California Adopts Statewide Ethnic Studies Curriculum

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Ending a years-long divisive debate over ethnic studies, the California Board of Education on Thursday approved a model curriculum to teach students about the struggles and contributions of Asian, Black, Latino, and Native Americans. 

“Marginalized people have not been included in U.S. History, U.S. literature, and U.S. STEM curriculum in equitable and meaningful ways in a very long time,” said Michael Dominguez, assistant professor of Chicano Studies at San Diego State University. 

Dominguez says such curriculum is crucial in the time we're living. 

“We can't understand the outrage, the pain, the frustration that Asian-American communities are experiencing in relation to that without reckoning and recognizing a long history that extends hundreds of years that extends until today," said Dominguez.

The new model was approved as America mourns the killing of six Asian women in Georgia. 

Rallies against anti-Asian hate crimes have stretched across the U.S. including here in San Diego.

“I feel like it's a good wake-up call for people that think that anti-Asian racism isn't a thing,” said Ara Lee, a high school student who organized one of San Diego’s rallies. “Hopefully people will then realize that we should be treated equally within each other and we can see each other as human also.”

The latest tragic example of racism serving as a bitter reminder of the urgency of educating students about discrimination and oppression.

“We need to learn and understand the different experiences, the different histories and that's going to create empathy that allows us to actually make a change and for our kids and our youth to make a change,” said Dominguez.

The approved course materials include 33 lesson plans which schools are not required to use but can pick from. 

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