California was one of the first states to require high school students to take ethnic studies.
Students who graduate from high school during the 2029-30 school years will be first affected by the new law.
The state Board of Education approved a guide for ethnic studies in March.
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California's high school students will have to take a course on ethnic studies in order to earn a diploma. This is starting with the class 2030.
Democratic Governor. Gavin Newsom signed the bill, AB 101 into law on Friday. This makes California the first state to require public school students to complete ethnic studies as a graduation requirement.
After years of lobbying and opposition from a variety of legislators and organizers, the curriculum that will be taught in schools will help students to understand the contributions of Black and Latino Americans as well as other groups that have been subject to discrimination and marginalization in America.
The law requires that all public schools in the state offer at least one class in ethnic studies starting in 2025-26. Students who graduate in 2029-30 will have to take a mandatory one-semester course.
Jose Medina, a Democratic Assemblyman from Riverside, was the author of the legislation and he praised its signing.
He told The Associated Press that it had been a long time since he heard about the progress. "I believe schools are now ready to create curriculum that is more fair and more reflective on social justice."
Although there has been some criticism about the course of study, the bill passed easily by the California legislature with wide margins.
Newsom vetoed an almost identical piece of legislation last Year, calling for a revision to the curriculum guide that would "include all communities".
Former Democratic Governor In 2018, Jerry Brown also vetoed similar legislation, acknowledging the importance of ethnic studies, but concluding schools could offer this course of study without a state mandate.
In March, the state Board of Education approved the revised ethnic studies guide.
Newsom signed a statement stating that ethnic studies courses allow students to learn about their own stories as well as those of their classmates. I appreciate the fact that the legislation includes a number of safeguards to ensure that courses are free from bias and bigotry, and that they are appropriate for all students.
Newsom's office released a statement stating that the legislation would "help expand educational opportunities in schools", teach students about California's diverse communities, and increase academic engagement and attainment for student," citing a Stanford University study.
Medina spoke out to highlight the long struggle for ethnic studies in the state.
He said, "I want to recognize the countless young people (college and high school students), teachers, and professors who have organized, protested, boycotted classes and gone on hunger strike to demand an equitable and inclusive education system." "The signing of AB 101... represents one step in the long struggle to equal education for all students.
The new law is coming as national debates on systemic racism and race have raged.
Conservatives who are opposed to systemic racism in the classroom have started a crusade against critic race theory. This theory examines how America's racist history continues to be reflected in laws and policies today.