Seattle Schools may add ethnic studies to curricula. Critics say it's not enough | KUOW News and Information

Seattle Schools may add ethnic studies to curricula. Critics say it's not enough

Jun 27, 2017

A Seattle School Board resolution calls for the expansion of ethnic studies in district classrooms.

The Seattle-King County chapter of the NAACP first made a similar proposal last winter. 

It gave a timeline for the district to adopt ethnic studies curricula at every grade and to make it a graduation requirement.

Teacher Tracy Gill integrates ethnic studies into her social studies classes. She said although the NAACP resolution inspired the school board, the board's proposal feels "really watered down."

Gill: "I feel like the language isn't direct enough. It's kind of like, 'Well, if we have the money, we'll see if we can do this, and then go from there.'"

Seattle School Board member Rick Burke said there's a lot of support behind the concept. 

Burke: "A lot of folks recognize the value."

Burke said he thinks the resolution will be adopted. 

Burke: "But there's more ambiguity around what the definition of ethnic studies actually is. And what it looks like in the classroom. And then the multimillion dollar question is how we implement it in our current budget environment."

To Gill, the district can't afford not to make school more relevant to kids of color and other marginalized groups.

Gill: "And so I feel like it's it's not a matter of if we have money. We need to divert funds as fast as we can to helping students of color achieve more."

Teachers, parents and NAACP members are rallying outside today's school board meeting to call for the district to enact the resolution, at least as a starting place.