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What is the Ethnic Studies for All Initiative?

by Ron Espiritu, Ethnic Studies Coordinator at CNCA 
A growing body of research from education scholars shows that an Ethnic Studies pedagogy taught at the K-12 level exposes students to an empowering and academically rigorous curriculum. This curriculum has proven to have positive academic and social benefits to students of all races and ethnicities.
Ethnic Studies incorporates culturally relevant, social justice, community responsive and other pedagogical approaches with a focus on literacy and critical thinking skills. Ethnic Studies has a 50 year history in the United States with high school students in East LA demanding Mexican-American studies in their schools in 1968 and college students in that same year creating the first college Ethnic Studies programs at San Francisco State University.
Recently school districts across the state of California, Texas, Arizona, and other cities and states have been expanding K-12 Ethnic Studies programs because community members are demanding these studies be a part of their educational experience. California has incorporated Ethnic Studies into the new Social Studies Framework and the state is currently creating model Ethnic Studies classes. California Assembly Bill 2772 is a piece of legislation currently under consideration that would make Ethnic Studies a high school graduation requirement for all students in California. Camino Nuevo Charter Academy is leading the effort in California for charter school networks to also create Ethnic Studies programs.
The Ethnic Studies For All Initiative at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy has spent the 2017-18 school year implementing Ethnic Studies curriculum in grades K-12 in all academic disciplines. Led by a cross-campus Ethnic Studies Task Force, 40 participating teachers and administrators from 6 CNCA campuses have collaborated closely with participating teachers and engaged in professional development led by expert scholars. The participating teachers have created Ethnic Studies units and lessons in their classrooms which will be compiled so that they are available for all CNCA teachers.
We are moving into year two of our five year Strategic Action Plan and we hope to expand our program to more participating teachers next year. In five years, every student at CNCA will have access to this rigorous, empowering curriculum.
For more information about the research showing the effectiveness of Ethnic Studies please see the following links:
1. Dr. Christine Sleeter’s article, The Academic and Social Values of Ethnic Studies: A Research Review documents the success of different Ethnic Studies program across the country. 
2. Stanford recently released an extensive quantitative and qualitative study of San Francisco Unified School District’s Ethnic Studies Program which is showing positive academic results for all students. 
For more information about the Ethnic Studies For All Initiative at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy please reach out to Ron Espiritu at [email protected]