Ethnic Studies NOW Petition - Compton
We, the undersigned, support the creation of an A-G approved Ethnic Studies course as a high school graduation requirement in each of the high schools in Compton, CA.
Using demographic data provided by the California Department of Education for the 2014-15 K-12 academic school year, our students are 79 % Hispanic/Latino, 19 % African American, .1% American Indian/Alaskan Native, .05 % Asian, .68 % Pacific Islander, .06 % Filipino, and .33 % White. The time is NOW for our ethnically diverse youth to see their hi/stories as worthy of study and inquiry. We believe in the power of a curriculum that can present a genealogy of common struggles and successes. The best education includes narratives often missing from a Euro-centric curriculum that marginalizes diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives. Ethnic Studies recognizes that our students are valuable and worthy of an education that teaches them a complex, well-rounded, and critical history of the United States.
Currently recorded in the US Census Bureau for the years 2010-2014, the high school graduation rate for the city of Compton is a mere 60.1%. Furthermore, only 6.4% of our population, between the same time period, obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Research demonstrates that Ethnic Studies curriculums can help close the achievement gap, reduce student truancy, increase student enrollment, reduce “drop-out” rates, and increase graduation rates. Ethnic Studies requires and prompts students to be critical thinkers in not only identifying complex social problems, but also to collaborate in real world problem solving and solution posing. Ethnic Studies allows our students the opportunity to become active agents of social change in their community by promoting civic engagement and leadership.
Currently, there are no formally established Ethnic Studies programs, in which all students have access, in any of our Compton high school’s. Further, we advocate for the establishment of Ethnic Studies curriculums at all levels of education: elementary, middle, and high schools. It is time that all Compton students have access to Ethnic Studies courses that, not only, make their K-12 education culturally relevant and embraces their lived experiences of being a part of a diversely rich community, but, also, motivates young people to connect in meaningful ways that lead to self-actualization.
Several neighboring school districts and throughout the state are actively implementing Ethnic Studies programs into their high school curriculum, including the largest district in the state of California, Los Angeles Unified School District. Compton has the opportunity to be at the forefront of this state-wide educational movement and join districts such as El Rancho Unified, Montebello Unified, San Francisco Unified, Sacramento Unified, San Diego Unified, Coachella Valley Unified, among many more.
Upon the passage of this resolution, we support the effort to establish a mandatory Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee that would aid in the development and implementation of this curriculum.
We demand that this committee to be a representative body that is inclusive of all stakeholders: parents, students, residents, teachers, workers- regardless of legal status, language, sexuality and/or any other identities that could or may be seen as a barrier for participation.
At the end of it all, this initiative is about self-love and dismantling the legacy of white supremacy that continues to perpetuate violence against ourselves, each other, and our community. We believe that when students begin to think critically about their own race, gender, ethnicity and location- students will be empowered to become agents of social justice.
By transforming our education, we are transforming our lives, and in effect transforming our city.
*** UPDATE *** AB 2016 was signed into law on September 13, 2016 by Governor Brown! Click here to download the full text of the law ---> DOWNLOAD
I support AB 2016, which instructs the Superintendent to establish a model curriculum for Ethnic Studies beginning the school year of 2017-18. Beginning with the school year after the development of the model curriculum, each school district with grade 9-12 will be required to offer the class to their students as an elective for social science.
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 the state’s school districts
Given California’s annual increase in population diversity, it is especially 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. In doing so, students gain an encompassed outlook on other cultures while learning respect and tolerance. Additionally, it provides students with the opportunity to learn about their respective culture in the context of California’s history.
Developing ethnic studies programs in all public high schools is an integral part of cultivating a classroom environment that is accepting of diverse cultures. It is vital for young people to learn about their history, but also important for them to feel like they can change their communities in positive ways. This bill will help close the achievement gap by reducing student truancy, increasing student enrollment, reduce drop-out rates, and better prepare Californian youth to be college-prepared and career-ready.