California Governor Jerry Brown has turned his back on California’s diverse student body and communities when he refused to sign California’s Ethnic Studies Bill.
The bill by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) could have potentially paved the way for California to be the first in the nation to develop a state-wide curriculum for ethnic studies.
The Huffington Post reports Brown considered the bill unnecessary.
“This bill creates what is essentially a redundant process,” Brown wrote in his message to the legislature. “The Instructional Quality Commission is in the midst of revising the history-social science framework, which includes guidance on ethnic studies courses.
“Creating yet another advisory body specific to ethnic studies would be duplicative and undermine our current curriculum process.”
Brown seems to have missed the point here. Talking about an ethnic studies curriculum under the mammoth umbrella of history and social science undermines the drive for a diverse multi-cultural education. By merging it into other discussions, it minimizes the opportunity to broaden education to prepare students for interacting successfully with an increasingly diverse population.
It would be too easy for ethnic studies to get lost in a wider discussion of history and social science. I’ve personally seen this happen at the high school where both my children graduated. As they prepared to layout a master plan for the future, the school spent barely minutes discussing how a diverse curriculum and student body could benefit its students.
Diversity would only be discussed when parents of color brought up the subject. The school would acknowledge it, move onto other topics and basically forget about diversity as a core principle. It was an afterthought at my children’s school, and its an afterthought for Governor Brown.