PETITION TO IMPLEMENT ETHNIC STUDIES IN SANTA ANA
We, the undersigned, support the effort to construct and implement an ethnic studies program that extends to all schools K-12, an ethnic studies high school graduation requirement, and the planning of an ethnic studies summer institute where teachers can engage in pedagogy and curriculum that is culturally relevant and responsive to the Santa Ana community.
Santa Ana is rich in diversity, with cultural roots from places like Cambodia, Vietnam, Samoa, Central America, and one of the largest Mexican American populations outside of Mexico, yet the majority of our students’ histories and cultures have been pushed out of the curriculum. We have a diversity of people that are Asian American, African American, American Indian, Chicanx/Latinx, and White, yet much of the curriculum has remained eurocentric. We want a curriculum that reflects the diversity and linguistic legacy of our students.
Through ethnic studies, we want a curriculum that will teach tolerance, respect, and, most importantly, love and appreciation for the various cultures and histories of our diverse population. To quote the Common Core English/Language Arts Framework, “With over sixty languages other than English spoken by California’s students. . .[the] state of California recognizes its deep responsibility to ensure that each and every student receives a world class 21st century education. . .[and] to discuss all aspects of California’s diverse student population.” We need to investigate the rich histories and lived experiences of the people that make up the city of Santa Ana, California, and the totality of this great nation. We need classes that reduce student truancy and dropout rates, increase restorative practices and student enrollment, and better prepare California youth to be college and career-ready. Most importantly, we want ethnic studies to empower students to transform themselves and their communities in positive ways.
*** 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.