Ethnic studies bill delayed in California amid controversy - LA Times by Howard Blume and Nina Agrawal

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A proposed law that would require all California high school students take an ethnic studies course is on hold for this year after the draft curriculum prompted weeks of escalating controversy from diverse groups whose members said they were misrepresented or excluded.

The Thursday decision by the bill’s author quells weeks of critiques from leaders of pro-Israel organizations, who challenged the lack of teaching about anti-Semitism , and organizations representing Armenians, Greeks, Hindus and Koreans, whose members want lessons about their people to be taught. Meanwhile, a broad coalition of student groups and educators, mainly people of color, rallied in support of the current draft. In the midst of the critiques, state educators announced that the first draft of curriculum fell short and would be substantially revised.

Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside), the author, said he remains committed to making ethnic studies a graduation requirement, but problems and disagreements with the draft curriculum need “ample time” to be worked out.

“I strongly believe in the tenets of ethnic studies and continue to assert that it is time for California to make the subject a requirement for all students,” Medina said in a statement. “It is not a question of whether the subject itself is necessary but rather, how do we ensure the curriculum is comprehensive, rigorous, and inclusive enough. This underscores the importance of taking the time necessary to ensure we get the curriculum right.”