Ethnic studies bill supports students learning about MN’s diverse cultures

Proponents say the bill will lead to improved academic outcomes—and higher graduation rates

March 15, 2023 • Marcus Penny

Supporters of the bill rallied at the Capitol last week.

A bill to deepen Minnesota students’ engagement with ethnic studies is moving through the legislature.

  • The bill charges MDE to hire staff and support development of teaching resources; adds ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement (which can be met concurrently with other subject credit requirements); and convenes a working group to guide implementation of the bill.

Ethnic studies is defined in the bill as the “study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with a focus on the experiences and perspectives of people of color within and beyond the United States.”

Why it matters

Students who engage in ethnic studies enjoy improved academic outcomes—and higher graduation rates.

  • Ethnic studies strengthen students’ racial and ethnic identity development, and foster cross-cultural understanding—benefiting students of color and white students alike in our increasingly diverse state.

Plus: Educators and schools engaged in ethnic studies better value the cultural capital in their diverse communities—helping teachers and families feel more supported and engaged.

Some critics called the bill another mandate on schools—and unnecessary with so many MN high school students already taking classes that would meet the new requirement.

What’s next

Democrats are passing bills at a fast clip. We expect the legislation stands as good a chance as ever this session. But we wouldn’t call it a sure thing, despite DFL majorities friendly to it.

EE will continue to support as the bill moves toward passage—and keep you updated as it does.