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.
*** 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.