Jose Medina, a member of California Assembly, said that he did not care who was in the White House because he would have introduced the bill anyway. However, he added that President Trump is all the more reason to introduce the piece of legislation that would require students to attend ethnic classes. The AB 2772 legislation would force all the students in Californian high schools to have completed a course in ethnic studies for them to graduate. The course will apply in the same way that students are required to complete physical education, geography and biology for eligibility to graduate. If the draft legislation is passed into law, the requirement will take effect in 2023.
A Riverside area Democratic Assembly member says that no one should refer to themselves as educated if they are not aware of other cultures other than their own and the history of the different cultural and ethnic groups. This legislation comes at a time when other states all around the US have been fighting over or adopting such curriculum. The studies in the draft legislation focus on the perspectives and history of minority groups such as Latino Americans, African Americans and Native Americans. Oregon pioneered by having a requirement by law that all K-12 students should be taught such courses.
Just last year, Indiana high schools have also been required to offer racial or ethnic studies courses. An Arizona legislator who hails from the Republican Party tried to ban educators from using such material in schools through controversial legislation. However, a federal judge issued a ruling in December that rendered the law to be a violation of the constitution. The proponents of such courses have based their arguments on the fact that history classes in the United States are based on a perspective that’s male, white and Eurocentric.
Lawmakers like Medina are passing legislation that would act as a correction to that notion. Such classes will also serve to enable students to relate what they learn in school and the hard realities that they confront in the 21st century such as discrimination and racial bigotry. The Majority of high school students in the state of California are Latino while less than 25% are white. Medina says that having such students learn their culture, as well as their history, is empowering.