Ethnic Studies Offers College Credit

The Long Beach Unified School District is offering high school students an ethnic studies class for college credit, thanks to a partnership with Cal State Long Beach.

The new class, U.S. Diversity and the Ethnic Experience, is being taught as an elective by university faculty this semester on Saturdays, providing three college credits and 10 high school credits. The program started recently with more than 400 students taking classes at the school district’s six large high schools.

The class includes history, culture and contemporary issues of four groups: Asian American, American Indian, African and Chicano/Latino. Course objectives include defining and comprehending theories of race and ethnicity, and understanding differences between racial prejudice and racism as social practice, as well as the differences between individual and institutional racism.

The administrative coordinator of the program is Armando Vazquez-Ramos, CSULB professor of Chicano and Latino studies. He approached the school district about a year ago regarding such a program. The Board of Education here has since agreed to devote about $1 million to pay for the classes each semester for the next five years.