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Save Ethnic Studies in California

Save Ethnic Studies in California

AB 331 Returned to Legislature

Press Release

Sacramento, CA, September 30, 2020 — Gov. Gavin Newsom has officially returned AB 331, a bill that would mandate Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement for all California high schoolers, to the California State Assembly. The Governor’s decision came a month after the bill was approved for passage by an overwhelming majority of State Senators. GENup would like to thank the incredible effort and support of Diversify Our Narrative and March for Our Lives California’s staff for dedicating so much time and effort into lobbying behind this bill, and the work they will continue to do to make sure it is passed. Student activists from all three of these organizations went above and beyond by making over 500 calls and sending nearly 2,000 emails to their State Senators to advocate for the passage of AB 331. A petition was sent out that got 25,867 signatures asking the Senate Appropriations Committee to pass the bill on to a vote.


Gov. Newsom released a statement in which he asked that the bill undergo more revisions to further amend the proposed curriculum. He cited concerns about a lack of an appropriate model for Ethnic Studies to be taught to California’s K-12 students as well as a lack of inclusion and balance. The model curriculum will now be revised by the Newsom administration, with primary direction coming from State Superintendent Tony Thurmond as well as the President of the State Board of Education Linda Darling-Hammond.


GENup is disappointed to hear that AB 331 was not passed, but will continue fighting until Ethnic Studies is a required course for all California students. We recognize the immense importance of implementing a curriculum that teaches it in the most effective way possible, even if that means undergoing more revisions before the bill becomes law. However, we are wary of this curriculum being pushed aside because it doesn’t meet all standards perfectly, ultimately denying thousands more California students the opportunity to take the class at all. 


Even though the Governor’s decision will indefinitely postpone the implementation of an Ethnic Studies curriculum in California high schools, the fight for Ethnic Studies is far from over. The University of California Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools will soon be considering making Ethnic Studies an admissions requirement, an important step toward catalyzing action on the district level to institute Ethnic Studies. We must do the work to ensure that this proposal passes and that Ethnic Studies is instituted into the curricula of K-12 classrooms so students begin their education with a strong awareness of their own cultural history and the cultures of their peers. We cannot afford to indoctrinate another generation of students to the pervasive narrative of white cultural supremacy. We know that knowledge is power, and when we empower our children with the knowledge of the cultural heritage of BIPOC communities, we are laying the foundation for the creation of a more equitable and inclusive society for everyone.

What is Ethnic Studies?

  • Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigenous communities and culture that focuses on the diverse histories and perspectives of people of color.

  • Currently, many students don’t have the opportunity to take an Ethnic Studies course until they get to college, and even then it is a course that must be sought out by the student as an elective.

What does AB331 do?

  • Makes Ethnic Studies a high school graduation requirement for all of California’s students (public, charter, and private schools) starting in the 2024-2025 academic year, upon appropriation of funding.

  • Permits the required ethnic studies course to be offered in any discipline, not only English language arts and social studies, provided that it is based on the ethnic studies model curriculum. 


Why is AB331 needed?

  • Learning about our diverse histories and experiences is too important to be left up to choice, especially in our rapidly diversifying nation and state.

  • Taking an ethnic studies class has a measurably positive impact on students.  A study out of Stanford University shows that high school students at-risk of dropping out experienced boosted attendance and academic performance after taking ethnic studies.

How can I get involved?

  • Sign our petition!

  • Send an email to Governor Newsom! Go to, Click CONTACT in top toolbar, and send an email in support of AB331!

  • Call Governor Newsom at (916) 445- 2841

View a recording of our AB331 Virtual Rally

  • Listen to inspiring messages from:
    • Jose Medina, Assemblymember for the 61st District, Author of AB331
    • Tony Thurmond , State Superintendent of Public Instruction
    • Dolores Huerta, President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation
    • Assemblymember Weber, Assemblymember for the 79th District, Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus
    • Assemblymember Gonazalez, Assemblymember for the 80th District Chair of the Latino Caucus
    • Sophia Andrary, Women’s March San Francisco Chair
    • Gema Quetzal Cardenas, CA State Student Board Member 2018-2019
    • Brenna Pangelinan, CA State Student Board Member 2019-2020
    • Joshua Camarillo, Fresno Student Board Member
    • Jessica Riestra, Western Regional Dir March for Our Lives National
    • Maya Howard, Student Member on Instructional Quality Commission
    • Shavonne Hines-Foster, San Francisco Unified Student Board Member
    • Zachary Patterson, San Diego Student Board Member
    • Olivia Ang-Olson, Sacramento City Student Board Member
    • Josephine Cureton, Former Chair SF Youth Commission
    • Frances Suavillo, Los Angeles Unified Student Board Member

Still have questions? Listen to a recording of our AB331 Town Hall

  • Listen to us discuss our campaign with & ask related questions to Assemblymember Medina and several youth leaders!
  • Panelists include:
    • Assemblymember Medina, Author of AB331

    • Gema Quetzal, former State Board of Education Student Board Member

    • Brenna Pangelinan, current State Board of Education Student Member

    • Maya Howard, Student Member on Instructional Quality Commission

    • Zachary Patterson, San Diego Unified Student Board Member

    • Frances Suavillo, Los Angeles Unified Student Board Member

    • Joshua Camarillo, Fresno Unified Student Board Member

    • Shavonne Hines-Foster, San Francisco Unified Student Board Member

Check out our social media push!

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