An academic discussion point has gained a lot of attention in the last few weeks, It’s called critical race theory...and we’re learning tonight that officials with the Kern High School District say the district will not be teaching it in school.
However, KHSD is working to develop an ethnic studies course set to begin next year as a pilot program, with officials hoping to raise cultural awareness among their students.
A Board member says, “It's about appreciation of diverse culture, It's about celebrating those cultures, and their experience is part of the American experience.“
The ethnic studies course is projected to start for the 2022-2023 school year presented to the KHSD board on Monday night. The curriculum is currently being developed by teachers and local professors, which will initially be offered as an elective.
Dr. Brenda Lewis with KHSD says, “It will be a pilot course in the elective offerings in the beginning until it's made a graduation requirement, which would be several years from now as you do the implementation stage.”
Officials say students will use critical thinking in order to analyze the history and experiences of people of color – with a specific focus African Americans, Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders, Latina Americans, and Native Americans.
Officials also say they believe this course will offer both academic and social-emotional benefits, some of which include reduced stereotype threats and decreased truancy rates.
Lewis says, “Freshman level would be an introductory course as it is an elective. And then we would have an elective in the 11th or 12th grade that would focus on self and family and community.”
However, this course has yet to be approved and specific classes and selected teachers are yet to be determined.
The course of study will be formally presented to the board of trustees at their August 2nd meeting. At that time, the curriculum will be available for review by the public for 30 days.