California became the first state in the US to require students to complete Ethnic Studies to graduate from high school when Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 101 into law in October 2021.
To graduate from high school in 2029-30, students will be expected to take ethnic studies lessons in addition to the usual subjects of mathematics, English, history, and science.
The field of study known as "ethnic studies" draws on various academic disciplines to investigate how people's racial, ethnic, religious, and other identities manifest in their daily lives. Ethnic studies courses are sometimes exclusively offered at colleges and universities rather than high schools.
The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum was adopted by the State Board of Education on March 18, 2021, after considerable adjustments. According to an example curriculum overview, the legislation’s goal is to educate students for the first time about the history, traditions, struggles, and triumphs of historically oppressed people.
Traditional sorts of ethnic studies will be prioritized in the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. Native American studies, African American studies, Chicana and Latina studies, and Asian American and Pacific Islander studies were the first to develop in higher education in California.
The curriculum comprises educational approaches and instructional ideas linked to ethnic studies. Participants are not expected to complete the curriculum; it acts as a guide to help them approach the issue.
During these sessions, students will not only be able to see themselves and the people in their families mirrored in the curriculum, but they will also get insight into the lives of people of various ethnic backgrounds.
Students on the brink of dropping out reported substantial increases in attendance and grades after enrolling in ethnic studies programs, according to Stanford University research. According to the survey, students increased their attendance rates and the number of course credits necessary to graduate.
Ethnic studies enable all students and instructors to start having these conversations. Furthermore, research conducted by ethnic studies experts and classroom teachers have shown that courses in the field provide the following advantages:
Students were assisted in developing a strong sense of identity; they were permitted to acquire a concept of agency and academic drive; they were assisted in discovering their historical and genealogical beginnings; and they were assisted in developing robust academic motivation.
Students are less inclined to act in stereotypical ways. Increasing young people's political engagement and knowledge of their communities may contribute to the student’s psychological and social well-being. Children were taught to critically assess societal issues, respond to them, and speak out about them.
Critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and interpersonal communication abilities have all increased while taking ethnic studies courses.
Although the junior and senior years of high school are dedicated to studying history, teachers seldom add topics in these courses that may help students better grasp the world around them. Ethnic group research is essential. Many high school students need the chance to study about the many groups around the globe. Students who study ethnic studies may learn how to interact with individuals from other cultures in a more open and accepting way.
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