What is Ethnic Studies? Why is it now a graduation requirement?
Ethnic Studies is a field of study in which students learn about the political, social, economic, and cultural experience of marginalized groups within and beyond the United States. The dynamics associated with race and racism, as well as with other aspects of identity such as nationality, class, religion, and sexuality, have played influential roles in our past and present, but these themes have been traditionally excluded from curriculum. Research has established that Ethnic Studies benefits students of all backgrounds and SBUnified will be joining increasing numbers of districts throughout the state by incorporating an Ethnic Studies graduation requirement for the class of 2024. This requirement helps us attain our district Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) goal to cultivate culturally proficient school communities.
How can the new Ethnic Studies requirement be fulfilled?
Two new 5-unit Ethnic and Social Justice Studies electives will build upon the Social Dialogues course that has been offered in our district. Some currently offered classes, such as Mexican-American Literature, will be adapted to fulfill the Ethnic Studies requirement. Also, new courses, including English 9 with an Ethnic Studies Emphasis, will be offered beginning next year to help students complete the requirement.
Questions and Answers about Ethnic Studies:
- Can my student take this class and also be in an academy?
- Does my child have to take this class in 9th grade?
No. Students may fulfill the new Ethnic Studies requirement at any time in their high school career prior to graduation.
- Does this mean my child needs more units to graduate?
No. Students still need only 220 units to graduate and they have the same number of required elective units.
- Does this mean my student has to take more classes?
No. This course can be taken as part of the required number of elective units or as part of another course on a defined list of options.
- Can dual enrollment courses satisfy this requirement?
Yes. We currently partner with SBCC on courses that fulfill this new requirement.
For more information, please contact your child’s high school counselor.