California Becomes The First State To Adopt An Ethnic Studies Program

California has become the first state to adopt a statewide ethnic studies curriculum. The curriculum was approved by an 11-0 vote during a California Board of Education meeting on Thursday.

“We are reminded daily that racism is not only a legacy of the past but a clear and present danger,” California Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond said.

“We must understand this history if we are finally to end it.”

The state's ethnic studies will consist of 33 lesson plans that different districts can choose from. Educators will pass along information regarding historical traditions, historic traditions and much more. Ultimately, the California Board of Education hopes to "promote critical thinking and a rigorous analysis of history, the status quo and systems of oppression."

“A well-taught ethnic studies curriculum is beneficial to all students, regardless of race, that every student’s life is enhanced by the knowledge of ethnic studies, about learning about the four major groups that they have interacted with,” California Secretary of State Shirley Weber explained.

“It transforms and changes their lives.”

Educators throughout the state have advocated for the implementation of this curriculum for some time. Along with this curriculum, Governor Gavin Newsom has allocated $5 million to help teachers learn how to present these lessons in the classroom.

“Our students said to us that they wanted to see representations of themselves. They asked us why they didn’t learn about their own histories in school,” California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

Governor Newsom previously vetoed curriculums that he was presented with because he was dissatisfied with the draft. This time around, Assemblyman Jose Medina is confident that Newsom will sign the curriculum.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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