California first to require high school ethnic studies, under Riverside legislator’s bill

Beginning with the Class of 2030, California high school students must pass an ethnic studies class to graduate, after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a Riverside legislator’s bill into law Friday, Oct. 8, making the state the first with such a requirement.

The third time was the charm for Assembly Member Jose Medina, D-Riverside, a former ethnic studies teacher at Riverside’s Poly High School and an ex-Jurupa school board member.

California makes ethnic studies a high school requirement

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Along with English, science, math and other graduation requirements, California high school students will have to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday that makes California among the first in the nation to list ethnic studies as a graduation requirement for all public high school students.

Assemblyman Jose Medina, a Democrat from Riverside who authored the legislation that has been years in the making, called it a huge step for California.

California becomes first state to require ethnic studies in high school

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Friday making California the first state to require all students to complete a semester-long course in ethnic studies to earn a high school diploma.

The mandate will take effect starting with the graduating class of 2029-30, although high schools must start to offer courses starting in the 2025-26 school year. Hundreds of high schools already have such courses, and Los Angeles Unified and Fresno Unified voted last year to require students to take ethnic studies.

New Law Opens Door to More Bachelor’s Degree Options at Community Colleges

Legislation that eases the way for community college students to earn bachelor’s degrees in specific workforce fields not offered by the University of California or California State University was signed Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Assembly Bill 927 eliminates the 2026 sunset date on 15 existing baccalaureate degree programs and opens the door to as many as 30 new bachelor’s programs per year at any of the state’s 116 community colleges. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside), who chairs the Higher Education Committee.

Commentary: Streamline and modernize the Cal Grant program for students

We could not imagine the hardships of being a student in 2021. Today, students face numerous hurdles in pursuing higher education, including competitive acceptance rates, the lack of jobs after graduation, delayed degree completion and disjointed resources for housing, basic needs and mental health. 

On top of these struggles is figuring out how to pay for college, particularly for those who are low-income, but find themselves locked out of student aid programs. Our students will determine the future of this state, and we must do more to support their academic success.

Opinion: Newsom must sign ethnic studies graduation requirement

Nearly two decades ago as legislative staff, I drafted the first bill aiming to standardize ethnic studies in California high schools. Last week was surreal as I witnessed the California Legislature give final approval to Assembly Bill 101, by Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, that would make California the first state in the nation to require an ethnic studies course for high school graduation.