California could be the first state in the nation with a statewide ethnic studies curriculum.
It comes as a result of a state bill which passed in 2016 that requires the State Board of Education to develop a high school ethnic studies curriculum by the year 2020.
The curriculum would serve as a guide for individual school districts within California on how they could implement their own.
Julie Lynem is one of the founders of RaiseUp San Luis Obispo, a local organization that works to create inclusive and supportive environments for children of color.
Lynem said that while the basics like reading, writing, math and science are all crucially important, ethnic studies should not be overlooked.
“It is going to unify people because when you understand another person’s culture, their lived experience, then you are better able to come together,” Lynem said.
However, others see it from another perspective.
“This program is teaching students how you must think, how we expect you to think, and that is an indoctrination and it is wrong,” said Eric Early, Attorney for Fair Education Santa Barbara. “The program itself is divisive. It will set different groups of people against each other.”
The state is currently asking for public input on the proposed curriculum through August 15. Click here for instructions on how to submit a comment.