New ethnic studies course welcomes diversity
February 8, 2017
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Beginning fall of 2017, students have the opportunity to enroll in a new course at Carlmont.
This class, named race, ethnicity, and immigration, focuses on bringing students of diverse backgrounds together to discuss current and historical racial conflicts.
Although the new class was approved by the district and Carlmont administration, there must be enough students signed up for it to be offered next year.
History teachers Karen Ramroth and Jamie Garcia have worked together to push for this course to be offered at Carlmont.
Garcia said, “In college, I majored in racial and ethnic studies. I am very passionate about these topics as well as gender studies, LGBTQ+ rights, and the history of colored people. I am excited to teach a specialty course that primarily focuses on these topics.”
Though meant to educate students about events regarding racial and ethnic conflict, this course will remain objective and provide a neutral outlook on these topics.
“When discussing potentially controversial events in history and politics, all arguments made by students will have to be based on evidence. Students will learn how to use historical precedents, statistical data, and other types of evidence to strengthen and validate their arguments,” said Ramroth.
To prepare students for objective discussions in class, this course will begin with a sociology unit.
Ramroth said, “In sociology, there are certain terms about how we study society and interactions between groups of people. By educating students about sociological terms, we are setting up the class so that it does not become a place for people to rant and rave about political issues.”
In contrast to regular history classes, race, ethnicity, and immigration highlights many events that are left out of the ordinary curriculum.
“Race, ethnicity, and immigration will provide students with the foundation to explore major events in history that their regular classes do not. This class will allow students to discuss interactions between different people in society as well as give them a chance to explore their own racial identity,” said Ramroth.
In preparation for next year, Ramroth and Garcia have completed research and established a foundation for the first year of race, ethnicity, and immigration.
Ramroth said, “[Garcia] and I have had meetings where we have created a course outline, and we have talked with a professor at Cañada College who teaches classes about ethnicity to get ideas from her.”
Many students are excited to have the opportunity to take race, ethnicity, and immigration.
Alice Gevorgyan, a junior, said, “With all of the current events in politics, it is extremely important to have this class available for students to take. This course can educate students about racial and ethnic conflicts, which allows them to make informed decisions later on.”
Despite the widespread excitement for this course to be offered, it is intended for only juniors and seniors to take.
Ramroth said, “We wouldn’t necessarily reject a younger student from enrolling in this class due to their age. Anybody who has a passion for the topics covered in this class should feel welcome to sign up. However, we decided to offer the course to juniors and seniors because they have more flexibility in their schedules to take electives.”
Although eager to teach this class, Ramroth is also excited to learn more from her students.
“[Garcia] and I both have our own areas of expertise, but there’s always more to learn about. I’m excited to be a student again and learn more about topics that aren’t covered in regular history classes,” Ramroth said.