chapter  3
“There’s not really discussion happening”: students’ experiences of identity-based curricular reform
ByStudents’ experiences of identity- based curricular reform Alicia P. Rodriguez
Pages 17

While schools at all levels have relatively recently rebuilt themselves to address the increasing diversity of US society, Franklin High began steps in this direction long before other institutions. During the late 1960s, 1970s, and again in the 1990s, Franklin High instituted identity-based/”multicultural” curricula in response to the demands of students who believed they were underrepresented in the academic curriculum. Hence, AfroAmerican Studies, Chicano/a Studies, Women’s Studies, Asian American Studies, and Ethnic Studies courses were offered at Franklin High. These courses and programs were intended to fill large holes in the standard curricula and also help improve the achievement of traditionally underserved students, namely, African Americans and Latino/as.1 These programs were seen as possible remedies to the low self-esteem and achievement of these students. A general Ethnic Studies course that dealt with all of the ethnic groups in the US was made a requirement for graduation. Women’s Studies and the remaining ethnic studies courses, such as African American Economics, African American Literature, Asian American History, and Introduction to La Raza History, were electives. The genesis of these programs began in 1969 during the fervor around identity politics with the creation of the African American Studies Department, and some of the programs have been revived and reformed in the current second wave of identity politics around issues of multiculturalism, difference, identity, and cultural diversity.