Tuesday, September 22, 2020

n Monday, California unveiled its "Education to End Hate" initiative, a plan to offer anti-racist training to public school communities. The state is also moving forward with a mandatory ethnic studies curriculum for public schools despite threats made earlier in the month by President Donald Trump to deny federal funding to any schools that teach curriculum based on "The 1619 Project," a New York Times Magazine feature examining the nation's anti-Black political history.

While it's unclear whether California's new curriculum will actually incorporate "The 1619 Project," the state's educational plan seemingly defies the Trump Administration's recent denunciation of anti-racism and diversity training programs as "divisive, anti-American propaganda."

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

At a moment of national reckoning about persistent racial inequality, the responses from the Trump administration and the state of California are as contrasting as night and day. 

The White House issued a memo calling on federal agencies to eliminate anti-racism training focused on critical race theory and white privilege, casting these ideas as un-American. Meanwhile in California, a bill to make ethnic studies a high-school graduation requirement waits for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.

It is often said that as California goes, so goes the nation. While the state has its own history with discriminatory policies, the ethnic studies bill known as Assembly Bill 331, authored by one of us, represents hope for the future. It shows how a mutual and accurate understanding of history would pave the path forward toward reconciliation and racial justice in the nation’s largest, most diverse state.

Monday, September 21, 2020

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Education announced new anti-racism lessons and teacher training for school districts on Monday, days after President Donald Trump decried the notion of teaching slavery as a founding tenet of the U.S. and called for a more “patriotic education."

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond pointed to the police killing of George Floyd in May, bullying of Asian American students amid the coronavirus and a spike in anti-immigrant rhetoric and antisemitism since the 2016 election as reasons for the project.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Starting in the 2024-25 school year, Riverside Unified School District students will be required to complete an ethnic studies class to graduate.

The Riverside school board, which unanimously approved the change at its Tuesday, Sept. 15, meeting, beat the state to the punch. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign a bill making ethnic studies a requirement for California’s high school students, but as of Friday afternoon, Sept. 18, the bill remains on his desk, unsigned.

The vote came at the request of board member Angelo Farooq, who requested the vote at the board’s July 21 board meeting, which included a discussion of the district’s changing ethnic studies program.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Students are demanding Gov. Gavin Newsom sign a bill that would require high school students across California to take an ethnic studies class to graduate.

"My parents are both first-generation immigrants, they came from Hunan, which is where all the spicy food from China is from," Alvin Lee, 17, said chuckling.

Lee is a first-generation American and as a high school senior, sees flaws in our education system.

"Christopher Columbus is the savior, right all these white figures are the saviors but they don't talk about what Asian Americans, African Americans, what Hispanic Americans and Native Americans did to build America," Lee said emphatically. "We don't learn about this lived history and I think it's very destructive. I think it almost erases some of our identity."

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Last month, when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1460, a bill mandating an ethnic studies course requirement for all undergraduates in the California State University (CSU) system, Alondra Esquivel Garcia felt a sense of relief. Garcia, who is a senior at San Francisco State University and a student leader in the Cal State Student Association, had not been exposed to ethnic studies until she stepped onto her college campus, but studying the subject had affected her deeply. Now, she hopes, more of her peers will have the same experience.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

San Diego legislators and others are calling for Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign a bill that would require ethnic studies for high school students, a bill that has sat on his desk for two weeks.

AB 331 was authored by Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, and passed both chambers of the state Legislature at the end of August.

The bill would require public schools to offer a semester course in ethnic studies starting in 2025, and it would require high school students, starting with the class of 2030, to take ethnic studies in order to graduate.

There would be no state-mandated ethnic studies curriculum. School districts and charter schools would individually adopt the curriculum they want.