Bill requiring California high school students to take ethnic studies advances

A bill that would make ethnic studies a graduation requirement in California is among a series of education-related bills from Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, that are moving to the Senate floor.

The bill would require high schools students in California to take a semester of ethnic studies in order to graduate, beginning in the 2023-24 school year. Medina said the course would “help ensure that all students learn about the diverse histories of the people that make up America.”

Require ethnic studies to graduate high school?

This week the Legislature—which had been considering a bill to make California the first state to require ethnic studies for high school graduation—backed away from creating such a statewide mandate, citing costs estimated to top $400 million. Sponsors settled on a pilot program instead.

The pilot would cover 10 to 15 school districts across the state that will opt in to have ethnic studies as a graduation requirement. Schools would begin applying next year and the program would create the requirement for some students as early as 2022, with schools reporting their findings in 2024.

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Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, who chairs the Assembly Higher Education Committee, was pleased with the funding levels for the UC and Cal State systems.

“The budget originally proposed by the governor significantly underfunded these institutions, which would have been detrimental to our universities and our students,” he said. “The final budget agreement not only fully funds these institutions, but also allocates an additional $5 million to the UC, and an additional $120 million to the CSU for enrollment growth.

Metrolink investigates ‘racist’ comments at Riverside station; conductor, security guard on leave

Metrolink is investigating a private security guard’s alleged remark that a Riverside train with many Hispanics was bound for Tijuana and a conductor’s apparent dismissal of a woman’s complaint about the comment.

The family of Riverside resident Felisha Carrasco and Assemblyman Jose Medina termed the remark a “racist” comment, while a Metrolink statement called it an “alleged racially insensitive remark.”

High school ethnic studies would be required in California under Riverside lawmaker’s bill

A Riverside legislator’s bill seeks to make ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement in California

The bill introduced by Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, a former ethnic studies teacher, has passed the Assembly floor and moved to the state Senate.

It would require the roughly 1.7 million public high schools students in the state take a semester of ethnic studies in order to graduate, beginning in the 2023-24 school year.

Here's a worthy ethnic studies requirement: Make students pick grapes to graduate

It's high school graduation season, which means seniors are making big plans, like what their great Instagram hashtags will be and how they'll sneak in vape puffs during the commencement ceremony. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Sacramento are debating Assembly Bill 2772, which would mandate that all high schoolers complete at least one course in ethnic studies in order to graduate.

The bill was written by Riverside-area Democrat Jose Medina, who you will be unsurprised to learn is a former ethnic studies teacher. He's quoted in an Appropriations committee analysis as saying, "Studies have proven that attendance and the grade-point average of at-risk high school students have improved when culturally relevant pedagogy is added to the curriculum."

Burbank Unified begins discussions on ethnic-studies requirement

"This job is made harder when our children of color do not see themselves in their studies. When you don't see people like yourself, the message is you're invisible. As well, students who only learn about or see people who look like them will not be prepared to navigate an increasingly diverse society," she added.

Jimenez's comments come as California Assembly Bill 2772, introduced Feb. 16, moves through the Assembly Committee on Appropriations after having received approval from the Assembly Education Committee.


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Cal State officials are hopeful. "We're encouraged by discussions that we've had with the Legislature," Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Steve Relyea told trustees Tuesday. "This is the time, in these last few weeks, to continue ... telling the story of the California State University."
They're getting some political support. On Wednesday, Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside), chairman of the Assembly's higher education committee, is holding a Sacramento news conference with students and faculty to pressure Brown to "fully fund" both Cal State and UC.