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.
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.1,257 signaturesAdd signature