Ethnic studies refers to the instruction of public school students in kindergarten through grade 12 with curriculum centered on the knowledge and perspectives of ethnic or racial minorities. This paper argues that the best legislative avenue to implement ethnic studies across Minnesota involves a combination of expanding statewide social studies requirements and establishing an ethnic studies grant program. Including ethnic studies as an elective that can fulfill the statewide social studies graduation requirement will encourage students to enroll in the courses. An ethnic studies grant program, funded through an appropriation to the Minnesota Department of Education, will allow schools and school districts to apply for funding to develop ethnic studies curriculum and teacher training to effectively implement courses. Combined, this legislation will be the most politically feasible and effective avenue to begin establishing ethnic studies across the state of Minnesota.
Prior to pursuing legislation, it will be important to build a coalition of supporters. Grassroots stakeholders, influential education policy organizations, and policymakers from both parties should be engaged in shaping and advocating for the policy to increase the chances for legislative success. This coalition will provide support to overcome both political and implementation barriers the legislation will encounter. These recommendations are grounded in our findings of stakeholder interviews, analysis of Minnesota statutes, and policy analysis of the political context in Minnesota.
Capstone paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy degree.
Boesch, Diana; Dobratz, Matthew; Tice, Brandon.
Legislative Avenues and Considerations for Enacting Ethnic Studies Curriculum in Minnesota.
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