Letters to the Editor

Benefits of ethnic studies

A lot has been made of Donald Trump’s visit to Fresno. I watched his nearly hour-long address with curiosity from the middle school I teach at. He touted his qualifications, which were many, but one was clearly missing. I realized he, like all of our students, could benefit from an ethnic-studies graduation requirement.

California has a large and diverse population. I see it in the faces of my students every day. Ethnic minorities make up 71% of the state’s student population, and there are 90 languages spoken in California schools.

An ethnic-studies program will help our students (and presidential candidates) better relate to events in history as well as understand the struggle of others as well as their own. Learning the experiences of various groups will help our students to be better Americans.

Many of our students are struggling academically. Research has shown that ethnic studies has a positive impact as far as academic engagement, better test scores, improved graduation rates, career success – and to change an increasingly diverse state and country for the better.

I hope presidential candidates would look at making ethnic studies a graduation requirement in all states in 2016.

Peter Beck, Fresno