LAUSD board votes to include ethnic studies classes in K-12 curriculum

Ethnic studies | Getty Images / iStockphoto

Joining the CSU, the LAUSD will now implement an ethnic studies requirement for its students

STUDENTS in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) would now have to take an ethnic studies course as a graduation requirement, according to a new resolution passed on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

The resolution is an expansion of existing ethnic studies curriculum, and it ensures that teaching materials at all grade levels include texts written by authors of color, particularly Black writers, an historic blindspot to curricula that predominantly favored white writers.

According to the LAUSD Board of Education, these ethnic studies curricula are expected to be implemented by the 2023-2024 academic year.

“Culturally meaningful and relevant curricula lead students to become more personally engaged and more likely to graduate,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez, who proposed the resolution. “This resolution is centered on the principle that every child in our district deserves an education that tells their story, that reflects their identity, and that challenges us all to tear down the systems of oppression, racism, anti-Blackness, anti-indigeneity and white supremacy that have stained the legacy of our country.”

The LAUSD’s vote for this new requirement follows the California State University system, which recently included an ethnic studies component in its required courses for graduation.

In addition to the inclusion of ethnic studies for high school students, LAUSD’s resolution includes the integration of the studies into the PreK-8 program. It also ensures that high school students will be able to take one ethnic studies class by the 2022-2023 academic year, the board said.

For years, school districts in California have been pushing to include ethnic studies courses in academic curricula to reflect the rich, multiracial history of California.

Included in that impetus is deeper studies into the ways in which racial discrimination operates in the modern world, especially in relation to the school-to-prison pipeline and racial bias in the criminal justice system.

In response to the national conversation of policing in America after the shootings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the LAUSD Board of Education voted to cut the school police budget by $25 million in June. The board promised to divert those funds into school programs that support students, especially Black students and students in lower-income areas.

The LAUSD Board of Education is expected to officially implement the resolution within 180 days, the board said in a statement. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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