On Friday, California‘s Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill requiring public school students—including those who attend public charter schools—to take a one-semester “ethnic studies” course in order to graduate from high school.
Assembly Bill 101 also “authorizes local educational agencies, including charter schools, to require a full-year course in ethnic studies at their discretion.”
The courses themselves can be based on a model curriculum already approved in March, which can be viewed on the website of the California Department of Education.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the controversial first draft of the curriculum included a glossary with terms like cisheteropatriarchy, “a system of power that is based on the dominance of cisheterosexual men.”
In the final draft the most alienating language seems to have been removed, but parents can still expect their scholars to take courses like “#BlackLivesMatter and Social Change” and to learn how to “critique empire-building in history and its relationship to white supremacy.”
The class of 2030 will be the first to feel the full effect of a curriculum designed, in Newsom’s words, to emphasize the “woeful injustice” of “our shared history.”
Yet, Newsom also assured Californians in his signing statement that these divisive courses “will be free from bias or bigotry and appropriate for all students.”
Compulsory chapel for high school students in California. https://t.co/nJz9BE51WX
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) October 8, 2021
Newsom likes to say that “as goes California, so goes the rest of the nation,” and his signature is sure to intensify the nationwide battle over the implementation of critical race theory-inspired curricula in the nation’s public schools.
In July, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis launched a Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative designed to “to ensure our students are prepared to be great citizens,” and a number of other states have moved to ban critical race theory in the classroom.