Oxnard Union High School District requires Ethnic Studies course exploring how race and gender are socially constructed to uphold institutions of power


Parents Defending Education has obtained documents via public records request describing the Ethnic Studies curriculum at Oxnard Union High School District. The request was submitted by Zachor Legal Institute.

The course intends for students to explore “where the axes of racial and ethnic identity intersect with gender, class, sexuality, and other components of what may define an individual or community.” It aims to accomplish this by developing students’ “ability to be agents of change in their communities.”

The curriculum’s first unit, “Identity and Culture,” teaches students “the ways that gender, race, sexuality, class, and nationality are created and constructed, and how they are upheld through institutions and official history.” Lessons for the unit include asking students to make “a social map of students’ own school (perceptions of other students)” and a video on Prohibition-era transgender brothel owner Lucy Hicks.

The curriculum’s third unit, “Systems and Power,” focuses on privilege, oppression, intergenerational trauma, and institutions of power. It asks students “Who and/or what institutions of power and systems create, impose, and maintain the dominant worldview(s) in the United States?” The unit assigns readings from Ibram X Kendi and Jason Reynold’s book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, and key outcomes for the unit include “Analyze the concept of white supremacy (including institutional racism, racial hierarchy, and oppression).”

The capstone project of the course is a “Youth Participatory Action Project” developed by the Youth Activism Project, which “train[s] teens to become activist leaders in their communities.” Students are asked to research collective organizing in their community and “participate in a planning simulation” with suggestions to focus on “city planning, space, policing, environmental justice, and official histories.”

The class has been implemented throughout the school district and is a graduation requirement for all students beginning with the class of 2024.