State Board of Education approves ethnic studies curriculum for high schools

The California State Board of Education has unanimously approved the nation’s first statewide ethnic studies curriculum for high schools.

California Department of Education Logo

The new curriculum focuses primarily on the contributions and struggles of Native Americans, African Americans, Latino/a/x Americans and Asian Americans. While it is not mandated, the California Department of Education says the curriculum is intended to supply local school districts with the background, ideas and examples to begin local discussions on expanding ethnic studies offerings.

“California’s students have been telling us for years that they need to see themselves and their stories represented in the classroom,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “This historic action gives schools the opportunity to uplift the histories and voices of marginalized communities in ways that help our state and nation achieve racial justice and create lasting change.”

Crafting the new 900-page curriculum took four years, four drafts and drew more than 100,000 public comments.

The document, which was approved last week, is aligned with California’s history/social science standards and curriculum frameworks, State Board guidelines, and state law. It also includes UC and CSU A–G-approved ethnic studies course outlines.

Additional information related to California’s ethnic studies model curriculum can be found on the CDE website.