until spring of this year, people still wrote in comments and spoke out opposing the idea.

“They say, ‘No it’s ethnic studies,’ but it’s not. If you look into the curriculum itself, it teaches you your skin color is a problem. If you’re white, you’re the problem,” said San Diego Unified parent Jose Velazquez.

Besides ethnic studies, the next LCAP for SD Unified has commitments to a number of things including staff diversity and dismantling discrimination when it comes to grading and discipline.

“Things like GPA, we know that ethnic studies courses make GPA go up, so it’s not just ethnic studies course you take, but your math grades may go up. The thinking behind that is, that once you see yourself in the curriculum, and you recognize you’re important, and your stories are shown, that you see yourself as more valuable,” committee member Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen said.

The next San Diego Unified committee meeting on this topic is set for July 14.

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