Lafayette Parish residents seek more classroom materials on ethnic studies

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Sometime early next year, a task force will explore ways to ensure the various cultures in Lafayette Parish are reflected in the materials students use in the classroom.

Last month, the Lafayette Parish School Board proposed a diversity and ethnic studies task force to discuss diversity issues within the school system.

Board member Shelton Cobb tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1wBCafC ) he pitched the task force in November in response to some residents faulting the school system for not including more culturally diverse instructional materials or programs.

Cobb said he thinks the task force's work should extend beyond the classroom to ensure the school system fosters an inclusive environment in the community.

"There were those people in the community who were saying they don't have enough ethnic studies in the community schools," Cobb said. "The minority community is getting larger and larger in Lafayette Parish. It's not always essentially black."

Cobb said he thinks the task force's work should extend beyond the classroom to ensure the school system fosters an inclusive environment in the community.

The school system offers specialized programs in foreign languages that give students the option of immersive learning in Mandarin, Spanish and French.

Cobb said some residents want more options for students.

In 2012, task force groups were organized to help create recommendations and goals for different areas within the school system, from specific academic programs to facilities. The work was incorporated in the school district's 100 Percent In, 100 Percent Out plan, touted by then-Superintendent Pat Cooper as a way to boost student performance.

The task force groups were made up of school system employees and residents.

Cobb, whose term on the board ends this month, said he'd like to see the new board carry through with the task force and include members from various cultural organizations.


Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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