California governor vetoes mandate for ethnic studies in high schools

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California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the press in the spin room after the sixth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by PBS NewsHour & Politico at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California on December 19, 2019. (Photo by AGUSTIN PAULLIER/AFP via Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have made ethnic studies a prerequisite for high school students before graduation.

California Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-61.

Proponents argued the bill would have been a blow against “the racial rhetoric and bullying of Donald Trump,” said state Assemblyman Jose Medina, who introduced the bill.

Newsom, however, said he supports ethnic studies, but wanted revisions made to the plan that would implement the classes throughout the state.

Had Newsom signed the bill, it would have required high school students to take ethnic studies courses beginning with the 2025-26 school year, making it a graduation requirement.

A similar requirement is already in place on California State University campuses.

“This is a missed opportunity and disservice to students,” said Medina, who represents the 61st assembly district in California, which encompasses part of Riverside County east of Los Angeles.

“In order to build racial justice in this state and country, all of our students need to learn the real history of America — and that history includes the diverse experiences and perspectives of people of color,” Medina said.

The American Jewish Committee said it welcomed Newsom’s veto, but it also agrees such a requirement is needed to “address the issues of racial injustice and strengthen our democracy.”

The committees said the current draft version of the model curriculum excludes Jews and many other ethnic groups, while promoting controversial theories about race, ethnicity, religion, politics and economics.

“We appreciate Governor Newsom’s insistence on developing balanced and inclusive educational materials for California’s schools, so that all children will confront racism in all its forms, build bridges of interethnic understanding, and see themselves in the curriculum,” said Richard S. Hirschhaut, Director of AJC’s Los Angeles Region. “It is worth taking the time to get this right.”

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