CONGRATULATIONS COACHELLA VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT! WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
UPDATE: November 19, 2015 article in The Desert Sun by Kristen Hwang:
Starting next year, freshmen in Coachella Valley Unified School District will be required to take a year-long Ethnic Studies class before graduation, making it the eighth school district in California to mandate it and the first rural district to do so.
The CVUSD school board voted unanimously to make Ethnic Studies mandatory last week. The class of 2020 and all subsequent classes must take Ethnic Studies, which will be offered as a history elective that focuses on the historic contributions made by many ethnic groups and races in the U.S. and in the Coachella Valley. READ MORE HERE
For those in the area please come out and support. For those who are not in the area sign the online petition at: http://www.ethnicstudiesnow.com/coachella
The resolution calls for a 10 credit (year long) A-G approved course in the field of Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement. Teachers, students and parents formed an Ethnic Studies Now Coalition and have been organizing for months. It will finally go to the school board for a final vote.
Despite the Governor’s Veto the Ethnic Studies Movement continues to grow!
Oakland Passed Resolution Calling for Ethnic Studies in all OUSD schools!
We want to get a quick shout out to the Oakland Unified School District who became the latest school district passing a resolution creating an ethnic studies program in every high school in the district! Well done Oakland USD!
You can read all about it here:
Inland Empire Continues to Organize for Ethnic Studies Now!
The Coalition for Ethnic Studies in the Inland Empire recently organized a speak out at the San Bernardino City USD board meeting and was met with large support. The SBCUSD voted to approve a contract to begin developing Ethnic Studies courses and the majority of the board spoke in favor of Ethnic Studies. Board members spoke in support of looking at current graduation requirements in the policy committee to see if they could add Ethnic Studies. The organizing will continue!
You can read about it here: http://iecn.com/ethnic-studies-slowly-being-implemented-at-san-bernardino-schools/
The movement for Ethnic Studies moves across the country!
Check out Asian American Students organize for Ethnic Studies in Portland Oregon:
Shout out to AFT Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker for this great article in support of Ethnic Studies:
LIVE TODAY: Iris Ruiz on NCTE Position Statement in Support of Ethnic Studies Initiatives in K-12 Curricula
Watch Dr. Iris Ruiz (UC Merced) live today at 5pm. She'll be talking about the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)'s Position Statement in Support of Ethnic Studies Initiatives in K-12 Curricula:
Developed by the CCCC Latin@ Caucus in collaboration with members of the American Indian Caucus and the Translingual SIG.
Approved by the NCTE Executive Committee, October 2015
Since 1968, ethnic studies curricula have become more mainstream. Before this, minority students could learn about their histories and literatures only in public and independent schools geared to African American students, tribal schools, and schools focused on language immersion (Sleeter 5). Today, schools across the country are beginning to recognize the importance of making ethnic studies courses part of their main curricula. However, more work remains to be done if both teachers and students are to recognize the beneficial contributions of various ethnic backgrounds to crucial curricular components of K–12 institutions nationwide. Therefore,
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and its members support the implementation of K–12 ethnic studies curricula nationwide. As a professional organization committed to professional development and the creation of innovative curricula, NCTE seeks to play an instrumental role in the developmental needs of ethnic studies teachers and institutional curricular development.
NCTE also recognizes ethnic studies as a scholarly field that has always been invested in providing equal access to literacy, encouraging democratic principles, and promoting different ways of knowing—of producing and disseminating knowledge.
NCTE acknowledges that California is seeking to implement ethnic studies course offerings for various school districts and even the entire state (AB 101), and in Nevada a bill has been proposed requiring ethnic studies courses statewide. In contrast, ethnic studies curricula are under attack in Texas and Arizona. Supporters of HB 2281, for example, have tried to ban ethnic studies courses, denouncing them as divisive and racist. Despite such opposition, ethnic studies initiatives have been shown to yield positive educational results. Illustrative of these positive results, students in the Tucson High Mexican American Studies Program (Modern Language Association) achieved higher test scores, decreased truancy rates, and exhibited higher self-esteem. Perhaps most important, among students enrolled in ethnics studies courses, graduation rates increased.
Thus, NCTE supports ethnic studies programs at the K–12 grade levels because they bring the following benefits:
- Ethnic and cultural studies can help create diverse and inclusive classroom environments that promote learning and activism.
- Ethnic studies curricula increase enrollment, reduce truancy and dropout rates, and prepare youth to be college- and career-ready by promoting critical thinking and self-empowerment (Sleeter; Tintiangco-Cubales et al.).
- Studies have shown that ethnic studies can result in higher test scores and greater self-esteem for students (Modern Language Association; Sleeter).
