November 13, 2017

Implementing Ethnic Studies

Eurocentric curricula can lead students of color to disengage from academic learning, contributing to academic achievement gaps between African American, American Indian/Alaska Native and Latino students and their white and Asian American peers

In late 2016, Meyer’s Equitable Education portfolio commissioned a literature review highlighting 11 dimensions of educational equity. The purpose was to provide up-to-date information on issues that emerged as important in the statewide equitable education survey conducted by Meyer in early 2016. Each of the 11 “chapters” is a resource to deepen educators’ and community-based organizations’ grounding in the research-based insights on educational equity. Although there is variation across the chapters based on the resources available in the field, each chapter is a response to the field as a whole and has unique sections. We believe this is an important resource for advocates, educators and potential and current Meyer grantees. Meyer’s Equitable Education portfolio aims to promote the success of all Oregon’s students; we hope this series is a resource for the task.

Attached here is a virtual copy of the third chapter, which highlights the importance of ethnic studies implementation and offers a “deep dive” into the academic and “gray” literature, emphasizing how it engages students of color and increases their academic success as evidenced by research.

This topic is of particular importance in Oregon as Gov. Kate Brown recently signed House Bill 2845, which directs the Oregon Department of Education to convene advisory groups to develop ethnic-studies standards into existing statewide social-studies curriculum. A similar bill, Senate Bill 13, which will develop curriculum for Oregon K-12 schools on tribal history and sovereignty, written from the Native American perspective, was also signed by Brown. Through a grant from Meyer, Western States Center coordinated a coalition of tribal and education advocates to inform Oregonians on the importance and benefits of such a curriculum. On both accounts, this bipartisan legislation fills a much-needed, and often overlooked, gap in Oregon’s public education system.

— Matt