SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Families filled the Salinas High School Board Meeting on Tuesday evening to discusses the district's decision to add ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement.
Parents dominated the board meeting last month, as the school board voted to refine the ethnic studies curriculum to better emphasize local histories and the history of the ethnic studies movement. Some themes that will be covered include things like indigenous and active ancestral roots, colonialism and genocide and transformative resistance.
"They're trying to push critical race theory into our education system. This is not education, this is indoctrination," said Alexander, Salinas resident at the school board meeting Tuesday night. "Our test scores show it for our graduating high school students. Our education system is failing."
Part of the ethnic studies course includes "critical race theory" which examines U.S. laws and race in America. Some argue the course created division and anger while others see it as crucial in shedding light on past injustices.
"Some things in history might be hard to talk about, but we can handle it," said student, Miriam Corona-Macias. "If we can handle horror movies and scary movies, then we can handle real history."
The Superintendent, Dan Burns, said there was no vote intended for the ethnic studies curriculum that night. It was approved a long time ago and students took the course last year with no issue.
Adding ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement was introduced to CA Congress in December 2020 as Assembly Bill 101. The Senate Committee of Education is holding a hearing on the latest revision to the bill on Wednesday, July 14.
Governor Gavin Newsom also signed a legislative bill to approve funding for colleges and high schools adding Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement. The Senate approved the bill on Monday. $5.6 billion was approved to implement the requirement.
California Community Colleges Board of Governors unanimously approved to make Ethnic Studies graduation requirement for an Associates Degree on Monday.