I support AB 331 which will add a course of ethnic studies to be a high school graduation requirement beginning the school year of 2023-2024.
California has one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the nation. Ethnic minorities account for over 71 percent of the student population, with more than 90 languages spoken in District schools.
Given California’s annual increase in diversity, it is important that students build knowledge of the various racial and ethnic groups in our state. Incorporating ethnic studies courses into standard high school curriculum is a means to accomplish this. Ethnic studies, promotes respect and understanding among races, supports student success and teaches critical thinking skills. Additionally the course provides students with the opportunity to learn about their respective culture in the context of California’s history.
Requiring ethnic studies to be taught in high schools is an integral part of cultivating a classroom environment that is accepting of diversity. It is vital for young people to learn about their history, it is also important for them to feel like they can contribute to their communities in positive ways. AB 331 will help close the achievement gap by reducing student truancy and student enrollment, reduce drop-out rates, and better prepare Californian youth to be college prepared and career ready.1,251 signaturesAdd signature
Why Ethnic Studies?
We, the undersigned, support the effort to construct and implement an ethnic studies class as a high school graduation requirement in the Sacramento City Unified School District.
Sacramento, CA is the 2nd most ethnically diverse city in the United States (US Census Bureau, 2015). Our school district is a beautiful mirror of our population; our students are 37% Hispanic or Latino, 17.4% Asian, 18% African American, 19% white, and 5.3% of students are two or more ethnicities. In our district, residents speak over 44 languages and 38% do not speak English at home (SCUSD, 2015).
We need a high school curriculum that reflects the diversity of all students. Despite our numbers, only 1 out of 13 high schools within our district offers ethnic studies. Because over 80% of our school district populations are students of color, we need to offer a course that includes and investigates these rich histories and lived experiences.
By having an ethnic studies course, our hope is that all students will learn to respect, accept, and love themselves. We want all students to think critically about the importance of their race, ethnicity, location, and identity as it exists in history and in the present. We believe that ethnic studies courses can offer important narratives that are missing from the euro-centric lens that history is often shown through. We want to empower our students to learn more about themselves and their communities, build empathy and unity with other ethnic groups, and push for social justice.
*update* we reached 250 signatures on Sept 17; 500 on Sept 29; 750 on Sept 30; 1000 on Oct 2; 1500 on Oct 18. Our current goal is 2500 signatures.2,420 signatures
ETHNIC STUDIES NOW!
We, the undersigned, support the effort to make the successful completion of an A-G approved Ethnic Studies course a high school graduation requirement in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
According to the data from the California Department of Education, LAUSD only offers Ethnic Studies courses at 19 out of 94 of its senior high schools. Because of this limited access, only 691 out of a total of 152,507 high school students in LAUSD are taking Ethnic Studies courses, despite the fact that over 90% of LAUSD is comprised of students of color whose shared experiences are marginalized and forgotten in the mainstream curriculum.
It is time that all LAUSD students have access to Ethnic Studies courses -- courses that speak to students who have felt invisible and marginalized, to inspire and motivate them in their education, so that they learn their own history, engage actively in their own learning, and connect in meaningful ways to the larger community. Research has shown that a well-developed and well-thought-out Ethnic Studies curriculum has positive academic outcomes for students.