Bill to increase access to ethnic studies ready for Gov. Brown’s signature

SACRAMENTO — State Assemblymember Jose Medina’s (D-Riverside) bill AB 2772, which increases access to ethnic studies education, was concurred upon on the Assembly Floor on Thursday, August 30.

AB 2772 was amended in the Senate to create a pilot program that would allow up to 11 school districts add the completion of a course in ethnic studies to high school graduation requirements through an opt-in grant program, starting in the 2021-22 school year. The original version of the bill would have required high schools students to take a semester of ethnic studies in order to graduate.

The ethnic studies curriculum that will be implemented is currently being developed by the Instructional Quality Commission of the State Board of Education. AB 2772, as amended, will also require the California Department of Education to provide resources and technical assistance to districts who are participating in the opt-in pilot program.

Districts who participate in the pilot will be required to report to the Legislature by 2024 with best practices and findings from the pilot.

These amendments ensure the state adopts a measurable approach to implementing ethnic studies as a graduation requirement and creates an opportunity for research and improvement strategies to work towards ultimately scaling this program across the state.

“This bill allows for a thoughtful approach on constructively impacting students both socially and academically,” said California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “For these reasons, I support AB 2772.”

“I am thrilled that the Legislature recognizes the value of ethnic studies education and has approved AB 2772,” said Medina. “Ethnic studies courses are shown to better engage and empower students, as well as improve academic performance. All students can benefit from this holistic curriculum that will help will them better understand the rich histories and cultures that make up the United States.”

The bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for signature.

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