If I had the power to change the curriculum . . .



Kennedy O’Gilvie Joplin, C. K. McClatchy High School

If I had the power to change the curriculum at C. K. McClatchy High School, I would use it to focus on ethnic studies classes.

In my time at McClatchy I have had a total of three ethnic studies courses: World Cultures: Middle East and Asia; World Cultures: Africa and Latin America; and Ethnic Studies. All three of those classes lasted a semester. The two World Cultures classes are only available if you’re in McClatchy’s Humanities and International Studies (HISP). The first change I would make would be to open these classes to all students on campus.

No amount of words could express the motivation I had in those classes. There is a type of fire and passion that consumes you when you learn about people and topics that aren’t usually taught in schools. I found myself wanting to pay attention more and wanting to be more involved with the class. I believe if we opened classes like these to general education, we would  help solve McClatchy’s racial issues and diversity problems.

When I talk to other students, they are interested in these classes but not in enrolling in the HISP program, due to its rigorous curriculum. 

I would want to focus mostly on history classes because history is the basis for everything in this world. It helps us figure out our own identity and connect with other people. We learn from history. It should be open to all students. 

Expanded access also would help the clubs at CKM. Because more students would be learning about history, or their own personal history for that matter, they might be more influenced to join clubs where they can find more people who look like them – clubs like Hispamix or the Black Student Union. Or they might be inspired to start such clubs. 

If I could stretch my powers a little bit more, I would hire more teachers of color. In my whole education career, I have only had three teachers of color, and I am finishing my sophomore year in high school. When I have teachers who have similar skin tones as mine, I am pushed to my fullest potential. 

More students need that, especially in high school, a time when they are faced with challenges left and right and they need some guidance.  Students need role models and adults who have had similar experiences as them, or just a teacher that understands and sympathizes with them 

With all that said, I don’t believe power should be the reason why these changes are made. They should be in place because it’s the right thing to do. I hope these changes come soon to McClatchy.