- Ethnic and cultural studies teach students of all races and ethnicities about their home cultures in the context of a more inclusive history. Students come to understand themselves in relation to other cultural groups, developing a cross-cultural understanding that encourages respect for other people.
- Attention to ethnic studies reflects the growing diversity of student populations in our schools. In 2014 the US Department of Education projected that for the first time in the country’s history, students of color will outnumber white students at public schools in 2015 (Strauss). In addition, ethnic minorities account for 73 percent of first-year student growth and about 77 percent of overall growth at four-year colleges and universities (Fry).
- Implementing ethnic studies would address “Students’ Right to Read,” which NCTE reaffirmed in 2012, by highlighting the nation’s diverse storehouses of knowledge, literature, culture, and landscapes.
NCTE makes the following suggestions as possible approaches to ethnic studies:
- Provide students with texts that reflect their own cultural backgrounds and histories. In this way, educators can move beyond token multiculturalism to foster intercultural awareness and respect. These opportunities prove especially critical because implementation of the Common Core curriculum has led to a decline in representative diversity in classroom texts (Morrell and Morrell; Lafferty).
- Help students understand how different histories, languages, and cultural practices promote unique approaches to problem solving. For example, students can draw from non-Western and indigenous ways of knowing to examine major cultural concerns.
- Engage in cross-cultural comparisons of multicultural texts so that students can become more effective writers in multiple contexts, including their home communities. Intercultural communication and sharing can teach students to recognize different forms of privilege that affect and marginalize members of ethnic communities.
- Give students opportunities to write in their own languages so they can critique ideas from perspectives relevant to their lives. These experiences help build multilingual abilities, which studies show increase success in other areas of learning and socialization, and illustrate the cultural diversity of the United States (Costa et al.; Celic and Seltzer). Teachers can assess writing based on effective use of multiple voices (Brown, Freeman, and Gallagher; Inoue and Poe).
- Organize faculty workshops by educators and researchers trained in ethnic and cultural studies. These workshops can discuss relevant pedagogical strategies, assignments, texts, and assessment practices.
For Immediate Release
October 9, 2015
Contact: Michelle Reyes
Alejo Responds to Veto of Ethnic Studies Bill
Assembly Bill 101 would have given students the opportunity to learn about various cultures, ethnicities, and heritages through a first-ever statewide curriculum.
(SACRAMENTO) — Today, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 101 authored by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas). Assembly Bill 101 would have required the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to oversee the development of a model curriculum on Ethnic Studies by establishing an Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee. The State Board of Education (SBE) would have then adopted this model curriculum, so that schools with grades 7-12 may offer an Ethnic Studies course as a Social Science Elective. Following this announcement from the Governor, Assemblymember Alejo issued the following statement:
“As an individual who has academically, professionally, and personally benefitted from learning about various cultures, ethnicities, and heritages, I believe this is a missed opportunity for students throughout the state.
As the state with one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the country, with over 70 percent of the students being students of color, and more than 90 languages spoken by students, I am disappointed that California is not leading the nation on this groundbreaking piece of legislation. While an Ethnic Studies course has the potential to broaden and expand a student’s mind when it comes to diversity, better preparing them for the diverse workforce of the 21st century, these courses have also been known to then lead to greater student productivity and learning in other areas, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Assembly Bill 101 would have been a great opportunity for California to enrich and expand the minds of our students. Today’s students will be our future and in today’s diverse world, it is ever important that they have an opportunity to learn about cultural diversity.
This is not over as this is part of a growing national Ethnic Studies Movement. I will keep fighting until we make AB101 a reality and ensure that every high school student can benefit from an Ethnic Studies class in the future.”
Luis Alejo represents the 30th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of the Salinas Valley, Monterey County, San Benito County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.
# # #
Michelle V. Reyes
Office of Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo
Chair, California Latino Legislative Caucus
P: (916) 319-2030
F: (916) 319-2130
Good News! AB 101 has made it through the Senate Appropriations Committee and out of Senate Suspense. In that process there were some minor amendments made to the bill that focuses the bill on a model curriculum and sets an end date for the Advisory committee.
It will soon go for a vote before the whole Senate and then to the Governor's desk. Unfortunately, we are receiving word that this bill has lukewarm support by the Governor’s office and in fact he may veto the bill...Here are two things you can do right now:
- Contact your CA Senator: CLICK HERE
- Email Governor Brown:
Letters to the Editor
Please also consider writing a Letter to the Editor to one of the following newspapers about the importance of AB 101 and Ethnic Studies. You can use the email to the Governor as an example. Please let us know if the article is published. How to submit a Letter to the Editor:
- Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article2571437.html
- San Fransisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/submissions/
- San Diego Union-Tribune: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/letters-commentaries
- Los Angeles Time: http://www.latimes.com/oe-howtosubmitoped-story.html