There’s a heated debate happening around a new course coming to the Carlsbad High School Film Academy. After a March 8 meeting, the Carlsbad Unified School District voted unanimously in favor of introducing a Film Academy Ethnic Studies class to students in the 2023 - 2024 school year. And while some parents think the course material is exactly what students need, others around this San Diego-area school district are accusing it of being just a little too woke for these teens.
The course, which will be required learning for freshmen at the school and available as an elective for older students, will cover the following objectives:
- Understanding identity, race, ethnicity, intersectionality, culture and racism
- Hollywood’s representation of stereotypes and their impacts
- Effects of cultural appropriation on the film industry
- Early contributions by people of color in the film industry
- Impact of various social movements on people of color in the film industry
- Emerging voices of people of color in the film industry
Assistant Superintendent Rob Nye said the class will allow students to take a closer look at the impact of issues like racism and stereotyping and will present the issues in an unbiased way.
“Students will be asked to examine and draw their own conclusions as it relates to historical events through the lens of film,” he said. “We do have board policy specifically around controversial issues … and it talks about instruction being presented in a balanced manner addressing all sides of the issue.”
Some parents think the new class will help promote more empathy among the students.
“There is a lot of racism happening on our campuses and kids are saying they didn’t know better. This course will teach them to know better,” said parent Stephanie Wells.
But of course, parents on the other side believe this curriculum is getting just a little too close to that dreaded Critical Race Theory (CRT) they’ve heard about on their favorite conservative news outlet.
“We would be very concerned that even though they say they aren’t going to teach [CRT] if it’s in there, they are going to be teaching it,” said Scott Davison of the Carlsbad Education Alliance, a group made up of parents, students and teachers from the district.