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Multiracial students now designated on California school forms

Posted: May 27, 2010 4:30 p.m.
Updated: May 28, 2010 4:25 p.m.
 
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California's Department of Education is the first in the country to add "multiracial" to school enrollment forms. The wording "Multiracial students/staff may select two or more races" is now an option for school districts throughout the state for students and staff self-identification of their races.

California has now set the standard for other states to recognize appropriate terminology for multiracial students. California's progressive action will allow every state to add multiracial to their school forms, since every state reports student data to the same United States Department of Education at the federal level. "I can't tell you how many times throughout my school years I was asked to identify my race on a form that had no suitable option for me," said Teen Project RACE President Kayci Baldwin, a high school senior in New Jersey.

Racial and ethnic terminology has always been an important factor in the United States. The federal government continues to designate multiracial children and adults as "People of More than One Race" or "The Two or More Races Population." Project RACE, the national non-profit organization advocating for multiracial individuals was the driving force to finally allow people to check more than one racial classification beginning with the 2000 Census and on other government forms.

State legislation (AB 1281) was proposed in 2009 by California Assembly Member Anthony Portantino, passed, and sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, who vetoed the bill. AB 1281 was sponsored by Project RACE and supported by the California State PTA, the California Teacher's Association, and the Association of California School Administrators. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell agreed to administratively add the correct terminology for multiracial students and staff members.

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