California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have mandated the creation of a uniform ethnic studies course for public schools in California.
AB 101, authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), would have created an advisory panel under the state Department of Education tasked with drafting an ethnic studies curriculum that would then be distributed for optional adoption by public schools. The bill passed the Assembly on October 9.
In a statement accompanying his veto, Brown said the bill would create a “redundant process” because another state agency, the Instructional Quality Commission, is already working to revise the state’s standard curriculum to include ethnic studies.
“Creating yet another advisory body specific to ethnic studies would be duplicative and undermine our current curriculum process,” Brown wrote.
A number of representatives had voted against the bill, including Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) and state senators Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) and Jeff Stone (R-Temecula).
“I’m a strong advocate of local control and don’t believe Sacramento should be dictating what school districts teach,” Morrell said in a recent statement, according to the Press-Enterprise. “Ethnic studies classes are already offered at schools throughout the state. It’s a decision best left in their hands.”
In his own statement, Alejo expressed disappointment at the governor’s veto and vowed to continue fighting to pass ethnic studies legislation.
““As an individual who has academically, professionally, and personally benefitted from learning about various cultures, ethnicities, and heritages, I believe this is a missed opportunity for students throughout the state,” Alejo said. “This is not over as this is part of a growing national Ethnic Studies Movement. I will keep fighting until we make AB 101 a reality and ensure that every high school student can benefit from an Ethnic Studies class in the future.”
Elsewhere, a group of Inland Empire professors, students and community leaders have begun a separate push to make ethnic studies courses a requirement for high school graduation.