‘Herstory’ is out as California revamps K-12 ethnic studies course guide

California
A classroom sits empty at Kent Middle School on April 1, 2020 in Kentfield, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A classroom sits empty at Kent Middle School on April 1, 2020 in Kentfield, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

State officials unveiled their latest try at an ethnic studies curriculum for K-12 students Friday, and it’s clear their hope is that this time fewer people will be offended.

To appease critics of academic jargon, the new draft ditches terms such as “herstory” for the more traditional “history.” To better honor diversity, teachers are encouraged to let the ethnic composition of the class influence study topics.

Still, the new version retains a focus on the four groups long associated with ethnic studies: African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanos/Latinos and Native American and Indigenous peoples. That aspect could reassure leaders in the field of ethnic studies, who shaped the first version but had less influence over the revision.

All told, the latest draft represents an attempt at compromise among strong, difficult-to-resolve passions. Ethnic studies is innately and even intentionally political in challenging established norms. All the same, it embodies widely supported goals that include empowering students of color, nurturing empathy among white students and developing critical thinking and historical perspective among all.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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