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UC considers imposing criteria for California’s high school ethnic studies classes

UC considers imposing criteria for California’s high school ethnic studies classes


John Fensterwald
April 12, 2022
An influential committee of University of California faculty that oversees academic admissions requirements is proposing that UC set criteria and content for high school ethnic studies courses similar to what the State Board of Education rejected two years ago as divisive.
If adopted, the requirements (see pages 11-12) would circumvent both a state law and the ethnic studies model curriculum that the state board adopted in March 2021. Both give local districts the authority to decide what should be taught in ethnic studies.
Instead, one of many course goals that UC would require would be to prepare students to “address and dismantle systems of oppression and dehumanization in the many forms in which they appear.” Another would be to prepare students to “recognize and interrogate power and oppression at ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized levels.”
As word spread of the proposal, more than 100 faculty members sent a letter sharply criticizing it to UC’s Academic Council, which is made up of leadership of the Academic Senate. Contrary to the admissions requirements to ensure students are intellectually prepared for college work, the ethnic studies proposal “smacks instead of an attempt to teach students a particular take on a range of highly controversial issues” and “will undoubtedly generate profound opposition,” the letter read. “The university should never be in the position of forcing a particular political agenda upon its own students – let alone all upon UC applicants across the state and the nation.”
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