Ethnic Studies for Justice and Equity

Principal Investigator: Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, Ph.D.

I-SEEED is at the forefront of creating ethnic studies curriculum and pedagogy for K-16 classrooms.  The goal of Ethnic Studies for Justice and Equity (ESJE) is to create a humanizing pedagogy and curriculum that empowers students at the academic, social, and political levels. We aim to develop and implement a pedagogy and curriculum that stresses the importance of developing students’ capacity to critically engage the world through the examination of their lives and histories, ultimately leading to student transformation and action in their communities.  I-SEEED has worked with organizations and school districts across the nation (including San Francisco Unified School District).

Ethnic Studies for Justice and Equity’s (ESJE) focus is on improving education through policy reform, research, effective teaching, and developing engaging culturally relevant curriculum that is academically rigorous. ESJE involves a triadic partnership between public school teachers, San Francisco State University faculty, and community based organizations. Since 2007, ESJE has advocated for education policy changes around the need for more develops ethnic studies courses that provide opportunities for students see themselves and their communities in the curriculum.

In the courses supported by ESJE, students study the histories of race, ethnicity, and culture and the intersections with other socio-historical constructions such as gender, class, sexuality, generation, nationalism, and migration. This ethnic studies curriculum fosters strong ties between students and their families, neighborhoods, and schools, thus encouraging a sense of community engagement and social responsibility. The courses also include community leaders and organizers as guest speakers to insure the course content is directly connected to local issues. There are dynamic assignments and interactive activities that aim to create community among the students in the classroom and field experiences that allow the community to be a classroom as well. Through the exploration of primary sources, interdisciplinary readings, research skill building, and challenging writing assignments, this course builds the academic skills of all students to build college readiness.

Along with building students’ skills through an engaging curriculum, the development of the course has improved teacher effectiveness.  Collective visioning of the course and collaborative weekly lesson planning amongst the ethnic studies teachers has resulted in a unique commitment to create a course that transforms the lives of students, positively changes school culture, and promotes educational justice.  The teachers are not just teachers, they are teacher-scholars, teacher-activists, and teacher-leaders.