Strength in Diversity: Why Ethnic Studies Matter

Ethnic StudiesIn the fall of 2015, the NCTE Executive Committee approved the NCTE Position Statement in Support of Ethnic Studies Initiatives in K-12 Curricula. For a complete history of this statement, please read Millie Davis’s blog, Why NCTE Supports Ethnic Studies Initiatives. In the position statement, we list the following benefits of incorporating ethnic and cultural studies programs at the K-12 level:

  • They “help create diverse and inclusive classroom environments that promote learning and activism;”
  • They “increase enrollment, reduce truancy and dropout rates;”
  • They “prepare youth to be college- and career-ready by promoting critical thinking and self-empowerment;”
  • They “can result in higher test scores and greater self-esteem for students;”
  • They reflect “the growing diversity of student populations in [US] schools,” and
  • Students develop a “cross-cultural understanding that encourages respect for other people.”

These benefits matter and make a difference, particularly to populations who have long felt ignored, disrespected, and marginalized. In the coming weeks, members will lend their voices to describe and discuss the importance and impact of ethnic and cultural studies. If you have a story to share, please feel free to send it to Lu Ann McNabb at lmcnabb@ncte.org and we will happily publish.

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About Lu Ann McNabb

Lu Ann Maciulla McNabb is the Policy & Alliances Associate for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Lu Ann has long been an advocate for teachers, students and education. As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently said, "Education is the anvil upon which democracy is forged."

3 thoughts on “Strength in Diversity: Why Ethnic Studies Matter

  1. This blog post, Strength in Diversity: Why Ethnic Studies Matter, made some very strong points that everyone should be aware of. Diversity can be seen in many schools. Some people do not know much about diversity and why ethnic studies in the school system matter. I actually did not know many of the benefits of incorporating ethnic and cultural studies programs at the K-12. One that I found interesting was how they, “increase enrollment, reduce truancy and dropout rates”. I think that if more schools knew about this benefit, then they might consider incorporating ethnic and cultural studies in the school. One thing that I think all students can benefit from is the simple fact that “students develop a cross-cultural understanding that encourages respect for other people”. Showing and encouraging respect for other people, especially other ethnicity’s and different cultural’s, needs to be taught throughout the the world- this could help with stereotypes and bullying that might occur within a school. This blog lays out the benefits as to why incorporating ethnic and cultural studies programs into the school system, in an understandable manner.

  2. I think it is a great idea to advocate for diversity in the classrooms. Bringing diversity in the classroom opens the doors to many benefits for not only the student but the teacher as well. When you are open to a diverse setting in the classroom, you can really open the eyes of the students and the world around them. They get a chance to meet people who may not have come from the same background as them, the assignments have the potential to become more interesting and it poses for self reflection and involvement. There are many pathways you can take in the classroom with the subject of diversity.

  3. I completely agree that ethnic studies matters. Incorporating ethnic and cultural studies programs at the k-12 level would be a major step in the right direction in education. Classrooms are becoming more and more diverse each year (just like our country) and it is important that students start developing a cross-cultural understanding. Students need to understand that all people and cultures need to be respected. Also, certain populations and minorities have gotten disrespected for far too long and there is no time like the present to make a positive change in this regard.

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