From S.F. Gate by Jill Tucker:
San Francisco’s school board president wants high school students to take a course that examines ethnic identity, race-based systems of oppression and the emphasis on Euro-centric history in traditional textbooks.

Not everyone agrees that’s a good idea. Critics see ethnic studies as racially divisive. Another concern is that hiring and training new teachers is a potentially expensive proposition. And adding a new class means subtracting one from students’ schedules.

School board President Sandra Fewer wants the class to be made available at all 17 district high schools — it’s currently offered at six. Then, once that’s in place starting in 2015 or 2016, the district would pursue making it a graduation requirement, Fewer said. She plans to present a measure to the school board next month.

While many high schools also offer similar courses across the state, only two districts in California require it. El Rancho Unified in Pico Rivera was the first, and Los Angeles followed Tuesday when the school board voted 6-1 vote to make the course mandatory.

Fewer acknowledged that here she might face some — or significant — opposition. For starters, offering the course at each high school would require hiring or training teachers to teach the course. Los Angeles anticipates a $4 million bill to roll out the courses at all high schools.

And making it mandatory means students would have to make room in their class schedule for it, giving up an elective course, say a year of foreign language, art, music, or even an advanced placement course.

“I felt the goal shouldn’t be that it’s just at a couple of high schools,” Fewer said. “My goal is to institutionalize it in our school system. Yes, it will mean that something else will have to go.

read more>>