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California Students are Now Required to Take Ethnic Studies to Graduate

California will now require all public high school students to complete an ethnic studies course in order to graduate under a new bill that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Friday, and it’s believed to be the first state to mandate such coursework.

The new law came after a year of California leaders and activists having focused more on racial injustice following the death of George Floyd that sparked a nationwide Black Lives Matter protest last year.

High school students won’t be required to take these courses to get their diploma until 2029, but schools will be required to offer ethnic studies courses starting in 2025, which gives districts and education officials time to fully develop coursework.

The curriculum has been subject to intense debate as some ethnic groups have raised concerns with how their history will be taught. Gov. Newman’s office said on Friday that according to research from Stanford University, ethnic studies “help expand educational opportunities in schools, teach students about the diverse communities that comprise California, and boost academic engagement and attainment.”

Under Assembly Bill 101, schools will still be able to locally develop their own plan for the coursework if approved by a local school board subject to public hearings. Newman’s office said that the bill “provides a number of safeguards to ensure that courses will be free from bias or bigotry and appropriate for all students.”

The bill’s author, Jose Medina, said in his statement, “I want to acknowledge the countless young people, high school and college students, teachers and professors, who have organized, demonstrated, boycotted classes, and gone on hunger strikes to demand a more equitable and inclusive educational system.”

He continued, “The signing of AB 101 today is one step in the long struggle for equal education for all students.”

NYC, NYCTastemakers, Politics, California, AssemblyBill101, HighSchool, Students, EthnicStudies, GovGavinNewsman,


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