back of a high school classroom

K-12 Ethnic Studies Teaching Certificate

What is the K-12 Ethnic Studies Teaching Certificate?

Just over 50 years ago, led by the student activism of the Third World Liberation Front coalition (TWLF), and built on the scholarship of Frantz Fanon and others, the field of Ethnic Studies emerged, seeking to advance the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity, while emphasizing the experiences, contributions, histories, and perspectives of people of color in the United States and beyond. In the hopes of disrupting centuries of historical marginalization, departments of Africana, American Indian, Chicana/o/x, and Asian-American Studies emerged at universities across the US—including SDSU.

Now, as we enter the third decade of the 21st century, the ongoing challenges that racism, marginalization, power, and discrimination pose could not be more obvious. In response, schools and school districts at the K-12 level across California and the nation are beginning to embrace the value, importance, and promise of Ethnic Studies as an essential part of education for a liberatory, democratic, and pluralistic American future.

Through the K-12 Ethnic Studies Teaching certificate here at SDSU, we are committed to preparing pre-service and in-service teachers to be leaders in this emerging educational discipline in the K-12 schools

In practice, the K-12 Ethnic Studies Teaching certificate program involves a collaborative, complementary curriculum, built on expertise from across campus to ensure that students pursuing the certificate will emerge from the program well prepared to teach Ethnic Studies, develop Ethnic Studies curricula, and competently facilitate educational conversations around race, racism, ethnicity, and diversity, at the K-12 level.

The exciting array and program of courses in the certificate encourage students to explore complex problems and ask complex questions about the pedagogical challenges and dynamics of today’s classrooms, while ensuring their practical skillsets and knowledge are robust and effective for the unique discipline of Ethnic Studies. The program of study ensures that students who are preparing to teach in K-12 contexts, or already do, will be able to richly consider the distinct nature, meaning, content, and challenges of introducing the discipline of Ethnic Studies at the K-12 level, and leading students to liberatory learning outcomes.