A bill that would mandate that high school students in California take an Ethnic Studies class passed the state legislature this week and is now on Governor Newsom’s desk for his signature, reports Cal Matters.
The Governor failed to sign a similar bill last year, but this year the legislation has been amended to address concerns from the Jewish community.
“These amendments — which expressly prohibit the use of curriculum that was rejected because of concerns about anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias — strengthen the firm guardrails included in AB 101 and leave no doubt that hate and bigotry against Jews, Israelis, or any other community is prohibited by law and cannot be taught in our classrooms,” the California Legislative Jewish Caucus said to Algemeiner.
Last year, Newsom called the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum “offensive in so many ways” and later vetoed the bill. The governor does not comment on bills until he makes the final decision.
On Tuesday, he is facing a recall largely inspired by Republican opposition to his swift action to close down the state in the wake of the pandemic. He is unlikely to veto the measure prior to Tuesday, although polls show he is likely to survive the recall with 60 percent opposition.
According to Education Next, a study by Thomas Dee and Emily Penner found attendance of 1400 struggling San Francisco high school students assigned to a year-long ethnic studies course increased their GPA by 1.4 points and attendance by 21 points.
“To be honest, certainly I and some of the district officials went into this thinking, ‘Well, ethnic studies was sold as solving so many problems,’” Dee said. “Many of us were very skeptical about whether a close examination of the data would support that.”
His findings surprised him.
“Democracy is at stake if we don’t equip our young people with the knowledge and the education so they can effectively navigate our diverse society,” said Stanford University historian Albert Camarillo.
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