We, the undersigned, support the creation of an A-G approved Ethnic Studies course as a high school graduation requirement in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Ethnic Studies benefits all students by providing a complex, rich, and critical history of the United States. Given the multitude of issues facing our county, it is important to prepare our students to be global citizens with the knowledge of and the appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures and histories.
Currently, there are no formally established Ethnic Studies programs, in which all students have access, in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, despite the fact that the majority of students are students of color. Research demonstrates that Ethnic Studies curriculum can help close the achievement gap, reduce student truancy, increase student enrollment, reduce drop-out rates, and increase graduation rates. Further, we advocate for the establishment of Ethnic Studies curriculum at all levels, high school, secondary, and elementary.
It is time that all Santa Barbara Unified School District students have access to Ethnic Studies courses -- courses that inspire and motivate young people to connect in meaningful ways to the larger community. Several high school districts throughout the state are implementing Ethnic Studies programs, including the largest district in CA, Los Angeles Unified School District.