All public high school students in California will soon be required to take ethnic studies
California’s student body is very diverse: less than a quarter of public students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 are white. Through ethnic studies classes, students can learn their own stories as well as those of their classmates, Newsom said.
“America is shaped by our common history, much of it painful and marked by dire injustice,” Newsom wrote in his signature post. “Students deserve to see themselves in their studies, and they must understand the whole history of our country if we are to expect them to ever build a more just society.”
What exactly is the new law?
Assembly Bill 101 adds one semester of ethnic studies to the state high school graduation requirements.
This will introduce high school students to concepts that have generally been reserved at the college level.
Not only did Ethnic Studies originate on a Bay Area college campus, but it is also already required for graduation from California community colleges, the California State University system, and some campuses in California. University of California.
The details of what will be taught in secondary schools are up to the local districts.
The nearly 900-page model curriculum approved by the California Department of Education this year includes dozens of sample lessons, such as “#BlackLivesMatter and Social Change”, “Chinese Railroad Workers” and “US Housing Inequality: Redlining and Racial Housing Covenants “.
Who does it affect?
The first high school students subject to the new mandate are graduates of the 2029-30 school year. Schools are not required to start offering ethnic studies classes until 2025.
The requirement applies to students of all California public schools, including charters. There are currently about 1.7 million public high school students in the state.
Does anyone else do this?
Several districts in California have already added ethnic studies to their high school graduation requirements, including the Unified School Districts of San Diego, San Francisco, Fresno, and Los Angeles.
In 2017, Oregon passed a law directing the integration of ethnic studies concepts into existing social studies classes for K-12 students. The rule differs from California’s in that it does not create a separate course focused on ethnic studies.
Who is against the law?
California has worked for years to develop a model ethnic studies curriculum, but the early drafts were strongly rejected by many quarters. Amid these concerns, Newsom last year vetoed an almost identical version of the bill.
Previous versions of the state’s teaching guide have been criticized as being too left-wing, jargon-filled, and promoting “critical race theory,” an academic concept that argues that racism is rooted in US law and government institutions.
There was also condemnation of Jewish groups, who felt the program emphasized Palestinian oppression while barely mentioning the Holocaust, as well as other ethnic groups who felt excluded.
The final version of the state’s curriculum, approved in March, removed references that offended Jewish groups while adding lessons on the experiences of Jews, Arabs and Sikhs in America, reports Los Angeles Times . He also hit on terms such as “cisheteropatriarchy” and “hxrstory”, as well as the language linking capitalism to oppression.
Yet the criticisms remain. Some supporters of the original guidelines believe the scope should not have been extended beyond the four ethnic groups that lived in America before the Europeans arrived.
Others find the current version still too radical. Williamson M. Evers, former assistant secretary in the US Department of Education, told the Los Angeles Times that the model curriculum was “steeped in” content that made it “racially divided and burdened with ideology à la fashion “.
As districts across the state determine how to implement this new mandate, the debate will undoubtedly continue.
What we eat
Small pieces of cream cheese in these pumpkin muffins make for a rich and creamy treat.
Where we travel
Today’s travel tip comes from Barry Goldberg, a reader who lives in Durham, NC:
I have been coming to California on vacation for over 50 years now. Always my wife and I love Point Reyes National Seashore. Walking on Drakes Beach, going up and down the stairs to the lighthouse on a clear day, spotting tule elk in the northern part of the park are all magical experiences. We never tire of this neighborhood.
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.
What we recommend
These 10 new books.
And before leaving, good news
It could grab Charlie Brown’s attention: The pumpkin that won first place in the annual Half Moon Bay competition cost 2,191 pounds, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Half Moon Bay, a coastal town south of San Francisco that has won the title of “Pumpkin Capital,” has hosted the competition for nearly half a century.
Here’s a funny story from the article:
Al Adreveno, 96, quadruple mayor of Half Moon Bay, addressed the crowd to give a brief history of how the city has established itself as the ‘pumpkin capital of the world’.
In the 1970s, Adreveno said he was introduced to the mayor of Circleville, Ohio, who also proclaimed himself the pumpkin capital of the world. The two cities clashed during a weigh-in, which was held in 1974 in front of the town hall.
Half Moon Bay won – by a pound, he said.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. – Soumya
PS here the mini-crosswords of the day, and a clue: Surprise ending (5 letters).