We’re back! The students of the Council of Youth Research are continuing their research (after working on their college applications). This year, the students are partnering with local community organizations and conducting research that informs and extends their work.
In our first post, the students from our Locke group explain their research on culturally relevant teaching. Each week we will update you on what our students are researching.
“Walking down Locke’s hall feelin’ like you’re in jail,
for eight full hours ain’t got no culture* to pay the bail.
Eurocentric values are all you can show and tell.
When the curriculum is against you, you might as well be in hell
Continuing the cycle to drop out and fail”
*Culture meaning intellectual wealth
The poem above articulates the ongoing struggle on our campus as it relates to the lack of culturally relevant curriculum.
Our Locke group represents high school students from a divided campus (Locke 1, 3, Locke Tech) as well as students from other high schools (Narbonne and King Drew), and even middle schools (Gompers and Curtiss), who meet weekly to conduct critical research on the problems that impact the quality of our education. Our current research focuses on the quality of education through Culturally Relevant Education. Through this research we are trying to figure out why quality education is not a norm in classrooms and schools throughout the urban community.
A quality education does not just mean being taught in the 5 basic subjects, but teaching students things that would not only better themselves, but would help them find themselves. It also helps them take those skills and apply them to life. As a group we decided to work alongside the Association of Raza Educators (A.R.E) organization because we both believe that students should be taught a quality education through cultural relevant curriculum, which isn’t currently happening. We wanted to plug in and support A.R.E by attending their Freedom Schools, going to some of their meetings, and helping them by conducting research.
We believe that the research part is especially important because we feel that A.R.E has been fighting to promote quality education for students for years, and research will help them understand the core of the problem. From there, we came up with these questions:
- To what extent is culturally relevant curriculum being taught in school in Los Angeles?
- What barriers do teachers face in providing a culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy to their students?
- What impact can curriculum that is relevant have on students?
- What other spaces that teach cultural pride ? What are their impacts? How is this done?
We want to ask teachers these questions, and survey students to get their opinions on this so we can better understand what’s going on in the classrooms and what needs to be changed. More updates soon!