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    Teaching Ethnic Studies in Seattle Public Schools

    Seattle Public Schools strongly believes that its curriculum must represent ALL the peoples of the United States, especially those who have been historically marginalized. Our firm conviction is that students whose history and heritage is respected, appreciated and celebrated will learn better and attain positive outcomes. Whether incorporated into general coursework or taught as the exploration of individual communities, ethnic studies have positive benefits to every Seattle student.

    Our district recognizes that the past omission of perspectives of groups who have faced bias and discrimination is one significant factor contributing to opportunity gaps impacting students of color. The teaching of ethnic studies contributes to the development of a sense of belongingness and security that is essential to full engagement in learning. Further, all students, regardless of their background, need to understand the history of injustices as well as current inequities in the U.S. in order to contribute as future citizens to a stronger democracy. Rather than being divisive, ethnic studies helps students to bridge differences that currently exist, build critical thinking skills and leads to stronger achievement.

    For these reasons, our district continually seeks opportunities to strengthen instructional content to ensure that it reflects the true diversity of our communities. A curriculum incorporating the history, culture and literary experience of broad sections of our society enriches student knowledge and understanding of race, class, language, ethnicity and other differences that contribute to the richness of our society.