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School Board Member Scott Schmerelson's Statement on Requiring Ethnic Studies as a Graduation Requirement (08-25-20)


Los Angeles Unified School District                   
Scott M. Schmerelson
Board of Education
Board Member, District 3                     


                                             News Statement

CONTACT:                                                                      Silvia Martinez, 213-241-8333                                                                                                                                        

School Board Member Scott Schmerelson's Statement
on Requiring Ethnic Studies as a Graduation Requirement


LOS ANGELES (Aug. 25, 2020) -- Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education Member Scott Schmerelson today praised the Board's passage of a resolution affirming Los Angeles Unified's commitment to making Ethnic Studies a high school graduation requirement by the 2023-2024 School Year. 

“By focusing on and integrating Ethnic Studies as a separate discipline, teachers will  have the support and resources to discuss the cultural and historical contributions of the ethnic communities represented in the diversity of our students and how the evils of White Supremacy, prejudice and racial violence have worked pervasively to disadvantage so many of our families," stated Board Member Schmerelson, who represents Board District 3, composed of most of the Northwest and Central San Fernando Valley. “It is my hope that requiring at least one Ethnic Studies class for graduation will be a big step toward encouraging our children to appreciate their own ethnic backgrounds while learning about the unique history and contributions of their classmates."

Los Angeles Unified has been a leader among school districts in fostering and adopting Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement, first doing so in 2014. Schmerelson, a former Los Angeles Unified classroom teacher, counselor and principal pointed out that the district has also developed curriculum that focuses on teaching students about the Armenian Genocide, the Jewish Holocaust, and the importance of promoting human rights and empowering future generations based on an informed population who understands the importance of universal religious and ethnic tolerance.

 “I am proud to support the expansion of Ethnic Studies as a part of District curriculum and would encourage the Division of Instruction, school administrators, Social Studies, History and other teachers to amplify their efforts to implement rigorous Ethnic Studies classes.” said Board Member Schmerelson. “Anyone who is paying attention to current events knows that this is the time when we must step up to combating both systemic racism and the all too frequent displays of hatred, intolerance and ignorance that are dividing our communities. Today the Board of Education is declaring that we will strive to teach our children to reject hate and to celebrate the racial and ethnic diversity of our schools, our district, our state, and our nation.”