Medina Bill to Require Ethnic Studies for High School Graduation Passes State Legislature

Monday, August 31, 2020

SACRAMENTO— Tonight, Assemblymember Jose Medina’s (D-Riverside) bill, AB 331, which would make ethnic studies a California high school graduation requirement, passed both houses of the California Legislature and now moves to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Supported by a coalition of students, educators, and advocates, including State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, the California Teachers Association, and GENup, AB 331 will require high schools to provide ethnic studies starting in academic year 2025-26 and students to take at least one semester of an A-G approved ethnic studies course to graduate starting in 2029-30.

“Ethnic studies was first developed as an academic discipline more than 50 years ago in response to the narrow and Euro-centric version of history taught in our schools,” said Assemblymember Jose Medina. “Since then, students and educators have advocated for the histories and perspectives of people of color in this country to be included in the classroom and it hasn’t happened. Ethnic studies courses empower students and help build culturally competent citizens. AB 331 will help ensure that all students learn a more holistic and representative history of the United States.

“The passage of AB 331 comes on the heels of national civil unrest. This bill is long overdue. Our path towards a more just and equitable society begins in our classrooms, with youth understanding and recognizing the value in our diverse nation. As a former teacher, I saw the profound and positive impact ethnic studies had on my students. I thank my colleagues for supporting this historic legislation.”

AB 331 now moves to the Governor’s desk for a final decision. A signature from Governor Newsom would make this the first time in decades that a new course is added to California’s high school graduation requirements.

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Contact: Kelly Reynolds (916) 319-2061