After two years, Oakland nearing goal for high school ethnic studies courses

Click here to check out the full multimedia piece for Oakland North.

“Jason Muñiz stands in the door frame that separates his classroom from the bright hallway full of lockers, with his hands holding onto the frame behind him. He looks back and forth from the high school students who are greeting each other before taking a seat inside the classroom, and welcomes the ones who are just walking in. When the school bell rings, Muñiz walks to the front of the classroom, closing the door behind him. “Thank you for being in your seats,” Muñiz tells the class.

In his classroom, colorful posters and student artwork are everywhere. An American flag hangs on the right side of the whiteboard, with a frame on top of it that reads “Homeland Security” followed by a picture of Native American chiefs. On the back wall, yellow and green rectangles of paper are pinned to the wall, alternating colors to create a checkered effect. The papers display vocabulary words such as “segregation,” “ethnicity,” “power,” “marginalize,” “exploit,” “bias,” and “system.” Next to them is a poster that was once used to lead a student-organized demonstration, a long white sheet of poster paper that reads “May Day March.”

After a quick warm up exercise, Muñiz begins his lesson, titled “Systems and Power.” He begins to ask his students: “What is power? Who has power over you? Who do you have power over?”…”


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