CREDIT: Luis Alejo

Press conference in support of the Completion of Ethnic Studies on June 27, 2018 in Sacramento.

CREDIT: Luis Alejo

Press conference in support of the Completion of Ethnic Studies on June 27, 2018 in Sacramento.

Governor Gavin Newsom joined lawmakers Monday by signing a bill requiring California State University students entering freshman between 2021 and 22 to take a course on ethnic studies that focuses on one of four ethnic groups .

According to Assembly Bill 1460, all students enrolled at all 23 CSU locations must take a 3-unit class in Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies or Latina and Latino Studies. The bill proposed by Congregation leader Shirley Weber was passed by the congregation a year ago and by the Senate in June.

According to the California Faculty Association, the new law will make California the first state to require ethnic studies as a graduation requirement for university.

Newsom's decision rejected a competing plan by the CSU Board of Trustees requiring students to study ethnology or social justice from a wide range of courses taught at universities. This plan gave the system two additional years to implement the requirement.

"The university will begin implementing the requirements of the new legislation," said Mike Uhlenkamp, ​​a spokesman for the CSU system.

The CSU, which opposed the legislation, estimates the system could cost about $ 16.5 million a year to implement.

One of the main questions during the controversy was whether the university would control its own curriculum or whether the state parliament could or should tell him what to teach. Newsom, who is an ex officio member of the university's board of trustees as governor and served on the board as lieutenant governor for eight years, was on the side of his co-legislators in this case.

The university system had instead proposed a separate compulsory degree in ethnic studies that would include "social justice" courses and classes that examine the history and culture of other oppressed communities such as Muslims, Jews or LGBTQ people. The Chancellery and the academic senate of the CSU also rejected AB 1460 because they viewed it as a legislative excess and did not want the curriculum to be dictated by the legislature.

However, the CSU proposal was rejected by members of the Department of Ethnic Studies and the California Faculty Association. The association celebrated Newsom's signing of Newsom-sponsored legislation.

"Gov. By signing AB 1460, Newsom demonstrated its understanding of the power of genuine ethnic studies graduation to transform people's lives and transform the racial trajectory of that state and country, ”said Charles Toombs, president of the association. "In addition, unlike so many others, Governor Newsom heard and truly heard the voices and lenses of the Department of Ethnology, students, and the community."

As the largest university system in the country, the CSU has a long history and is a leader in training in ethnic studies. The College of Ethnic Studies in the state of San Francisco became the first college of its kind in the country in 1969. Cal State Los Angeles created the country's first Chicano degree program in 1968. Almost every campus in the CSU system, with the exception of Cal Maritime, offers at least one ethnic study course.

The movement to encourage ethnic studies has been debated over the years. However, this latest push came amid national protests against racism, calls for systemic change sparked by the police murder of George Floyd, and significant calls for inclusion and diversity on all campuses as voters will soon consider Repeal the 1996 Positive Action Prohibition in November 1996 on Race and Ethnicity in order to decide on admission and recruitment to universities.

A similar mandate for ethnic studies for K-12 schools is supported by lawmakers. Bill 331 would require students entering grade 9 in the fall of 2025 to take a month-long ethnic studies course in high school. If it becomes law, California would be the first state to make such a high school requirement in the nation.

For more reports like this, click here to sign up for EdSource's free daily email about the latest in education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *