Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Gone is the cisheteropatriarchy and the hxrstory. A year after producing a bloated, jargon-laden model curriculum for a high school ethnic studies course, a California committee of teachers and academics has put forth a more coherent and flexible document that drops the previous overload of topics, ditches the assertion that capitalism is on par with white supremacy and racism as a form of “power and oppression” and provides less politically slanted suggestions for lessons.

The new draft, which was prompted by the stiff blowback the initial proposal drew from state officials and some educators, will get its first review from the state Board of Education Thursday. The board’s goal is to have a model curriculum adopted by March so that state high schools could use it in the next school year.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

“Herstory,” for example, is a term used to describe history written from a feminist or women’s perspective. The term is also deployed when referring to counter-narratives within history.

Assemblyman Jose Medina, the author of the bill that would mandate ethnic studies, is optimistic about how the final product will turn out.

“The model curriculum is still a draft and in the early stages of the input process,” said Medina (D-Riverside). “I trust this process and believe we will end up with a strong ethnic studies framework that will provide a solid structure for educators to build off as they bring ethnic studies to life in their classrooms.”

In a related development, last month the Cal State Board of Trustees revised its general education curriculum for the first time in 40 years to create an ethnic studies and social justice requirement of all undergraduate students.

Monday, July 20, 2020

California has its newest college: Madera Community College. 

The college, located in California’s Central Valley north of Fresno, was recognized Monday by the California community college system’s Board of Governors as the 116th college in the system. Previously, the campus was Madera Community College Center and operated as a satellite campus of Reedley College. 

“This accomplishment is something that our community has been waiting for a long time and much needed,” Angel Reyna, president of the college, said in a statement. The new college’s goals include becoming “student and community centered,” and providing “equitable outcomes for each of our students, and to that end we commit towards transforming ourselves into an anti-racist institution while producing the future workforce our community needs,” Reyna added.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement – when police have come under heavy criticism; statues viewed as celebrating racists have been toppled or destroyed; and, millions have taken to the streets to protest racism, white supremacy, white privilege and injustices to people of color – could ethnic studies in schools help diminish or solve racism in the country?

Assemblymember José Medina, who drafted legislation to make ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement; and, Dolores Huerta, a civil rights activist who co-founded the United Farm Workers, think it can definitely make a difference in the right direction.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board of Education is making ethnic and gender studies a requirement for graduation, starting with the class of 2025.

Last year, the district offered eight courses in the subject area across all high schools in the district.

The board now plans to develop a five-year plan to continue to expand course offerings and ensure the successful implementation of the new requirement.

California Assemblymember Jose Medina, who spoke to the board Tuesday, is working to get a bill passed that would make ethnic studies a graduation requirement for all high schools in the state.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, received good news amid the unsettling coronavirus pandemic: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $202 billion budget yesterday that allocates $25 million in ongoing funding to the medical school. This additional operational support for the state’s newest and only UC community-based medical school will help the school double its enrollment over several years — from 250 to 500 medical doctors in training. 

The expanded enrollment of eventually about 125 students in each incoming class will address the critical shortage in both primary-care and specialist physicians that inland Southern California faces. The Inland Empire, comprised of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, has only 35 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, far short of the 60 to 80 per 100,000 recommended by the California Health Care Foundation.  

Sunday, June 28, 2020

It is refreshing and good to see young people once again getting actively involved in the ongoing struggle for social justice. There was a good turnout at this year's Juneteenth celebration at Yokuts Park marking the end of slavery in the United States.

Speaking of slavery, there have been images all over the news lately of statues of historical figures being forcefully torn down, everything from Confederate generals to ex-presidents to St. Junipero Serra of the Catholic Church. Their sin? Enslaving Blacks and indigenous people in the United States.

But instead of toppling statues a la Saddam Hussein, perhaps it's time to reconsider whether these figures deserve to have schools, parks and other public places named in their honor.

"It would be nice to remove their names from schools," said 18-year-old college freshman Kawanna Williams, who was among the throng at Yokuts Park. "The past is like repeating itself."