California Educator

February/March 2021

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A L I F O R N I A C O U L D B E the first state in the nation to require all students to take ethnic studies to graduate high school if lawmakers are successful in ushering CTA co-spon- sored AB 101 through the Legislature and to the governor's desk. Authored by Assembly Member Jose Medina (D-Riverside), AB 101 would make the completion of an ethnic studies class a California high school graduation requirement at a time when educators, students and elected leaders say it's needed most. "We are poised to lead the nation in educational equality and equity," Medina said at a Jan. 27 press conference. "e time for ethnic studies is now!" Supporters are hoping this is finally the year the requirement becomes a reality after numerous dis- appointments, including last year when Medina's AB 331 passed the Legislature and was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. CTA State Council delegates voted in Januar y to co-sponsor AB 101, which would go into effect for students graduating in the 2029-30 school year and require schools to offer an ethnic studies course starting in 2025-26. Science educator Pia VanMeter said ethnic studies is far too import- ant to be left as an option. "When students learn to appreciate diverse histories and experiences, it makes them well-rounded individuals," said VanMeter, a member of Riverside City Teachers Association. "ey also become more self-aware, empathetic, understanding and civ- ically engaged citizens of the world. This lesson has always been our mission as educators, regardless of what subject we teach." Medina said that despite decades of scholarship and activism, ethnic studies has not been integrated into K-12 classrooms, which means many students graduate high school without exposure to a culturally comprehen- sive education and lack understanding of our country's diverse and complex history. CTA believes: • Participation in ethnic studies has positive effects for all students. Providing these learning opportu- nities and engagement with the study of race and equity boosts achievement in other academic areas and promotes a positive identity. Pia VanMeter speaks at the January press conference on AB 101. The Time Is Now CTA co-sponsors landmark ethnic studies legislation By Julian Peeples • We have a duty to teach our youth about their ancestral legacies. • Culture is essential in the fight for racial justice and equity. • It is the right of all California students to have access to quality ethnic studies curriculum. "It is our duty as educators to prepare the next gener- ation of changemakers. Students look to us to lead by example. Th i s m e a n s w e m u st d o th e impactful , lifesaving work of building awareness and com- passion through the stories of Black, Indigenous and people of color," VanMeter said. "We have a chance at making the world a better place today." Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony urmond said the continued rise in acts of racism nationwide and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by white supremacists show why this education is so crucial. AB 101 is currently awaiting a hearing by the Assembly Education Committee. C "We must do the impactful and lifesaving work of building awareness and compassion through the stories of Black, Indigenous and people of color." —Pia VanMeter, Riverside City Teachers Association Draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum: A Work in Progress I N J A N U A R Y, CTA submitted comments to the state Instructional Quality Commission on the third draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, which educators will be able to use to develop curriculum for the implementation of an ethnic studies course. CTA leaders said the draft still needs improvements to provide useful guidance to educators. " This model curriculum, being the first in the nation, needs to be one that California teachers can use meaningfully, intentionally and effectively," CTA President E. Toby Boyd wrote in the letter to the IQC. To read more about the curriculum and CTA's letter to the commission, go to cta-co-sponsors-landmark-ethnic-studies-legislation. 40 Advocacy

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