Lakes Not Having Ethnic and Cultural Studies is an Issue


Ethnic and Cultural Studies Protest

Brookelle Barnes, Editor/Reporter

According to Bellevue College, “Cultural and Ethnic Studies is the comparative analyses of racial and ethnic groups, interpretations of cultural practices, examination of biases and exploration of a vision of a “multiculturally intelligent” society, with heightened awareness of embedded beliefs and stereotypes regarding race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and disability.”

I believe this class should be a requirement for high school students, not only does this class put into perspective many cultures histories and backgrounds, it also shines a light on the importance of critical thinking and cultural awareness throughout others and possibly yourself. I was fortunate enough to take this class my sophomore year and I believe this class was phenomenal. This class was open-ended and honest, we should not stray from history but educate ourselves on our own and others harsh histories and why we are the way we are now.

As some of you may know, last year, Lakes High School offered an Ethnic and Cultural studies class that was an elective social studies credit here. This class was taught by Mrs. Bateman and Ms. Rock. After one year of this class, it has gone away. Why? Lakes administrative staff confirmed that multiple parents submitted complaints to the district about the curriculum being taught throughout this single semester class, with multiple mentions of suspected critical race theory being presented to students here at Lakes. Mrs. Bateman has since left teaching and Ms. Rock is no longer teaching in the Clover Park School District. The Ethnic and Cultural studies class here was primarily based around observing African-American history and culture. Did this play a part of why parents had complaints? After talking to Lakes administrator’s and teachers, there was no direct curriculum created for the class prior to the courses beginning and was completely designed by the teaching staff. This led to some students feeling that the class was chaotic, and some of the material being misconstrued into “racially motivated assignments.” Although Ethnic and Cultural studies is still a CPSD course, we here at Lakes have no one to teach it anymore. Rather than eliminating the class, I think we should refine the curriculum and continue to give students the opportunity to take this social studies elective class.

At Harrison Preparatory, they offer a civics or cultural studies class for sophomores. If we are offering cultural studies at other Clover Park schools and it is in the catalog for legible classes, why do we no longer have it here? I think we as students should offer these classes, we have multiple history teachers here and I believe with proper training and curriculum we could have a really great class.

This discussion is not unique to Lakes nor the rest of America. This topic has been an issue in Florida and other states, even including the College-Board. But how does this affect students learnings long-term? I believe that regardless of what is being taught in the class, all students should have the opportunity to explore ethnic studies and create their own biases. We should have the opportunity to be taught these topics. Why are we not taking advantage of it while we can?