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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Education & Student Activism | Racial Justice
Bill to Promote Ethnic Studies in Public Schools Introduced
(SACRAMENTO) — Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) introduced legislation this week that would create a task force to identify the appropriate curricula for establishing and implementing ethnic studies in public high schools statewide.
“We can’t continue to ignore the diversity of our student population,” says Alejo. “Our education system should reflect the demographics of our state. AB 1750 makes sure that we identify the best standards to teach ethnic studies at the high school level, which would broaden a student’s outlook on life and promote awareness of their own and other’s cultures.”
Assemblymember Alejo’s leadership on this issue goes back over a decade, since he worked on the passage of a similar bill, AB 2001, as an Assembly Fellow for Assemblymember Manny Diaz in 2001.
“Today’s introduction of AB 1750 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo begins the process to establish landmark legislation in the State of California, which will require the teaching of ethnic studies in our public schools,” says Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos, Co-founder of the CSULB Chicano and Latino Studies Department. “This bill coincides with the 45th anniversary of numerous ethnic studies departments at California colleges and universities that were established in 1969. Unfortunately, the teaching of this discipline in our public schools today is still null and void. AB 1750 provides a vehicle to change that.”
California has one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the country.
About half of California’s students are Latino. Non-Latino white students make up about 26% of the state student body. Most of the remaining students are Asian (9%), African-American (6%), or Filipino (3%).
“Due to the diverse demographics of our state, public schools should have the opportunity to improve human relations and enhance socio-cultural understanding,” says Alejo. “AB 1750 provides the best way for our students to appreciate the history, culture and contributions of the African American, Asian American, America Indian and Chicano/Latino populations of our State.”
AB 1750 will be eligible to be heard in a California State Assembly policy committee after 30 days of being in print.
Luis Alejo represents the 30th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of the Salinas Valley, Monterey County, San Benito County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.
Tuesday, February 18 2014