Legislation authorizing California's junior high and high schools to teach students about the Bracero guest worker program from decades past was signed into law today by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The measure, Senate Bill 993, does not require schools to discuss Braceros, but the bill is a way to raise awareness about the program and could encourage districts to include it in social sciences instruction, according to a legislative committee analysis.
Los Angeles Democratic Sen. Kevin de León proposed SB 993, which does not require any new spending or allocate any new funding to schools.
The Bracero program, from 1942-64, was a temporary guest worker program designed to provide an inexpensive source of labor for United States agriculture and railway maintenance during World War II and years beyond that.
The program was developed through a treaty between the United States and Mexican governments.
The Bracero program frequently is ignored in classroom instruction and left out of textbooks, despite its impact on United States' immigration patterns and labor market, de León told the legislative committee.
SB 993 encourages instruction about the Bracero program to include personal testimony from participants.