Soon, California educators must teach ethnic studies. UC Berkeley is helping them prepare.

Ethnic Studies meeting

Last summer, California teachers geared up to teach ethnic studies in their classrooms at a weeklong conference held at UC Berkeley, where campus faculty and staff members provided them with support, resources, teaching materials and the opportunity to craft their own lesson plans. 

UC Berkeley/Ivan Natividad

March 28, 2024

Starting in the 2025-26 academic year, by law, California’s public high schools must begin teaching ethnic studies, and students in the Class of 2030 can’t graduate without passing a class on the subject. But while the state, which enacted the law in 2021, has adopted an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum focused on the contributions of Asian, Black, Latino and Native Americans in U.S. history, it’s not required for educators to obtain a specific credential to teach the discipline.  

Public school districts in areas like Oakland and Fresno have taught ethnic studies for years, but many others have not. So how will teachers in these districts introduce their students to the interdisciplinary study of race and ethnicity if they’ve never taught it before?    

Insert UC Berkeley, where, as one of the first universities in the country to create an ethnic studies department, faculty and staff across campus in recent years have stepped in to help California teachers by offering resources, workshops, courses and conferences: a community of support.           

These offerings help fulfill Berkeley’s public mission to serve students from all backgrounds and are part of the legacy of the late 1960s, when the student-led Third World Liberation Front — which demanded and won more spaces and resources for students of color, first-generation students, working class students and other underrepresented student populations — led to the creation of the Department of Ethnic Studies.    

Read the full article in Berkeley News