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Compulsory ethnic studies courses to be able to graduate, the new resolution passed in LA

George Floyd’s brutal murder in early May in Minneapolis inspired worldwide protests, and from that moment on, school districts to have tried to make a change to rebalance how they approach issues such as inequality and opportunity within the pupils.

For the first time, all students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will have to take an ethnic studies class to graduate, under a resolution approved just two days ago.

Specifically, the LAUSD Board of Education approved a resolution aimed to expand ethnic studies classes across all grade levels and also to introduce a mandatory requirement that all high school students take at least one ethnic studies course to be able to gain all the necessary credits to graduate.

An example of an ethnic studies class in a US high school. Image credit Josh Edelson / For The Times

Nonetheless, the decree also involves supervisors to ensure that K-12 curriculums include learning material written by ethnic minorities and people of colour.

The approved requisite will be effective by the 2023-2024 academic year, says LAUSD Board Member Kelly Gonez, who was the one to propose the resolution. However, from the previous academic year, so by the 2022-23 school year, at least one ethnic studies class must be offered in every high school.

Gonez explained that the “Resolution is centred on the principle that every child in our district deserves an education that tells their story, that reflects their identity, and that challenges us all to tear down the systems of oppression, racism, anti-Blackness, anti-indigeneity, and white supremacy that have stained the legacy of our country.”

Image credit LA School Report

Moreover, earlier in June, the LAUSD Board of Education agreed to reduce the school police budget by $25 million, comparable to the 35% of the money previously spent on the school police.

Even though L.A. School Police Department is one of the largest independent law enforcement agencies for a school district in the nation, the money cut will be diverted to other school programs to better support students, especially students of colour, who too often are the ones to suffer the most from bullying and general racist inequalities.

Nonetheless, officers will also be asked to give up their uniforms and patrol off-campus.

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