Sacramento City Schools Add Ethnic Studies Graduation Requirement

sacremento schoolSacramento, home to the fourth most diverse public school district in the nation, has recently decided to add an ethnic studies class to its course load. By 2020, the ethnic studies course will be a graduation requirement.

The Sacramento district is one of the most diverse in the region, with no one ethnic group forming a majority. According to state data, 37 percent are Latino, 19 percent white, 18 percent African American, 17 percent Asian American and more than 5 percent identifying themselves as multiracial.

Approximately 80 percent of district students identify as students of color. There’s also a significant English-learner population—with at least 44 recognized languages—and large European immigrant populations to boot.

The district feels this is a big step to include immigrant students in school activities.

“Students begin to see themselves in the curriculum,” said Johnathan Tran, a former Sacramento school board candidate. “They become more invested in the subject they’re studying.”

This type of mandated education has not been favored in all states, however. In 2010, Arizona passed a law banning ethnic studies in public schools, mainly in response to critics who protested that these courses were divisive.