Sacramento – Assemblymember Jose Medina’s (D-Riverside) bill AB 101, which would make ethnic studies a graduation requirement, passed the Assembly Education Committee.
It passed in a 5-2 vote last week with republicans Megan Dahle and Kevin Kiley voting against.
AB 101 would add the completion of a course in ethnic studies based on model curriculum or existing ethnic studies course that meets the A-G requirement, starting in the 2025-26 school year, and would require all students to have taken one semester course in ethnic studies for students graduating in 2029-30.
AB 101 would update high school curriculum and make it reflective of California’s diverse population.
“Knowledge of history plays a critical role in shaping who we become. When I was growing up, the history teacher of those who look like me was not represented in the classroom. As a former Ethnic Studies teacher, I saw firsthand how much engaged my students were when they saw themselves reflected in the coursework. In order to build racial justice in this state and country, all of our students need to learn the real history of America – that history includes the diverse experience and perspectives of people of color. I remain committed to ensuring we can make Ethnic Studies a high school graduation requirement,” stated Medina.
AB 101 will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
The bill was introduced in January by Medina.
“When you see yourself represented in what you are learning, you are more likely to want to learn, to want to read that textbook or that literature book and study how your ancestors have contributed, said Michelle Alas, student, Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, and member of Generation Up.
“Ethnic studies will serve as a preventative measure for further societal inequities and will be the basis of permissive and civically aware mindsets, said Sanya Dhama, student, Santiago High School in Corona, and member of California Association of Student Councils (CASC). “By congregating, increasing cultural competence, and connecting with each member of our diverse community, we will work towards a more unified community and country.”
“As civil unrest and racial tension have risen across the nation, ethnic studies provides hope for fostering understanding and unity,” said Assemblymember Jose Medina. “Requiring ethnic studies to be taught in high schools ensures that our state’s diversity is reflected in our education system. It is vital for students to learn about their history. This empowers students because they see their backgrounds, cultures, and experiences reflected in their studies for the first time. AB 101 is necessary to ensure all students develop a foundational and accurate understanding of United States history. I am re-introducing this bill because we can’t afford to wait any longer. The time is now to ensure ethnic studies for all by making it a high school graduation requirement.”