Thu. May 19th, 2022

California high school students in 2030 will be required to complete an ethnic study course in order to complete their education under a bill signed by Govin Gavin Newsom on Friday.

Golden State is believed to be the first in the United States to impose such a mandate.

Public and charter schools in the state must offer at least one ethnic study course starting in the school year 2025-2026.

Students will need to take the class on top of other standard-generated requirements in English, math, science, and social studies.

The requirement can be completed through a school’s existing ethnic studies, a course approved by the University of California and California State University, or a locally developed one.

The new bill, AB 101, was written by California Assemblyman Jose Medina, a Democrat from Riverside. Medina, which introduced the legislation in 2020, called it a step “in the long struggle for equal education for all students.”

“Thank you, Governor Newsom for signing AB 101. The inclusion of ethnic studies in the high school curriculum is long overdue,” Medina said in a statement. “Students cannot have a full understanding of the history of our state and nation without including contributions and struggles from Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans.”

California's public and charter schools must offer at least one course in ethnic studies beginning in the 2025-2026 school year.
California’s public and charter schools must offer at least one course in ethnic studies beginning in the 2025-2026 school year.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The model plan focuses on four historically marginalized groups and their contributions to American history, according to the KTLA, including: African Americans, Chicanos and other Latinos, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.

It also includes lesson plans for Jewish Americans, Arab Americans, Sikh Americans and Armenian Americans who had lobbied against a similar previous bill that had excluded them, the outlet reported.

According to the bill, the course must meet the following criteria:

  • Be suitable for use with students of all races, religions, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations and diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, students with disabilities and English students.
  • Do not reflect or promote, directly or indirectly, any bias, bigotry or discrimination against any person or group of persons on the basis of a category protected by § 220.
  • Do not teach or promote religious teachings.
The courses are key to select marginalized groups that have contributed to American history - such as African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.
The courses enter selected marginalized groups that have contributed to American history – such as African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Los Angeles School District, the second largest in the nation, had already last year voted to require an ethnic study course a requirement by the school year 2023-2024, the KTLA reported.

Newsom also signed legislation requiring public schools and colleges to offer free menstrual products in all restrooms.

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