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Twitter Erupts in Debate Over California Law Mandating Ethnic Studies for High School Graduation

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Classroom - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.10.2021
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After last year's killing of George Floyd in police custody stirred discussions around racial justice in the United States, many have argued that the country's education system needs to be changed into something more inclusive. However, the ways of bringing about change have also become the subject of debate.
California became the first American state on Friday to require a course in ethnic studies for high school graduation after Governor Gavin Newsom signed the corresponding bill, AB 101, into law.
The requirements to complete an ethnic studies programme will not go into effect until 2029, but starting from 2025 the schools are tasked with providing the courses in order to develop the curriculum.
While many welcomed the legislation as a step toward a more inclusive society and expansive history studies, others lambasted the move as potentially indoctrinating and "brainwashing" children, voicing concerns that it could be a way to incorporate critical race theory - a movement claiming that the US is a systematically racist country.
Others blasted the bill for different reasons - for example, some suggested that the ethnic studies courses will be focused on criticising capitalism.
There were users who came up with better options for mandatory courses in the curriculum, like fiscal responsibility or personal financial management. Some argued that such programmes would better address the problems of racism and inequality.
However, another group of netizens celebrated the new requirements, asserting that it is about time the US embraces its "true history" and acknowledges the input of other ethnic groups.
California has lately been the focus of media attention and scrutiny when it comes to various education initiatives. Most recently, concerned parents took legal action against the California Board of Education and Department of Education for "authorising, promoting, or permitting the use of Aztec prayers and the 'Ashe' chant in California’s public schools." The legal actions followed reports in late September that a “particular aspect of the state's ethnic studies curriculum” involved chants in honour of the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca.
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