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CLA Partners with High Schools to Fix an Education Gap

November 25, 2015

Imagine if the histories you learned in high school didn't include your history. Would you stay in school? Would you even think about college?

A partnership between the Department of African American & African Studies and three area high schools seeks to remedy a gap in ethnic studies education, all too typical in school curricula, while helping students from underrepresented populations see themselves on a college campus. Introduction to African American Studies, created by Professor Rose Brewer and taught through College in the Schools by teachers at Richfield and DeLaSalle (Minneapolis) high schools and Washington Technical Magnet (St. Paul), is the first ethnic studies course offered and is being piloted this year. Through a humanities lens, students are introduced to the African diaspora and issues of educational inequities, land rights, and cultural and religious expression. The course work is challenging and personal narratives are used to help the students comprehend their own histories, which is a tactic not commonly used in high school history courses.

The students in the course also visit campus, where they meet with Professor Brewer and have an opportunity to picture themselves on the University campus and see what we have to offer. This is also one example of how we are leveraging faculty expertise within the college to address the achievement gap; other initiatives include ethnic studies curriculum development for younger students in the Minneapolis public schools.